Okonomiyaki! Japanese pizza! or perhaps it’s more like a pancake. It’s time for another post about this versatile and easy recipe. As I was cooking, it occurred to me that okonomiyaki is very similar to Korean pancakes—savory pan-fried circles, with vegetables and meat or seafood held together with a simple flour batter. Pajeon are scallion (or chive) pancakes. They are small, and are dipped in a sauce made with soy sauce and vinegar (sometimes there is also a little sugar and a few drops of sesame oil). OK okonomiyaki is big, cut into triangles, and the sauce is tonkatsu. Still, similar, ok?
Kushikatsu is a variation of the famous fried pork cutlet, tonkatsu. “Ton” is the Japanese word for “pork” and “katsu” is a corruption of the word “cutlet.” During the Meiji government, Japan opened to foreign commerce and culture. People were encouraged adopt Western ways in science, technology, and customs. The taboo against eating meat was abolished (1872), and many new meat dishes were created. Success of this recipe depends on the care you give to coating the skewered pork and onions with flour, egg, and panko. To ensure a thick crispy but not greasy crust, each skewer is dredged in flour then eggs three times before the final coat of light and crunchy panko crumbs. Allowing the skewers to stand in a bowl meant that the coating would adhere to the meat and vegetables rather than sticking to a rack. The time between each step of the coating process allowed the flour to absorb the moisture from the egg to become a sort of paste.