Okonomiyaki


My Japanese friends will recognize this as a popular way to end an evening of drinking with friends. My non-Japanese friends not familiar with this dish know me well enough to trust me when I say this is good stuff. Think of it as an Asian cousin to a big potato pancake or latke.

Okonomiyaki translated into English means “as you like it”. It’s a savory pancake, usually cooked by the diners at the table on special flat top grills. They are filled with whatever the diner chooses, usually meat, seafood or finely chopped vegetables and almost always topped with a savory brown sauce and Japanese style mayonnaise.

Okonomiyaki couldn’t be easier to make. Here, I’ve used a commercial mix from Kikkoman that also doubles as a base for tempura, but if that’s not available in your area, the following recipe works equally well. My fillings of choice are common ingredients in Japan and include shredded cabbage, shrimp and green onions, but any favorite shredded meat, seafood or vegetable can be used. The internet is loaded with options for other fillings.

The sauce can be made from scratch but excellent bottled sauces are readily available in supermarkets that stock Asian staples (I particularly like the Tonkatsu sauce made by Kikkoman).

Pair this with some cold Japanese beer and a baseball game on TV for a favorite Japanese evening with friends. The following recipe will serve two but can be doubled for more servings.

Okonomiyaki
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
½ tsp baking powder
2/3 cup stock (dashi, and if dashi isn’t available use any broth)
1 egg
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
½ lb medium shrimp (51-60 size)
3 green onions finely sliced
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
Garnishes:
Mayonnaise and Tonkatsu sauce (see below)
Finely minced green onions
Japanese Furikake seasoning (optional but very good-worth seeking out)

Combine the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk the broth and egg together and add to the flour mixture to make a medium-thick pancake batter.

Add all of the cabbage, shrimp and green onions (will seem like a lot of cabbage, but this is how it should be). Preheat the oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the all of the pancake mix and flatten to the depth of the shrimp with a spatula.

Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, flipping several times, until golden brown on both sides.

Serve right away with the mayonnaise and Tonkatsu sauce drizzled over the top.

Makes one large or two medium pancakes and will serve two people.

Sauce
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup sake or dry sherry
¼ cup dark soy sauce
½ tsp sugar
Stir all of the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved, Serve on the side in dipping bowls or drizzled over top of the pancake.

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    • S
    • September 1st, 2013

    This has been one of our FAVORITE recipes. It is easy to make, and just delicious. Love this!

  1. I was in Japan for a month during the spring, my friends made this for us! Like most of the food we had, it was totemo oishii.

    I didn’t care for the raw, uncleaned baby squid though. Crunchy beaks. Not so pleasant.

    • Rima
    • February 12th, 2012

    This was so amazingly delicious!! Thank you thank you thank you! I didn’t think it would turn out OK because I didn’t have the tonkatsu or the Furikake, but YUMM!!!

    • Fezziwig
    • August 31st, 2011

    Yay! I will try it on eggs…..

      • Fezziwig
      • August 31st, 2011

      Made this tonight. OUTSTANDING. Made more than I intended, and DH loved it so much, he went back for seconds, and he hates Japanese food. I didn’t tell him…..

    • Fezziwig
    • August 26th, 2011

    This looks delicious and when I went to buy the ingredients, there were FOUR kinds of furikake!!! I got the kind with wasabi – was this right? What should I have gotten?

    • Any of the furikake blends would be perfect. I think the wasabi blend would be outstanding…not just on this but on many things (try it on scrambled eggs!!).

    • penelope
    • August 8th, 2011

    made this last night for a “side dish”; turned into the main attraction, everyone was completely won over! had my own homemade katsu sauce so didn’t try yours specifically, but the pancake recipe was perfect. added a few more prawns (because yum, prawns) and a bit less cabbage, recipe is quite forgiving and so easy doubled. thanks for sharing this, it is a real friend maker :D

  2. Looks good. I think I will try it and invite my next door neighbor Japanese over to get his opinion. Aught to be fun.

  3. Thanks very much for the recipe. I tried okonomiyaki for the first time on Sunday at a food stall in London’s Brick Lane. I’ve written about it on my blog and included a link to your recipe. Hope that’s ok?

  4. I made your recipe last night and it turned out great!! Thanks for the tip about the katsu sauce. Freaking delicious.

  5. I love okonomakayi! I have made it a few times recently. both the Tokyo style (above) and the Hiroshima style which involves bacon and noodles.

    One of my Japanese friends recommended I try savoy cabbage next time since it cooks down so much faster.

  6. Yay – okonomiyaki! Definitely the soul food of Osaka, Japan and oh so good. I made a healthier rendition not too long ago. Check it out:)

    http://wgfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/on-the-menu-okonomiyaki/

  7. I stinkin’ love okonomiyaki! The kind I used to eat in Japan were Hiroshima style, with udon noodles and big bits of bacon. I have no idea how to go about doing any of that, but your version looks crazy delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tiana Dewar
    • February 21st, 2011

    Ooooo one of my favourite dishes EVER. Our Japanese exchange student made this for my family years ago, and I have been in love with it eve since. I love it with squid inside it as well. Have you ever used the Okonomiyaki sauce specifically for this? I get it at my local Japanese Supermarket, and I find it’s better than tonkatsu sauce. Just a suggestion. Thanks for the beautiful photo. Very nicely done!

    • betty
    • February 21st, 2011

    I LOVE okinomiyaki! Thanks for the sauce recipe – I was close, but i hope yours is better!

  8. Ahh! Love these! My husband and I honeymooned in Japan and we got to try this once in Osaka. Really good, don’t know why I haven’t tried to make it myself!

  9. Interesting not a clue do I have about this one :) but it sure looks amazing!

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