Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

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Bento contents:

  • 3 potato oyaki filled with beef soboro (300 cal)
  • Cucumber and wakame sunomono (20cal)
  • Lettuce garnish (negligible)

Total calories (approx): 320 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning, 20-30 previously

Type: Japanese, Potato based, gluten-free

An oyaki (お焼き)is a flat dumpling or bun that is grilled or pan-fried on both sides. It can be filled with a savory or sweet filling, or left plain. The dough part can be made of anything that can formed into a sort of dough - rice or rice flour, wheat or buckwheat. Quite often it’s made with leftovers. It’s a homey little snack that is made quite commonly in Japanese homes. It also appears in some regions as a roadside snack.

These particular oyaki are made with mashed potatoes. The dough part is rather similar to Italian gnocchi dough. They’re filled with savory meat soboro, pan fried in a little sesame oil, and brushed with a bit of soy sauce. They taste great at room temperature or hot, and are very filling. Each oyaki only has 1/4 cup of plain mashed potatoes, less than a teaspoonful of corn or potato starch, and a teaspoonful of meat mixture, plus a scant amount of oil on the outside, coming out to around 100 calories or so. (If you make them bigger they’ll be more of course, and vice versa.)

The perfect time to make this dough is when you are making mashed potatoes for dinner. Just cook a couple of extra potatoes, take out two cups of mash before you add the milk and butter and so on, and add the potato or corn starch. You can make the oyaki then and there, or make them in the morning with that dough.

Accompanying the oyaki is a classic cucumber and wakame sunomono, which is very low calorie since the ‘dressing’ has no oil. So this bento totals only 320 calories. It makes a nice alternative to rice or bread based bentos.

Here’s the ‘man-size’ version, which has 5 oyaki and the same amount of sunomono. Still only 520 calories, and quite filling, as the eater attests to. (He actually just had 4, and ate the last one as an afternoon snack.)

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(Note: I have tweaked the recipe a little and reposted it here. )

Ingredients - Potato Oyaki

This makes 8 oyaki.

  • 2 cups (approx. 440ml) plain mashed potatoes (no milk, butter, etc.) that have been cooked in salted water
  • 4 Tbs. potato starch or cornstarch (if you are gluten-intolerant choose a gluten-free version)
  • 8 heaping tsp. or so of meat soboro or other savory filling
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce

Ingredients - Cucumber and wakame sunomono

For two portions.

  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • About 4 Tbs. dried wakame seaweed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Steps

I find it works best to make the oyaki first, and then deal with the sunomono while the oyaki are cooking.

Oyaki

The night before or so you should have made the potato dough by mixing the potato starch or cornstarch in the hot mashed potatoes until smooth. In the morning, take out the cooled mass and knead it a bit, and divide it into 8 pieces. (If you make the potato dough in the morning, allow an additional 30 minutes including cooking, mashing and cooling time.)

Round and flatten each piece on your palm. Put 1 heaping teaspoonful of soboro in the middle. Gather the dough over the filling, then make a flat little cake. (The dough is very easy to manipulate so this doesn’t take much time). In the meantime, heat up a large non-stick frying pan.

Drizzle a little bit of sesame oil in the pan, then put in the formed oyaki. Cook until browned underneath, then turn. Brush the cooked side with a little soy sauce using a brush or drizzle on a bit with a spoon. Turn once more and brush the other side with soy sauce.

Remove from pan and let cool before packing into bento box.

Sunomono

Before you start on the oyaki, soak the wakame in cold water.

Once the oyaki are cooking, slice the cucumber. A mandoline, plastic cutter, or food processor help a lot here.

Put the cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle on the salt. Massage the cucumber to soften and extract its juices.

Drain the wakame well and squeeze out. Do the same with the cucumber.

Mix both together. Add vinegar and sugar, and mix well.

Timeline

This assumes that you have the soboro filling and the oyaki dough made ahead, which is really the most efficient way to go.

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Oyaki filling alternatives

  • The miso, tahini and nut paste, with the amount of chopped nuts doubled, is a very nice filling. Use just one teaspoonful (not a heaping teaspoonful).
  • Any kind of chopped and well seasoned vegetables make a good filling.
  • Shredded cheese makes a nice filling too. Cook until the cheese has melted (it may ooze out a bit).
  • Whenever I make gyoza dumplings I always end up with leftover filling. That filling is good for oyaki too. Just cook the oyaki a few minutes longer to allow the filling to cook through.
  • For a less Japanese tasting oyaki, use chopped up leftover meatloaf, and brush the surface with ketchup or steak sauce.

Make-ahead oyaki

Completed oyaki can be frozen quite successfully.

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30 comments

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ooh, ooh, just like

Japanese potato knishes! Ok, not exactly, but close. And much easier because there’s no outside dough. This weekend looks like a good time to make a bunch of these. :) Have you ever added a bit of yam to the mixture?

I’ve been busy lately and

I’ve been busy lately and in a cooking rut - and this and the soboro recepie are JUST what I needed to snap me out of it! I’ve decided to make soboro this weekend and then try it in a variety of dishes to flex my cooking muscles.

Along of course with my usual once-a-week mass of barilla high protein pasta, always a staple!

A thought too - couldn’t you do sweet potato cakes like this, maybe with a dash of brown sugar? Do those with a nut filling could be quite delicious.

japanese knishes!

Hmm I never made the connection with knishes but they are sort of like knishes. But a lot lighter though!

Dragon, yes you can make them with sweet potato too! Oyaki dough can be made with anything dough-like. Or with a sweet filling. The basic potato dough here with apricot jam filling is pretty nice (but not brushed with soy sauce of course!)

leftovers

Funny recipe and a nice way to use leftovers while cooking a superb and nourrishing bento meanwhile. Thank you one’s more, maki. I have and additionnal question: you present a way to home made tofu in one of your posts but It seems quite long. Do you often do it yourself? Anyway i like your do it yourself tips (fukikake for exemple)

Freezing the Oyaki dough

Would it be possible to freeze the Oyaki dough once it is made but before it is filled or cooked? I was thinking that the dough could be made and separated into the 8 pieces and then wrap the pieces not needed in a cling wrap and freeze them. Then they could just be thawed, filled and cooked when needed.

I see a lot of potential for these in my lunches, but need a way to have multiple fillings that don’t have to be made ahead. This way they could just be made the night before and fill them with what was on hand at the time.

Also, once they are made and frozen, how are they thawed to take in a lunch?

freezing

I haven’t done this myself, but I think if I were to freeze the dough for wrapping fillings in later I’d either make individual portions, and then flatten them out fairly thin, ready to just wrap around the filling. Or, I’d just freeze it in one big but thin sheet, and break off what I wanted to use. For de-frosting, you can either do that overnight in your fridge, or in the microwave (the length of time depends on the amount and thickness).

For de-frosting already formed oyaki, I either put them out in the fridge to defrost overnight, or just give it a couple of minutes in the microwave on HIGH (not defrost) then put then in the frying pan over a fairly low heat, and let them slowly warm through. If I’m not in a big hurry, I just put the frozen ones in the frying pan directly and let them slowly cook and defrost, with a lid on.

Freezing

Thank you. As soon as I try it I will let you know how it came out.

YUM!

These are sooo yummy! (I had the stuff on hand and tried them.) Thanks for posting them!

Hi! I was browsing through

Hi! I was browsing through and this recipe sounded really good so I tried making it this weekend… This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper! For the soboro, I used ground turkey, left out the green onion, used 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, used sweet cooking wine bcs I had no sake on hand, and hoisin rather than oyster sauce.. The soboro was SO savory and delicious!! I had boiled some Yukons but thought it was plain and added some garlic powder.. I put the soboro in the oyaki.. and this was definitely a treat!! I made some the night before and reheating in the microwave rather than pan fry with a little garlic chili sauce on top.. DELISH! Thanks again for posting this recipe and I look forward to future recipes!!

Thanks for the sunomono

Thanks for the sunomono recipe — I just bought some at Whole Foods at an exorbitant price and realized it’s probably super easy (and cheap) to make at home!

A new favorite!

I am trying out the oyaki recipe this week and really love it! I filled and formed the oyaki Sunday night and refrigerated them and cook enough for lunch every morning. They’re delicious and they have held up really well to being stored in the fridge. I did divide them up with parchment papers to prevent sticking, though.

I have run into a snag when I cook them in the morning, though, and maybe you can suggest a remedy. When I flip the oyaki and go to brush soy sauce on the cooked side, some of the sauce always drips down into the oil and sends sizzling droplets of oil flying out of the pan. The soy isn’t absorbing well into the cooked surface, I think, and lots of it just runs off. Do you have any suggestions for preventing that?

A new favorite!

I am trying out the oyaki recipe this week and really love it! I filled and formed the oyaki Sunday night and refrigerated them and cook enough for lunch every morning. They’re delicious and they have held up really well to being stored in the fridge. I did divide them up with parchment papers to prevent sticking, though.

I have run into a snag when I cook them in the morning, though, and maybe you can suggest a remedy. When I flip the oyaki and go to brush soy sauce on the cooked side, some of the sauce always drips down into the oil and sends sizzling droplets of oil flying out of the pan. The soy isn’t absorbing well into the cooked surface, I think, and lots of it just runs off. Do you have any suggestions for preventing that?

A couple of things I could

A couple of things I could suggest - try using a bit less oil (or barely any at all if you are heating up precooked ones and using a non-stick pan…or try using a cooking spray); or piercing the surface a bit with a fork so that the soy sauce can sink in a little instead of running off. If the oil still spits at you, ward off the spits with a pan lid.

Poking holes with a fork did

Poking holes with a fork did the trick—much more soy sauce was absorbed by the oyaki and it hardly ran off at all. Thanks!

i was just wondering if its

i was just wondering if its possible to make this with a faux groundmeat product, like yves meatless ground, and have it turn out the same or atleast close to the same,since i dont eat meat?

I can’t guarantee it will

I can’t guarantee it will be exactly the same, but you could certainly give it a try!

Re: i was just wondering if its

I made it with Morningstar Farms Grillers hamburger-style crumbles in the middle and it turned out well.

Finally got around to trying

Finally got around to trying this with the yves meatless ground, and it turned out great, even though i might not have added enough salt since i used instant mashed potatoes since thats what i had.. but it was still really good.

I think I might have done this wrong...

I made shepherd’s pie last night so I thought I’d kill three birds with one stone. I made individual pies for tomorrow’s bento, and made some extra potato for these. Once I got everything going in the oven, I put the starch in the potatoes I hadn’t mashed yet, but it never really made a “dough” consistency, at least not one I’m used to. I mashed it and mixed it as best I could, and it did get a little thicker, so I assumed I just wasn’t used to it.

This morning, I pulled my soboro from the freezer and set into making these, but I ended up with a mostly burned mess. The dough part really just felt like thicker mashed potatoes, so they kept burning in little bits to the bottom of the pan. I ended up stopping before they had the look of your oyaki in the picture, just cause my kitchen was already starting to smell quite bad.

Granted, I don’t have a non-stick pan (that’ll be changing very soon thanks to my desire for some tamagoyaki), but I was wondering if that’s really the only part I messed up on. I haven’t given these a try yet, but I keep warily eyeing the little plastic box on my desk.

The dough does not become

The dough does not become sticky or stretchy in the way bread dough does; it should be the consistency of thick, slightly dry even, mashed potatoes (because that’s what they are). In essence it’s like making potato croquettes, but without the breadcrumb coating and deep frying. A non-stick frying pan or griddle really helps, but be sure to coat it with a bit of oil for both flavor and to prevent sticking. (If using a not-non-stick pan, you’d need to add a lot more oil to it to prevent sticking.)

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

Hm... I love sunomono and I'd love to just make a big batch to pick at for a while. How long does the sunomono keep in the fridge? I thought it might last for a while because of the vinegar and salt. Also, if you're using seasoned sushi rice vinegar, do you still add the salt and sugar? Thank you!

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

Wakame can get slimy if it's been sitting in moisture for too long, so I wouldn't make more than a couple of day's worth. On the other hand it is very easy to put together so you could make small batches.

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

I just made these and they're SOOO good!

Thanks so much for the recipe! =)

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

I just tried these, and was pretty successful. :) I was unable to make the suggested filling exactly (I lacked most of the ingredients) and so it turned out slightly bland, although they looked like the demo photos here. I just seemed to have too much potato, and too little filling.
It took me nearly an hour to make these, I clearly lack your efficency in the kitchen! How high a heat do you cook these at, and how much salt do you normally add to your potatoes when cooking?

Next time i'll try to flavour the filling more strongly, add more salt to the potato, or eat with some sort of dipping sauce. Still, I'm having great fun trying out something new.

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

Do you have any vegetarian filling suggestions for this? I'm looking for all veggie, no faux meat or anything.

Thanks!

KIMCHI!!!

I just made these with kimchi filling . . . YUMMY! Very versatile recipe. Thank you. *^.~*

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

Do you have vegetarian suggests for the filling? I don't want tofu or fake meat or anything. These look delicious though, so I may even spring for the meat anyway! (I'm a bad vegetarian ^_^;)
-Kyandasu

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I made potato and beef oyaki twice and they taste divine. However, they aren't able to hold its shape (I made them out to shape like a moon and cat's face). I added 6 tbs of corn starch to the 2nd batch, but it still came out soggy/mushy. Do you have any suggestions?

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

honestly this is one of the best and easiest recipes I have used. It doesn't get old because of the blank canvas you have with a potato. Thanks!!

Re: Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

These look delish! I'm trying to make them tomorrow with pumpkin! Wish me luck!

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