I think of cumin and coriander as ying and yang, two different but intertwined spices. The one brings out the best in the other. This is what makes the North African chermoula so very irresistible. Here, the addition of fresh herbs ensures that this spicy, zesty sauce raises the humble potato to new heights. More to the point, I thought of this potato dish as a North African cousin to the Spanish patatas bravas.
I first tried okonomiyaki in a small cafe in Brixton Village called Okan. Nestled alongside a Brazilian cafe and opposite an Italian cafe, it’s possible to sample the street food of Osaka. We were instantly taken with the dish and set about trying to recreate it. But it was Atsuko, a brilliant Japanese chef based in Shoreditch, who really showed us the tricks of the trade and this recipe is very much inspired by her cooking.
Okonomiyaki is a versatile dish – quite literally, it means “grilled as you like it”. So in this recipe, we simply used some leftovers we had as toppings, but you should feel free to vary this according to what you have to hand.
A very light side dish with a discernable Ottolenghi influence. It offers a surprising mix of flavours and textures for a relatively quick, and simple dish. Mograbieh, also known as pearl couscous, has roots in middle-eastern cuisine though its semolina base combined with its size and textures evokes memories of pastina (Italian for “little pasta”) for this author.