What is okonomiyaki? It is savory Japanese pancake, is the best description I can come up with. This is one of my comfort food while growing up in Japan. When you go to any okonomiyaki restaurants, you sit in front of a huge flat frying pan, you’re given a bowl with okonomiyaki batter packed with cabbage, seafood, ginger, meats, etc, and you pour this thick batter onto a hot pan and see the beauty being created right in front of your eyes. After it’s cooked, you dress it up with okonomiyaki sauce, shaved dried bonito, powdered dried laver, and mayonnaise.
I actually don’t have the exact measurements for the ingredients, but here is the approximation:
Serves about 4:
200 grams soft wheat flour
280 ml dashi soup
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons grated yama imo
dash of salt
Mix the above ingredients, it’s okay to have lumps. To this mixture you add in:
About 400 grams of finely shredded cabbage and finely sliced onions
Mixture of seafoods – chopped octopus, squid and shrimp
dried baby shrimps
Tenkasu ( crumbs from tempura)
Beni Shoga (finely sliced red pickled ginger)
Mix the flour mixture and the cabbage mixture until just mixed. Heat the frying pan and scoop about 3/4 cup of batter and spread evenly on the pan. Turn the heat to medium, partially put the lid on and cook for about 5 minutes, then flip the okonomiyaki and cook the other side for about 3 minutes.
For the toppings: add shaved dried bonito flakes first, then “aonori” – which is powdered laver, green onions, mayo and the sauce.
** Many of these Japanese ingredients can be bought online. If you live in the Philly area, you can buy some of these ingredients at H-mart, but your best bet is small Japanese market in Narberth, PA called Maido. Since we’re technically still on this vegetarian diet, we have omitted adding meat to this recipe. Usually, you put sliced pork or bacon on okonomiyaki, and yes, it’s very tasty this way, but without the meat was still very very yummy!