Recipe Idea: Roasted Shishito Peppers and Okonomiyaki Pancakes

(Scroll down to watch the videos!) Here at Little Griddle we like to think we're a small company, but with a global outlook - about what we put in our stomachs. When it comes to snacking, we scour the planet for the best-tasting stuff to cook on the griddle, and today we're going to look pretty far from our home base near Detroit to explore some fabulous Japanese snacks: griddle-roasted Shishito peppers, and the fantastic cabbage pancake called Okonomiyaki. Shishito peppers are a beautiful small, mild pepper that tastes absolutely fantastic when griddled with a bit of oil and sprinkled with sea salt. They are mostly sweet peppers, but about one in twenty has a spicy bite to it. The fun part is that you never know when you will get a hot one, because they look just like the mild ones. Put a nice char on them from the griddle and sprinkle salt on top, and you will have found an addictive party snack that goes great with a cocktail at a party or while you watch the game. Okonomiyaki, from the root word okonomi, or "what you like" in Japanese, is a griddled pancake made from a flour batter and typically fortified cabbage, seafood, and other toppings and additions. Because these are traditionally made on a griddle, they are an ideal snack or meal to try on your Little Griddle. They taste so indescribably amazing that they are 100% worth the effort. Put together, these two dishes offer a small window into the amazing world of griddled Japanese cuisine. We'll explore more dishes in the future, but for now check out how we made these two and look below for the complete recipes.

To make the Roasted Shishito Peppers, you will need:

- One pound of shishito peppers. These are becoming increasingly common, and we always seem to see them at Trader Joe's.  If you are having trouble finding them, Asian grocery stores will be likely to have these in stock, or you can order them online.  

- high-heat oil (vegetable, rice bran or grapeseed)

- Sea Salt, for sprinkling

Wash the Shishito peppers and shake dry in a colander. Poke a small hole in each pepper with a toothpick to vent cooking steam. Pre-heat the griddle on your grill to medium-high heat or an air temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the grill hood closed. When griddle is hot, coat the griddle surface lightly with oil and place the Shishito peppers in a single layer on the griddle surface.

Cook on the first side until peppers begin to brown and bubble, about 5 minutes. Flip each pepper and brown on the second side. When the griddles are browned on both sides remove to a platter and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy while hot (not that you'll wait for them to cool - they're that good)!

To make the Okonomiyaki pancakes, you will need:

- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour

- 1/2 to 2/3 Cup dashi stock (we used instant dashi granules)*

- 7 ounces cabbage, finely sliced

- 1 TB nagaimo ("Mountain Yam"), peeled and grated*

- 1/4 C scallions, finely chopped

- 2 TB pickled shredded ginger (Beni Shoga)*

- 2 - 3 ounces small steamed shrimp or sliced octopus

- 2 eggs

- 6 strips uncooked bacon

- Mayonnaise (preferably from a squeeze bottle)*

- Okonomi sauce*

- Aonori (Seaweed Flakes)*

- Katsuobushi (Bonito Flakes)*

*All items with an * can be found at Asian specialty stores or in the Asian foods section of better-equipped grocery stores.

Pre-heat the griddle on your grill to medium-high heat or an air temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the grill hood closed. In a medium bowl, combine flour and dashi stock and stir to combine. Add chopped cabbage, and stir to coat. Add naimo, ginger, seafood and half of the scallions, and stir to combine.

Fold in eggs and pour mixture onto pre-heated griddle. Place uncooked bacon strips on the top of the pancake batter, so that when the pancake is flipped the bacon will cook.

Cook at medium heat on the first side until batter has set enough to flip, approximately 5 minutes. Using TWO spatulas, flip the pancake and cook on the second side until the bacon has cooked, approximately 5 minutes. Flip again so that the bacon is on the top. Brush the top of the pancake with okonomi sauce, then sprinkle with remaining scallions.

Drizzle with mayonnaise, and then sprinkle on Aonori and Katsuboshi to taste. Remove to a serving platter, slice into wedges, and enjoy!

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