This savory cabbage pancake is an easy to make Japanese street food staple!
Have you ever had Okonomiyaki? It’s Japanese street food, an absolutely delicious savory cabbage pancake with various toppings.
It can be made with lots of different ingredients: pork, beef or seafood (I’ve used surimi here), which is reflected in the name: okonomi means ‘whatever you want’ and yaki means ‘grilled’. There are two Japanese cities known for their okonomiyaki: Osaka and Hiroshima. This is an Osaka-style okonomiyaki, where the ingredients are all mixed together and fried. It’s thicker than a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, where the various ingredients are layered top of each other.
I recently saw someone make it on a German cooking show and it sent me down a total rabbit hole of research, from which I emerged with a very specific shopping list and a burning desire to make my own.
My local Asian supermarket had most of the ingredients and I ordered what was still missing via 1mal1japan.de, a website with an online store specializing in Japanese ingredients, where I also found the recipe.
I realize that Kirsty and I are the crazy food ladies who have absolutely no compunction about, nay, practically revel in, having a pantry full of niche ingredients. Take beni shoga for example, a red pickled ginger that is essential as one of the toppings for okonomiyaki. Or bonito flakes, not something I usually use every day. But this is a recipe where it’s really worth having those ingredients on hand; whipping this up is so easy and it’s a healthy and delicious meal that will take the guesswork out of a lot of those tedious “what’s for lunch (or dinner)?" questions.
And that, my friends, is a win in our book!
Makes one large okonomiyaki or two small ones
100 g all purpose flour
100 ml dashi stock, made according to the package instructions
1/2 tsp salt
300 g chopped nappa cabbage
100 g surimi, cut into rounds
4 tablespoons neutral oil such as rapeseed oil
8 tablespoons Okonomiyaki Sauce
Kewpie mayonnaise, about 3-4 tablespoons
1 tablespoon aonori seaweed flakes
1/2 cup Katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
2 tablespoons beni shoga (red pickled ginger)
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the dashi stock and whisk. Then add the egg and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Fold the chopped cabbage and surimi rounds into the batter so that the batter coats everything. If you’re making two smaller pancakes, split the batter up into two batches.
Heat the oil in a large pan (or a small one of making two pancakes) on medium high heat.
Add the batter. Use a spatula to spread the batter around and press it down. Cover with a lid and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the okonomiyaki has firmed up and the bottom has browned nicely.
Use two spatulas to flip the okonomiyaki around.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the other side is golden brown too.
Remove from the pan and place onto a plate.
Spread the okonomiyaki sauce on the top of the okonomiyaki.
Use a back and forth motion to squeeze the Kewpie mayonnaise straight from the bottle all over the okonomiyaki.
Garnish with aonori flakes, Katsuobushi, beni shoga and chopped spring onions.