Japanase Savoury Pancakes
Having my usual style of cooking and selection of flavours, Okonomiyaki is an odd selection to post about for me, but here it is. Besides from my Latin-Spanish inspired cooking I am also often drawn to Street Food style cuisine and this recipe caught my attention while I was watching Street Food Asia documentary on Netflix, so I had to try it.
Having the complexity of flavours in Japanese cuisine and my limited knowledge of the culture, I advise that this recipe is far from the traditional version, but being this a very interesting Street Food dish, I decided to dive into it and play with it a bit, there are many versions of it depending on regional tastes and transculturation, so this is my version.
Since my first attempt, I was hooked I’ve made Okonomiyaki half a dozen times more trying different veggie ratios, flours, and seasonings as well as toppings, all of them have been well received and praised at home.
Fun and quick to make as well as full of flavour I love the concept of the dish.
A super versatile dish even my fussy kids are happy to eat, Okonomiyaki is a great way to pack more veggies and fiber into your diet, there are many ways to tweak the recipe to amp up the nutritional value of this dish, so I think is well worth it to have it in your recipe stash.
Tips to make Okonomiyaki
<This is a version of Okonomiyaki, I am not trying by any means to sound as a guru of Japanese street food, I am giving advice based on my experience while making a home made version of Okonomiyaki with ingredients that were on hand.>
From my research traditional ingredients for Okonomiyaki include, eggs, cabbage, carrot, spring onions which you probably have already or are able to find and other not so common ingredients like Okonomiyaki flour, tempura scraps (tenkasu), Okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese Mayonnaise, Bonito flakes, I tried my best to find these ingredients in Asian stores and had to make some substitutions in order to make the recipe, such as the use of common flour or rice flour which I like best, making Okonomiyaki sauce from scratch (which is like a bbq sauce), and adding other savoury toppings such as toasted nori flakes (instead of bonito flakes which is not always available), and omitting the use of the Tenkasu (although I think it can be substituted by other crispy elements if you want to try it), apart from that you can also choose to add any other veggies like corn, grated sweet potato or potatoes, and I’ve even tried adding pieces of tofu to the batter which gives a great texture as well, there are version of Okonomiyaki that include sliced pork belly, so in one of my versions I topped it with thick smoked bacon and it was delicious.
Even though I adapted the recipe the result was pretty good compared to the ones I’ve tried in “I dream of Sushi” which is a boutique Japanese restaurant near the Moonee Ponds Train Station here in Melbourne known for selling authentic Japanese food, and honestly everything I’ve tried here it’s amazing, they don’t have them all the time but occasionally you can find they are making Okonomiyaki as a special. In saying that I won’t stress too much in trying to find all the ingredients but if you happen to find them great, I am going to post the recipe that worked for me.
Okonomiyaki is not the same without the toppings but here you can get creative as well, the most important topping for me is the Okonomiyaki sauce which gives that smoky flavour and moisture to the pancake and the Japanese mayo, apart from that something that gives you the umami flavour like the toasted nori flakes, I like adding toasted sesame seeds, and more spring onions, but you can try other different toppings.
Okonomiyaki / Japanese savoury PancakesCourse: EntreeCuisine: Japanese, Street FoodDifficulty: Easy
- Japanese savoury pancakes (Okonomiyaki)
1 tbsp of finely grated ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 c of rice flour / sub for wheat flour if you don’t have any
2 tbsp soy sauce (you can add salt to taste instead)
1 tsp of baking powder
2 large spring onions sliced (can use chives)
1 large carrot grated
Half a head of shredded cabbage
150 g of thick cut smoked bacon or pork belly slices (optional)
- Okonomiyaki sauce
4 tbsp of tomato sauce (ketchup)
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1tbsp of soy sauce (can oyster sauce)
- Garnishes (toppings)
Toasted sesame seeds
Toasted nori sheets cut in stripes
Bonito flakes (optional)
Sliced spring onions
Japanese mayo (can sub for normal real mayo not the sweet one)
- Okonomiyaki Sauce
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until sugar dissolves, cook in microwave for 30 sec and mix again you will have a smooth bbq flavour sauce, adjust to taste.
- Japanese savoury pancakes (Okonomiyaki)
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, flour, baking powder, soy sauce or salt, grated ginger, sesame oil to make a batter, adjust seasonings to taste.
- In another bowl combine veggies, and add batter and fold until fully incorporated to have a thick batter.
- In a skillet or heavy bottom pan, heat a tsp of vegetable oil until is smoking (it needs to be very hot to form a crust) and add a 1/4 to half a cup of batter forming a disc of about 1 to 2 cm thickness.
- If adding any meat topping lay on top slices of pork belly or bacon at this point.
- After crust has formed 2-3 min lower temperature and let cook undisturbed another couple of minutes and then turn and finish cooking about 5 min until golden brown and crispy on the edges.
- Serve immediately with Japanese mayo, oknomiyaki sauce and toppings of your preference as shown in garnishes.
- Adjust lemon and vinegar quantities if not roasting tomatoes.
- If you prefer a slightly thicker sauce add a couple of tbsp of toasted breadcrumbs, alternatively you can add nuts like almonds or walnuts.