Posts tagged ‘shrimp’

Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory meat and vegetable pancake) お好み焼き

Have you ever had Japanese okonomiyaki? It’s a very common food in Japan.

The name basically means “grilled as you like it” “what you want grilled”, and it’s basically a savory pancake of sorts. The batter and toppings vary according to region, but it’s basically a batter of flour and water or broth with finely shredded cabbage, green onions, and whatever meat or seafood you want in it. There’s a lot of variations, but that’s it in it’s most basic form.

On top of the finished okonomiyaki is usually a layer of okonomiyaki sauce (available in most Asian markets), a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce, but thicker and sweeter, aonori (finely crushed seaweed flakes), katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes), and Japanese mayonnaise.

If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, you may be thinking, “Seaweed flakes? Fish flakes? The heck?!” But the seaweed flakes have great flavor. To get bonito flakes, the beheaded, gutted, and filleted fish is simmered, smoked, and then dried. It becomes hard which makes it easy to cut very thin flakes off of it. They have the flavor of smoked fish. Very tasty. Trust me.

Also, if you want to be really authentic, get Japanese mayonnaise for this. You can find it at most Asian markets. The most famous brand of Japanese mayonnaise is “Kewpie Mayonnaise”. Japanese mayonnaise tastes different than American mayonnaise, so if you’re feeling adventurous, want your okonomiyaki to be really authentic, or you’re like my husband and think American mayonnaise tastes icky, get ya some Kewpie mayonnaise.

For this recipe I made a pretty standard okonomiyaki with shrimp in it. Unfortunately, I was out of aonori (that’s why there’s no green on top of my finished okonomiyaki), but I’ve included it in the recipe.

This makes two large okonomiyaki (probably enough for 3 – 4 people), so feel free to adjust the amounts for the number of people you’re cooking for.

First mix 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups of dashi (Japanese broth – you can find them in powdered form in most Asian grocery stores) or water. Mix it all up until you have a nice, lump-free batter.

Like so. It should be about the consistency of pancake batter. If it’s too thick or too thin, feel free to add more flour or water as necessary.

Add 3 cups of diced cabbage, 3 or 4 diced green onions, and about 1 1/2 – 2 cups diced raw shrimp (peeled and de-veined), and mix.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, and spoon half the batter onto it. Use a spoon to smoosh it out into a circular shape about 1/2 – 3/4 and inch in thickness. Cook the okonomiyaki until it’s golden brown on one side, then (very carefully) use two large spatulas to flip it over and cook it on the other side until it’s golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Hint: If you don’t think you can flip it, and it is a bit tricky, use a spatula to cut it in half, then flip each half over.

If you want to give it a little extra something, add a little sesame oil along with the olive oil when you cook it. If you’ve never had it, sesame oil has fabulous flavor and aroma. Don’t use nothing but sesame oil though, as its flavor would overpowering the okonomiyaki, and sesame oil doesn’t handle high temperatures well.

Remove the finished okonomiyaki to a plate, drizzle some okonomiyaki sauce on it, spread it into an even layer with a spoon, sprinkle some aonori and katsuobushi (the bonito fish flakes) over it (if you want of course), and then drizzle some mayonnaise on top (again, optional), and dig in.


(makes two large pancakes, enough for 3 – 4 people)

  • 1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. dashi broth or water
  • dash of salt
  • 3 c. diced cabbage
  • 3 – 4 green onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. diced raw shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (plus one tsp. sesame oil – optional)
  • okonomiyaki sauce
  • aonori (seaweed flakes) (optional)
  • katsuobushi (bonito flakes) (optional)
  • Mayonnaise (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, a dash of salt, and dashi together until smooth. Add the cabbage, onions, and shrimp, and mix until well combined.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon half the batter into the skillet and use a spatula to form it into a circular shape about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. Cook on one side until golden brown, then use two spatulas to flip it over, and cook on the remaining side until golden brown. Remove to a plate, and repeat with the remaining batter.
  3. To serve, drizzle okonomiyaki sauce over the finished pancake, then spread it around evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle aonori and katsuobushi over it, and then top it off with mayonnaise drizzled over the top (if using).



October 10, 2012 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Vietnamese Shrimp Vermacelli Bowl

I think I mentioned recently how I’ve been on a big Asian food kick recently. I always love Asian food, but I’ve been fixing it multiple times in a week recently.

One thing I recently discovered that I’ve fallen in love with, is vermicelli bowls. They have them at Vietnamese Pho restaurants, and if you’ve never had them, they’re awesome. They’re also a great alternative to pho in the summer time when you want something a little bit cooler.

If you don’t know what it is, usually you get a bowl of rice vermicelli noodles with some kind of marinated and grilled meat (or tofu) on top, along with lettuce, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, bean sprouts, chopped up peanuts, and often a chopped up egg roll or two. It usually comes with the famous Vietnamese fish dipping sauce, nuoc mam cham. I’ve also fallen in love with this sauce. It’s tangy, salty, spicy, and sweet all at the same time. It’s brilliant. And delicious. You pour the sauce over everything, mix it up a little, and enjoy the taste of heaven in your mouth…

As you can probably tell by now, I like this dish (no, really?). I don’t know how it took me 25 years to discover it. I decided I should try to make my own version at home, and while it may not be quite as wonderful as the vermicelli bowls you get in a restaurant, it’s still pretty dang good!

I adapted my recipe from the recipe I found on The Ravenous Couple, here.

The recipe may seem complicated with all the different parts, but it’s really not. It’s basically just adding the stuff to different bowls and mixing it up. It’s not hard! I promise!

I forgot to add the lettuce before I took these pictures. Doh! Because that’s how I roll…

Shrimp Vermicelli Bowls

(serves 2 – 3)

For the pickles:

  • 1 c. carrot matchsticks
  • 1 c. daikon matchsticks (or you can use sliced radishes if you couldn’t get your hands on a daikon, like me)
  • white distilled vinegar
  • salt
  • sugar

For the fish dipping sauce, nuoc mam cham:

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. white or rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 chile, diced, or 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/8 c. fish sauce (add more or less to taste)

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 c. minced lemon grass (you can leave this out if you can’t find it)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 – 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce


  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 14 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 c. cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 c. fresh bean sprouts (or canned if you can’t find them fresh)
  • A few handfuls of leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 c. toasted peanuts, chopped
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • egg rolls (optional)
  1. First, make the pickles. Add the carrot and daikon matchsticks to a small bowl. Cover with vinegar until the vegetables are just covered. Add salt and sugar gradually, until the desired taste it reached. Note: you’ll need more sugar than salt, as the vinegar solution should be tart, sweet, and only a little salty. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
  2. Second, make the marinade. Add all the marinade ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Add the shrimp and mix until all the shrimp are well coated. Cover and refrigerate one or more hours (30 minutes minimum).
  3. Next, make the fish sauce. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Cook the vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  5. Cook the shrimp in a med-hot skillet or on a grill until completely cooked through.
  6. Divide the noodles into bowls. Place the cooked shrimp on top, along with the strained pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts, and cilantro (if desired). Serve with the nuoc mam cham sauce and chopped up egg rolls if desired.

July 11, 2012 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

I’ve been on a big Southeast Asian food kick recently.

I always like Asian food, but recently I’ve been making it more often than usual.Especially Thai and Vietnamese food.

This recipe for Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles I originally found on Skinnytaste. I changed the chicken to shrimp and a few other things to suit my own tastes better.

If you want to make something Thai, but are tired of Pad Thai and curries (albeit it would be pretty hard to ever get tired of either of those in my opinion), these peanut noodles are a nice change.

I suggest you add the Sriracha sauce gradually to find the spicy level you’re most comfortable with. It can get pretty hot pretty fast with Sriracha sauce, but man, it’s so darn good. I love Sriracha sauce. Forget the Tabasco sauce. Give me Sriracha any day! Sriracha on pho, Sriracha on vermicelli bowls, Sriracha on spring rolls, Sriracha mixed with mayo on sandwiches…..
I digress.

Anyway, try out this noodles for a nice change from your regular Asian fare, and go as easy or as heavy on the Sriracha as you like. We don’t judge here. 🙂

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

(serves 5 – 6)

For the marinade:

  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
  • dash of salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1 3/4 c. chicken broth
  • 5 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (not the sugar pumped kind)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce (use more or less, depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 8 oz. rice noodles
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 c. shredded broccoli slaw
  • 1 c. fresh bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1/4 c. chopped peanuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • lime wedges and cilantro for garnish (optional)
  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the shrimp, and mix until the shrimp is well coated. Cover and let marinade for about 30 min. to 1 hour.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sauce ingredients. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until sauce becomes smooth, about 5 – 8 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Boil noodles according to package instructions.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add peanut oil. Add the shrimp and saute, stirring constantly, until completely cooked, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from wok.
  5. Add garlic, scallions, broccoli slaw, and bean sprouts to wok. Saute, stirring constantly, for 1 – 2 minutes, until slightly tender, but still crisp. Remove from wok.
  6. Drain cooked noodles and return to pot. Add the sauce, shrimp, and stir-fried vegetables to the pot. Mix until everything is well coated. Divide noodles between individual bowls. Sprinkle with toasted peanuts and cilantro (optional), and serve with a lime wedge.


July 3, 2012 at 8:48 am Leave a comment


I love gumbo.

Mainly because it’s spicy and has okra in it; two things I love dearly.

Did you know “gumbo” is the Bantu (language spoken in certain parts of Africa) word for okra? That is why no matter what gumbo recipe you use, you must always have okra in it. Okra-less gumbo is just wrong. I will be morally offended if you make gumbo with no okra in it. Okay, so maybe I won’t be offended, but seriously, the okra makes gumbo so good. Just sayin’.

I keep my gumbo pretty simple. Saute onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper, make a roux with flour and oil or butter, add broth, whisk to thicken, and your spices, okra, and 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, add your chicken and sausage/ham (if using), let it simmer a good 30 minutes, and you shrimp, let it cook another couple minutes, and serve. Bam. Some people will only eat gumbo with rice, but I prefer it with some fresh crusty bread or even cornbread.




(serves 6 – 7)

  • 4 – 5 Tbsp. melted butter or oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 – 5 Tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 – 4 tsp. cajun seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 c. sliced okra (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 c. sliced andouille sausage or diced ham
  • 2 c. chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. If using andouille sausage, heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add sliced sausage. Stir sausage and cook until slices browned on each side. Drain off fat, and set aside (if using ham, you can skip this step).
  2. In a large pot, heat butter/oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper, and saute gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
  3. Add flour and stir until all oil is absorbed. If flour is still powdery add a little more oil. Cook 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Whisk in chicken broth, and continue whisking until broth thickens slightly.
  5. Add bay leaves, thyme, cajun seasoning, oregano, okra, tomatoes, sausage/ham, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaves. Taste and check spiciness. If you want it spicier, add more cajun seasoning.
  7. Add shrimp, and cook for 3 – 4 more minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste [note: a lot of cajun seasonings already have salt in them, so you may not need to add any extra salt].
  9. Serve with fresh crusty bread, steamed rice, or cornbread.

February 22, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment


Sometime last year I decided I wanted to cook jambalaya. As you might expect, Cajun food isn’t exactly easy to find in Japan, and since most Japanese people don’t like spicy food, I kinda doubt it would be very popular anyway.

Despite my love of Cajun food, however, I’d never cooked it before. So I searched online and finally found a good looking recipe to try. Sadly though I lacked the necessary spices to cook the food, and some of the spices I needed are not readily available in Japan. So I stashed the recipe until a later time when I had the necessary spices.

Last winter, when Hisa and I were visiting my family in the States, I bought some Creole seasoning to bring back with us. Since then it’s been sitting in my kitchen unused (opps), but I found the jambalaya recipe from last year the other day, so I finally got around to cooking jambalaya last night! And it was good! Hooray!

As I’m sure many of you know, there’s always a bit of trepidation when cooking something completely new for the first time. You never really know if it’s going to come out well or not. That’s part of the risk, but also part of the excitement of experimenting with new dishes and recipes. It’s always much more gratifying when the experiment turns out well though, rather than the failed experiments that still get put on the dinner table  (and believe me there have been several). I was quite happy that this new recipe turned out very well though!

This recipe is based off of a jambalaya recipe by Emeril Lagasse here.

Jambalaya (serves 2 – 3)

  • 1 c. shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 diced onion (or 1 whole small onion)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. celery, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped (or 1/2 can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Tobasco sauce
  • 3/4 c. uncooked rice
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chicken, shrimp, and creole seasoning so that the meat is well coated with the seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook until onion turns translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and Tobasco. Mix well.
  4. Add the rice and chicken broth. On medium heat, cook rice, stirring occasionally, until it becomes tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and shrimp mixture and the Andouille sausage, and continue cooking until the chicken & shrimp are completely cooked, about 10 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add more creole seasoning or Tobasco to taste.

I served it with a side of fried okra, because fried okra makes everything better. Especially jambalaya!

May 11, 2011 at 9:41 am 3 comments

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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