Nothing rhymes with Okinomiyaki

24 Jul


Friday night I felt…unsurprised. Resigned. It felt like it was only a matter of time before the craziness in the world would actively hit Munich. And then finally it did. I was home before I realized what was happening, although it even happened before I left work. I was riding my bike home around 6 pm, just minutes after the shooter at the Olympia Einkaufszentrum was putting people to death. Police car and ambulance and fire trucks all crossed by me and I wondered why so many of them…but it had seemed like so many of them anyway in the last days that I did not wonder too much.

When I got home, I cooked dinner. Like any normal evening. And then I checked email at 7:30 finally, when I noticed that siren after siren screamed its way by the apartment, without pause. But I feel too much nothing. I have been numbed to the tragedies after the most recent incidents in just the last couple weeks. Nice, Turkey, Republican Convention, Würzburg – all very different tragedies, but somehow they add up to numbness and inability to process what it all means and what one can even do. I can hardly compare, though, in my little insulated and sheltered world. It feels like a big farce to live here in the bubble sometimes.

So the next day you go out there and move on and don’t concentrate too much on the craziness. I moved.


A lot. Getting ready for a marathon run in October. Maybe. My first moments of doubt came with yesterday’s half marathon training run. It was hot, close to 30 degrees. And I was careless with hydrating and eating enough and timing things correctly in the morning before leaving. When I hit 17k, I ran out of water. Still a good 4k from home, no money, no id, nothing but a phone and a key with me and a Powerbar. In the end, I could have gotten help had it really been critical, but I was frustrated that I wasn’t going to make my goal time, that it wasn’t feeling as good as it had the week before.

We went to a movie last night – Star Trek Beyond – no, I don’t recommend it. I woke up in the morning and heard that the shooter had shot himself, so wasn’t roaming the city anymore. So I said “ok” to going to a movie at night. Feeling like I was playing in a TV show of unreality. How can this be the world? A guy kills 10 people and himself 3 kilometers from where you live just hours before and the next night you are going to a movie as if nothing has happened. Well, but life goes on, right?

We didn’t have time to eat dinner before leaving for the film and afterwards it was too late. So I have been hungry the whole day somehow after burning 1700 calories in about 2.5 hours yesterday. Trying to fill in the hunger with fruit and nuts. Nothing seemed to help. Finally I began assembling dinner at around 5:30 tonight, dreaming of fat and carbs and protein and just feeling… not hungry anymore.


That’s the beginning of Okinomiyaki. Yeah, I know, it’s hard to say without practice. Well, it’s a Japanese pancake. Made with a special Japanese yam and cabbage and in my case, seafood and a bit of ham. The easiest and fastest recipe is over here.  

The name is derived from the Japanese word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked” (cf. yakitori and yakisoba).

It does require a trip, most likely, to an Asian supermarket, if nothing else for that weird yam, which you need to shred into the batter.


It shreds very quickly, and is gooey. You add it to the flour, salt, sugar, dashi broth, and baking powder and then let it all chill in the fridge for about an hour.

And then you add the cabbage, the eggs, the seafood, etc.


In the end, to cook it, you pile it into a saute pan and let it cook for about 10 minutes or so in total. It should be a nice fat pancake. 2 centimeters thick. You can dig into it.


A giant pancake.

Which you then take off the stove and garnish with a special sauce (recipe with the recipe above), some mayo, some green onions, some pork floss (or bonito flakes are more traditional).


And then you sit down, ideally when it is still piping hot, and eat it.


Ideally with a very cold glass of rosé. Or two.

I am no longer hungry.




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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


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