And I Can Cook, Too

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Birthday Reveling

Jan. 20, 2006
The day after returning from Kona, my husband and I drove into down for dinner with yet another business associate. Upon arrival at the Sheraton Waikiki where we were to meet our guests, I noticed our friend Big Red sitting at the Sand Bar. Just as the words “There’s Big Red” were coming out of my mouth, I saw that next to him was my friend Vicki, in town from L.A. on business. “And Vicki, “ I said, confused, while looking at Kim and Lora sitting next to her and smiling at me. Just as the words “I wonder what they’re…?” were forming on my lips, everyone jumped up and shouted “Surprise!” I had been had.

The party began with a round of Mai Tais and an embarrassment of gifts. We then marched down the beach to set sail on the Sheraton’s Catamaran Sunset Booze Cruise. As we sailed off, the captain announced that for the next hour and a half all the Mai Tais, Spiked Fruit Punches, and Champagne we could drink were included. Kim immediately dared us to consume our ticket price in drink before the cruise was done. We promised to try. Being out on the water is one of my favorite things, and this was combined with free champagne and the prospect of more whales! I was in heaven.

Ninety minutes later the cruise came to an end, but the revelry did not. Filled with champagne, we wandered down to the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and the restaurant Okonomiyaki Chibo.

In Japanese, “Okonomi” translates to “your choice”, and “yaki” means to “cook”. Put them together, and you’ve got okonomiyaki, which is sort of a cross between a pizza and an omelet. At Okonomiyaki Chibo, chefs prepare your meal right in front of you, teppan yaki-style. Starting with a basic batter, a pancake like shell is prepared on the teppan grill. Fillings are chosen from a long list of ingredients. While it is open faced it vaguely resembles a pizza, but more batter is poured on the top, and it is flipped over and sealed shut. The whole thing is topped with Okonomiyaki Sauce, which is like a thick Worcestershire sauce, and Japanese mayonnaise. Now, I realize what that sounds like, but I assure you, it’s delicious.

While most of us ordered a traditional-style Okonomiyaki, filled with a combination of scallops, squid, shrimp, sirloin steak, cabbage, green onions, and ginger, Vicki daringly opted for the Pu-monju Okonomiyaki, stuffed with Yaki Soba (fried noodles). Both were absolutely wonderful.

High on wine, sated on Okonomiyaki, my birthday celebration finally came to a close. What a fabulous birthday week it was.

Okonomiyaki at Home

½ c Flour
¼ c Water
1 tsp Japanese Broth (Dashi)
½ tbsp. Yam (Nagaimo), finely grated
½ tsp salt
pinch Baking Soda
1c Cabbage, finely minced
1 tsp Green Onion, finely minced
pinch Pickled Red Ginger (Beni Shoga)
1 Egg

In a bowl, mix together flour, water, and the broth. Add the yam, salt, and baking powder. Mix well and allow it to sit for one hour. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Filling Suggestions
Any type of seafood, cut into small pieces
Any type of meat, cut into thin, small pieces
Any type of vegetables, cut into thin, small pieces.
Japanese Rice Cake (Mochi)

*Kewpie Mayonnaise
*Okonomiyaki Sauce
Seaweed Flakes

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan on medium heat or set electric skillet to 325°. Lightly oil the cooking surface. Pour ½ of the batter into the skillet, top with the fillings. Pour on the remaining ½ of the batter. Cook until the bottom of the batter is well browned, approximately 5 minutes. Flip the Okonomiyaki and cook the other side until it is browned, approximately another 5 minutes.

*Kewpie Mayonnaise and Okonomiyaki Sauce can be found at


  • At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Sarah said…

    I'm so loving your food blog! Keep it coming, I insist.


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