Friday, November 11, 2011

Nagaimo pancake トロロ焼き

Since we do not have easy access to an Izakaya, I check Izakaya blogs to get vicarious enjoyment out of their reports. I saw this dish called "tororo-yaki" in one such Izakaya blog that the author found when drinking in an "Okonomiyaki" place. ("Tororo" is the name for grated yamaimo or nagaimo). Japanese pancake or "okonomiyaki" お好み焼き is not one of our favorites. For us, it tends to be too heavy and with so many ingredients all mixed together the taste is muddy--like the color you get when you mix all the colors in the paint box together. But, this one looked very interesting and I decided to try it. While the aforementioned blog, described the dish and included pictures of the final product including each step showing how to cook it, the blog did not include the recipe per se. So if I wanted to taste the dish I just had to come up with the recipe--as I imagined it must have been made.

The first pictures above shows the final product. I topped it with cheese (picture directly above) and added dried bonito shavings or "katsuobushi" 鰹節 (top picture). I served it cut into 4 pieces using a pizza cutter and with a little of soy sauce.

I surmised the original recipe may have used "mountain yam" 山芋 but I only had the domesticated version called "Nagaimo" 長芋. Since nagaimo is not as sticky as yamaimo and a bit more watery, I decided to mix in an egg.

I grated the nagaimo (about 1 cup) and mixed in soy sauce (1 tsp) (#1). I then added one beaten egg and poured it in a non-stick frying pan with a small amount of vegetable oil (1 tbs) on a medium flame (#2). When the bottom was set, I spread finely chopped scallion on top (3 stalks) (#3). Using a spatula, I started folding the edges toward the center all around (#4). After several minutes, I flipped the pancake until both sides were brown (#5). I placed three slices of smoked aged cheddar cheese on top (my wife's choice) and put the lid on for another 1-2 minutes until the cheese melted (#6).

I placed the pancake on the bed of baby arugula and spread shaved bonito flakes with a bit of soy sauce.

This is a very interesting dish--in a good way. The center was still soft and the scallion flavor was well integrated. It had the mouth feel of the most tender-delicate french omelet you've ever tasted and yet it was very clearly not an omelet.  My wife's choice of smoked cheddar added depth of flavor and almost a sense of barbecue that went surprisingly well with the bonito. We really liked this dish and cold sake was the perfect choice.

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