Along with the wheat grain, the potato plays a very prominent role in Ukrainian cooking. Since my youth, I am in love with one of our traditional potato based dishes called deruny. Originally it’s not an Ukrainian, but a Belorussian dish (who borrowed it in their own turn from traditional German cooking). In East European countries, this dish has many names, but almost all of them refer to the state of potato (just before actually cooking). Deruny, dranyky or tertuhy means “mashed”. This dish has a lot of recipes, but I am going to share with you my family’s one.
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.
Apparently the word ‘curry’ came into the English language from Tamil, at about the time when the East India Company began trading spices from the Coromandel Coast. Since then, the word has literally spread. Curries have a huge cultural and geographic remit now, from Japan all the way to Jamaica, via Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India (not to mention Britain with its baltis!), and it seems less and less clear what exactly constitutes a ‘curry’ — but I guess anything saucy and spicy fits the bill.