Chances are you have a waffle iron, whether you got it as a gift, or bought it with grand visions of elaborate Sunday brunches. But unless you’re in the habit of keeping waffle batter on-hand at all times (in which case, respect), it’s probably not the kitchen gadget you reach for most often (or even top ten). The good news? There are a lot of other ways to use it! Believe it or not, a waffle iron is the perfect cooking vessel for okonomiyaki, a Japanese mash-up of an omelet and a pancake.
In this week’s installment of Mad Genius Tips, Food & Wine‘s culinary director Justin Chapple shows us a brilliant shortcut for making the dish. The first step? Heat up your Belgian waffle iron (it has to be Belgian-style) and place two strips of bacon inside. “This is going to do two things,” Chapple explains. “Not only is this going to cook the bacon, it’s also going to help grease the waffle iron so that we’re not having to use any non-stick coating.”
While the bacon cooks (it’ll take about five minutes), it’s time to prep that pancake batter. Chapple whisks two large eggs and adds some chicken stock. “This is kind of classic in okonomiyaki, where you make a custard using eggs and a broth,” he says. Kosher salt, melted butter, and all-purpose flour are added to the mix, and the whole thing is stirred until it’s “barely smooth.”
Now it’s time to shred some veggies (cabbage, carrots, and scallions) and scatter them on the hot waffle iron. “You can see that the carrots and scallions, their color actually gets much brighter and that’s how you know they’re kind of crisp-tender,” Chapple points out, just before he pours some pancake batter over the mix.
Cook the whole thing until the eggs set around the edge (about 30 seconds) before (gently!) closing the waffle iron and letting it sit for another 30 seconds to a minute. When it’s suitably puffed up, lift it with a fish spatula, plate it, add some toppings (more scallions, Sriracha, Kewpie mayo, bonito flakes, bacon), and marvel at your waffle iron’s hidden talent.
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