Accidental Genius: Vegan Okonomiyaki Recipe

There’s nothing quite like flinging together a meal (be quiet I will blog about writing again soon and you will wish to God I hadn’t) and having it turn out far, far better than you expected, especially when typically your attempts to fling together a meal end in swearing and pans full of hot fat flinging themselves off the gas hob with the express intention of murdering you.

The crux of this, very simple and delicious main piece is that besan/gram flour (chickpea flour) is possibly the most wonderful thing the world has ever produced, and turns into a thick, extremely adhesive paste the minute it touches something moist. It starts pretty much the same as the besan/courgette two-ingredient pancake, but is rather more tasty.

Vegan okonomiyaki, rice paper steamed veg and mushroom balls, steamed kale and soy-fried turnip crisps, and a matcha mochi daifuku from the Japan Centre

You will need:

5 tsbp sieved besan/gram flour
50g of finely grated courgette/zucchini
100g Tesco Vegetable Base Mix (or just… look at the ingredients in that and blender your own)
1 tsp of whatever spice mix most appeals to you. I tend to make my own and then leave them in unlabelled jars because common sense, what is that, so I can’t really tell you what I just used, only that it was delicious
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt
pepper
cooking spray/a tiny amount of oil
1 non-stick saucepan or wok or whatever as long as it’s non-stick, has deep sides and a lid.
Spatula
Something for mixing in
A thing to make your pan hot (hot plate, hob, paraffin stove).

What you do:

  1. Mix everything (except the oil) together in a bowl with the spatula until you have a thick paste.
  2. Make your pan hot.
  3. Put the paste in the bottom of the pan and spread it out until it is flat.
  4. Put the lid back on the pan and turn down the heat and leave it for a while.
  5. When the thing is firm, flip it over with the spatula and turn the heat up a little to cook the other side for a while.
  6. Lob this thing on a plate and adorn however you want. Congrat, you have a vegan okonomiyaki. My guess is that if you’re more of a fan of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, it’s possible to chuck in the mandatory layer of yakisoba.

BONUS: waist-watchers and calorie-counters will be pleased to hear that this whole reasonably large centrepiece clocks in at a whopping 145 calories.

On Being The Demented Consumer Product You Want To See In The World

Oh no, more blogging about Packetsu?

Oh yes, more blogging about Packetsu.

Look, I’m really, truly sorry about this, but ever since I realised I can make okayu and various other dishes in a Thermos jar, the desire to use one as the basis for that ridiculous system has been unstoppable. I mean, now that I’ve discovered you can buy ones with a microwaveable insert, rendering them perfect for pretty much any approach to office-based cooking, that does seem like a ready solution to rice-or-egg-or-pulse-based meals [for things that don’t need to hold the heat in for as long I suppose one can just commandeer a cardboard cup, like the ones Itsu use for their instant noodles].

And well, the thing is, I bought some nonsense from Jbox.com. I went there looking for candy bento boxes and discovered that in addition to this they sell tiny, pocket-sized bag sealers. As in the little heat up things you put a battery into and squeeze along cellophane packets in order to form a sealed edge that can be ripped open easily?

The final nails in the “wasn’t this supposed to be buyable from shops, wasn’t that the whole point” coffin was two separate grocery-shopping discoveries: Morrisons sell this pre-mixed dried vegetables, pasta and barley which really just needs to sit in hot water for a while, and places like Nuts.com have started selling freeze-dried vegetables.

One bag sealer. Spice mix. Seaweed. 30g of rice (to make around 80/100g, or one serving), and 30g of pasta mix (to make 80g, around one serving). This is either going to be the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship (preferably one that relies less heavily on spending a fortune on instant Pho tubs), or it’s going to be a fucking disaster.

If you’re staring at this wondering what exactly is revolutionary about putting some rice in a bag, and why I can’t just cook something and take it in a lunchbox/bento, or at least make one premix and stop hurting the environment with multiple bags, I would like to invite you to consider the following imagination exercises:

  1. What if I change my mind at the last minute and decide I want to eat something else?
  2. What if I change my mind about one part of my meal just before leaving the house and want to swap something out?
  3. What if I want to have a choice of meals without carrying multiple flipping lunchboxes?
  4. What if I want to have multiple meals?
  5. Until my idiotic country can manage to do things like meet clean air targets and stop removing subsidies for renewable energy and commit to sorting out the energy profiles of new buildings, and large product producers can switch to already-existing biodegradable and edible plastics alternatives, I’m not assuming sole personal responsibility for The Environment on the basis of using a battery-operated heat-sealer on one cellophane lollipop bag.
  6. Also, fuck off.

Yes, it’s fiddly and annoying and not what I wanted but thank you, large brands, for not actually muscling in on my Packetsu idea, because at least this way I can save a damn fortune making my own system work.