Home  >  Magazine  >  Issue 6 : Apr 2006  > Columns  >  Springtime Okonomiyaki


By Akira Suzuki

Springtime Okonomiyaki



Soy sauce (shoyu)
Wild vegetables (such as urui and taranome)

City life forces us to recognize cooking ingredients only from what you’d buy at the store. People seem to forget that even the young sprouts of dandelions in the park make a delicious salad.
There is no shortage of wild vegetables for hikers to enjoy and it’s a great to feeling using your knowledge and experience to gather food from the land and the sea. Eating what the season provides, and getting to know what foods can be taken from the land, can also slightly reduce your pack-weight.    

(Urui alongside the poisonous kobaikeisou.)

However, just like a number of aquatic varieties, some foods from the field are poisonous, thus making it necessary to bring yourself up to speed on what’s edible and what’s not. The urui we’re using in today’s recipe is called ohbakiboshi , and can be easily mistaken with the poisonous kobaikeiso, a problem leading to cases of poisoning now and then.

The trick in deciphering which is which lies in the veins of the leaf. The urui leaf has many veins branching out from a large central vein, while the kobaikeiso veins run parallel from the stem to the tip.


(1) Begin by washing and drying off the urui and taranome. Then chop into easy-to-eat pieces. After mixing the flour and a beaten egg, add water and lightly mix. (For consistency, think crepe rather than pancake) Mix in the chopped urui and taranome.

(2) Heat up a well-oiled fry pan, pour in a thin layer of the mixture and cook both sides. Add some soy sauce and it’s ready to eat!