June 18, 2014

Usu Yaki/薄焼き

Usu yaki is a specialty of Shinshu (Nagano). My father, who comes from Shinshu, used to make usu yaki sometimes when we lived in Tokyo. Today, I made usu yaki, using flour, miso, and nira (Chinese chive). Usu yaki made with nira can be called nira yaki, whereas usu yaki made with negi can be called negi yaki.
Usu < Usui = Thin
Yaki < Yaku = To fry, to grill
Sorry, I don't have a recipe to share. I simply mixed some flour with water, and added some more water until the right texture (similar to that of pancake batter). I added nira and miso.

Some recipes like this one call for eggs and/or sugar. If I remember correctly, my father did not add either.

I think that flour, miso, and nira (or negi) are the only required ingredients, as well as some oil for pan-frying. Slightly scorched miso adds a wonderful flavor to this simple "pancake".


Sissi said...

So this is the famous usu yaki! Sounds nice. I must prepare it one day too. Seems slightly easier than negi yaki (no yamaimo for example). Not to mention all the okonomiyaki toppings.

Fräulein Trude said...

I am sure it tastes delicious as it is without egg and such. I like those garlicy chinese chives and miso adds such a reach flavor too.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Yes, and it has nothing to do with your gorgeous negi yaki (laugh). According to one site, such usu yaki with nira in it (also called "nira sembei" にら煎餅) has been eaten since the late Edo period in Northern Shinshu, where they were unable to grow rice because of the cold climate and had to grow flour and buckwheat instead.

Kiki: Yes, too many ingredients can spoil the dish. I think the addition of eggs and sugar is relatively a recent trend. Both eggs and sugar were luxury items before World War II.

Tea Apprentice said...

So interesting! I've never heard of this. Sounds good!

Hiroyuki said...

Tea Aprentice: Interesting? I hope you make it someday to see if you like it or not.

Sissi said...

Thank you for the compliment! I have always thought my okonomiyaki looked particularly messy with the huge heap of big katsuobushi.
I have just realised that my recent "trick" to add grated garlic clove to okonomiyaki must give a bit similar flavour results to nira, which is slightly garlicky (actually when I saw your post, I quickly planted some nira; I have completely forgotten I bought it last week.
Next time I will add some miso to my okonomiyaki mixture as you did here.

Blueberry said...

I really like the idea of adding miso. I bet it adds some nice flavour. I`ll definitely try it soon. Too bad you almost never get to buy nira here though.

Hiroyuki said...

Blueberry: I hope you try it with any similar leaf vegetable!