Stefan’s Izakaya – Be Your Own Japanese Gastropub

Average Reading Time: 3 minutes

This is part two of a 2-part series about izakayas. In part one (Japanese Gastropubs – The Izakaya) I shortly described what an izakaya is, what’s so special and interesting about it and shared my experiences at two izakayas that I visited earlier in 2016. In part two I will show you how to izakaya yourself. Or in other words: I welcome you to Stefan’s Izakaya! I will share recipes for four basic izakaya dishes with you.

Stefan’s Izakaya

I really love culinary topics! Going out for drinks, buying new whisky or gin; trying out new cuisines or restaurants in general, being fancy or casual – all is dear to my heart. What I probably love doing most is cooking. I have a longstanding relationship with the kitchen with decades of amateur chef experience.

As some I live in an area where culinary versatility isn’t where it could be, I often come back to those desires and start doing it myself. That’s what this article is really about. I don’t have many non-sushi Japanese cuisine options around, and certainly no izakaya. That’s why I did it myself.

Stefan's Izakaya

Stefan working on those delicate shimeji

Out of curiosity and the strong desire to see if I could, I worked on a few simple items that you can find in an izakaya too. So here we go I hope you enjoy your stay at Stefan’s zakaya!

Stefan’s Izakaya: Miso soup with Tofu

As I love soups, I had to have one in my izakaya. I did something very basic and simple. For many reasons. It’s convenient as I struggle with my “kitchen”. The place isn’t even a real kitchen to begin with and I don’t have much space. In my eyes, no matter how exquisite the food, Japanese cuisine remains something delicate with a lot of effort in it, while giving you the impression of being very simplistic and easy. Basically you often cannot imagine the effort behind the item.

Miso soup with tofu

Miso soup with tofu

My miso soup is based on a chicken broth, which I did myself from scratch. I added tofu and spring onions to enrich the dish while keeping it simple and light.

Stefan’s Izakaya: Chicken Skewers

I got some good looking chicken legs, which I de-boned. The bones served as the base ingredient for my miso soup.

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There are three reasons why I used chicken legs for my menu:

  1. it’s cheaper
  2. it tastes better
  3. I could use the bones, fat and the skin for my broth

This way I enhanced the value of the dish for two items on the menu while working only with a little money. The money I saved, I spend on a different place. Of course, it’s another simple item on my menu. The complexity comes in (partially) the de-boning (if you’re not used to it) and the teriyaki sauce.

Stefan’s Izakaya: Bacon-wrapped Shimeji

When I was grocery shopping I found for the first time ever, without expecting it at all, white and brown shimeji. I immediately knew that I wanted to recreate the bacon-wrapped shimeji skewers I had in London. So I bought a packet of each and some bacon.

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Once more a very simple item. The beauty of it – at least in my view – lies in the combination of bacon and shimeji. The mushroom is very delicate and needs to be treated gently. The fact that it’s wrapped with bacon, gives the shimeji moisture and plenty of taste while preserving it mostly from direct heat. This keeps the shimeji intact and you the chance to a great tasting mushroom.

Life can really be exciting when you walk around with your eyes, your mind and your heart open!

Stefan’s Izakaya: Okonomiyaki “Stefan Style”

Okonomiyaki! What can I say, I fell in love with pancakes and liked eggs since I can remember. Mixing both items seems natural to me. That’s why I had to put it on my menu (and because four items are better than 3! More food!).

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My okonomiyaki is not a traditional version, but my adaptation of it. I didn’t have any okonomiyaki flour nor any cabbage, wich are both part of a traditional styled okonomiyaki.

That aside, my ingredients are very simple and basic too. The fancy part comes mainly with the toppings. here you can be as creative as you wish, but make sure to add some mayonnaise and another sauce on top. I picked tonkatsu sauce and a spicy mayonnaise-mustard sauce for mine.

Stefan's Izakaya: Okonomiyaki - Chicken Skewers - Bacon-wrapped shimeji

Stefan’s Izakaya: Okonomiyaki – Chicken Skewers – Bacon-wrapped shimeji

I really hope you enjoyed this recipe and I would love to hear your thoughts about it. Try it out and let me know in the comment section how much you liked it. I’d love to get your feedback!

Itadakimasu!

Stefan's Izakaya

Stefan’s Izakaya


Stefan's Izakaya
Stefan's Izakaya
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
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Servings Prep Time
2 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Stefan's Izakaya
Stefan's Izakaya
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Miso Soup with Tofu
Chicken Skewers with Teriyaki glaze
Bacon-wrapped Shimeji skewers
Okonomiyaki Stefan Style
Servings: people
Instructions
Miso Soup with Tofu
  1. In a big pot, bring plenty of water to boil.
  2. Carefully remove the meat from the chicken legs and slighly crush them. Then add the bones, fat and skin to the boiling water.
  3. Let the stock boil on medium-high heat during all the remaining preparations. Every now and then you might need to add some more water.
  4. Cut tofu into small cubes, slice spring onions thinly.
  5. Turn off the heat, add the miso paste and stir until it resolves completely. Then you can add the tofu and the spring onions and serve the soup in small bowls.
  6. PLEASE NOTE: You can prepare the stock easily a day in advance. If you do this, only add the miso paste, the tofu cubes and the slices spring onions after reheating the broth. You don't want to boil the miso paste!
Chicken Skewers with Teriyaki glaze
  1. Take t he chicken meat and season it with salt, pepper, coriander, onion, garlic and chili powder.
  2. Cut the meat into small pieces and put them on skewers.
  3. Let's make the quick and easy teriyaki sauce. In a small bowl, add the soy sauce, honey, chili flakes and the miring and mix well.
  4. In a hot pan: give the chicken skewers a good sear on both sides. Brush the teriyaki sauce on the skewers, sear further on medium heat. This should only allow the honey to caramelize. Serve when this happened.
  5. PLEASE NOTE: You can prepare the skewers in advance (up to 1 day if you put it into an air-tight box).
Bacon-wrapped Shimeji skewers
  1. Very carefully clean the bottom of the shimeji's.
  2. Cut a slice of bacon in half. Now take 3-5 (depends on their size) shimeji and carefully wrap the bacon around them and put it on a skewer.
  3. Repeat until all is done.
  4. In a medium-high heated pan, with a little oil, fry the skewers until the bacon is crisp.
  5. Plate and serve.
  6. PLEASE NOTE: You can prepare the skewers in advance (up to 1 day if you put it into an air-tight box).
Okonomiyaki Stefan Style
  1. Add the eggs, the soy sauce and the mirin in a bowl and whisk until it starts to foam.
  2. Thinly slice the red onions in julienne. Slice the chilis and the spring onions into rings. Cut the snow peas in half.
  3. Put the spring onions on the side. Slowly fry in a pan on medium heat the remaining vegetables for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the baking powder to the eggs and whisk again until it's foamy. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Stir once slowly in order to evenly distribute the vegetables.
  5. Reduce to low heat and put a lid on your pan. When the eggs have hardened, put the spring onions on top of the okonomiyaki.
  6. Serve on a plate and decorate with the tonkatsu and andalouse sauce.
Recipe Notes

Depending on how you treat the recipe (i.e. as a full dinner or just homemade Japanese bar food) it can serve 2-4 people.

This recipe sounds more difficult than it is. I recommend to prepare the broth and all the skewers in advance.

If you feel unsure about the timing of everything, proceed as follows:

  1. finish the soup, put a lid on the pod an set aside. It will stay hot long enough.
  2. Start with the vegetables for the okonomiyaki
  3. Then sear the chicken skewers on each side to give colour, put on a baking tray, coat with the glaze and finish in the oven at 180°C for +/- 12 minutes
  4. Proceed with the okonomiyaki.
  5. Turn the chicken skewers and re-glaze.
  6. Sear the shimeji skwewers
  7. Start plating and serve.

 

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