Okonomiyaki – Japanese Savory Pancake, Osaka Style

Okonomiyaki - Japanese Savory Pancake, Osaka StyleOk I’m finally doing an Okonomiyaki post.  Ever since I started my blog, a year and a half ago, I’ve been asked over and over about posting an Okonomiyaki recipe and I promised I would, someday.  I make it often and when I do I always post photos on Twitter or Facebook and get so many requests for the recipe.  Well I decided to make Okonomiyaki my first post of 2012.  It is definitely my favorite dish ever and I know it will become one of yours too.  There are many shortcuts to making Okonomiyaki but I don’t recommend any of them.  I see so many recipes out there using a mix, or Okonomiyaki flour as they like to call it, and other recipes that just have flour and water in the batter.  Not good.  Okonomiyaki must have Dashi, preferably homemade, and grated Nagaimo, a starchy root vegetable, to be authentic to me.  Believe me you can taste the difference.  It’s not even worth eating one that’s not made the right way.

I learned how to make Okonomiyaki from a sweet Japanese lady (Saito-san or Mama as we always called her) who had a little Okonomiyaki shop near Yokohama.  Hubby and I used to go there at least once a week when we first started dating and continued going there for years after we were married.  Unfortunately Mama closed her shop many years ago after it became too difficult for her to run the shop alone.  She was getting older and had no family to take over the restaurant for her after she retired.  It was very sad news for us but I am so grateful I was able to spend a day with her to learn how to make Osaka-style Okonomiyaki before she closed her shop.  She was trained by an Okonomiyaki Master in Osaka when she was younger then moved near Yokohama to open her shop.  To this day her Okonomiyaki is still one of the best I have ever tasted and the only way I make it at home.

There are so many variations of toppings and mix-ins for Okonomiyaki but this is my favorite and a very popular combination.  I like to top mine with paper thin slices of pork belly with scallops and shrimp in the batter.  Feel free to experiment with different toppings of your choice.  It takes a little time to make Okonomiyaki from scratch but once you try this recipe you will never want to make it any other way.

Makes enough for four or five medium sized Okonomiyaki 

Okonomiyaki---Ingredients
Batter Ingredients:

1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Dashi (preferably homemade, see my recipe below)
1/2 cup grated Nagaimo (A Japanese starchy yam)

Ingredients to add into the batter after it has rested:

4 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 scallions, chopped
3 cups of cabbage, chopped
2 pounds thinly sliced pork belly (about 4-5 slices for each Okonomiyaki)
6 sea scallops (chopped in 1/2 inch pieces)
6 large shrimp (chopped in 1/2 inch pieces)
1/4 cup Tenkasu (tempura crumbs, available at Asian Grocery stores)
Vegetable or Canola Oil for frying

For Serving:

Okonomiyaki Sauce (I like Otafuku Brand)
Kewpie Mayonnaise
Aonori (Dried Seaweed Powder)
Katsuobushi (dried shaved Bonito flakes)
Beni Shoga (Japanese red pickled Ginger)

Tools you’ll need:

Hot plate or large nonstick frying with a lid
2 small spatulas for flipping the Okonomiyaki

Preparation:

Add the baking powder to the flour and mix lightly.  Add the Dashi and mix well.  Add the Nagaimo into the batter and stir until all the ingredients are well combined (It will be sticky).  Put the batter in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.  After taking the batter out of the refrigerator add in the scallops, shrimp, cabbage, scallions, tenkasu and eggs and lightly mix until all ingredients are incorporated into the batter.

Okonomiyaki prep

On a preheated hot plate or frying fan, lightly greased with oil and over medium high heat, ladle the batter to form a pancake.  Lay five slices of pork belly on top.  Cover for about 5-7 minutes.

Okonomiyaki---cooking

Uncover and, with a spatula in each hand, carefully flip the Okonomiyaki over to the other side.  Continue to cook on the pork belly side until pork is fully cooked and crispy, about 5-7 minutes.

Okonomiyaki cooking

Flip over one more time so the pork belly side ends up on top.  Turn heat off and let sit for 2-3 minutes.  The inside should be soft and creamy but completely cooked through.

To serve brush each Okonomiyaki with the Sauce, drizzle a little mayonnaise then sprinkle with the Aonori and Katsuobushi.  I like to serve the Beni Shoga on top or on the side.

Quick Dashi Recipe:

6 Cups Water
1 5-6 inch piece of Kombu (dried kelp)
1 large handful (about 2 cups) Katsuobushi (Dried Shaved Bonito Flakes)

1.  Combine the Kombu and water in a pot over medium-low heat.  The water should be approaching a boil after about 20 minutes (adjust the heat if the water looks like it’s coming to a boil too soon or too slowly).  Once the water comes to a boil, immediately turn off heat and remove the Kombu.

2.  Add the dried bonito flakes all at once.  Wait until they absorb the water and sink to the bottom of the pot, about 20-30 minutes.

3. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve (You can also line a regular strainer with two layers of cheesecloth or paper towels).  Let strain for a couple of minutes, do not squeeze the excess liquid from the bonito flakes, this will make the Dashi cloudy and bitter.

NoteDashi is best used the same day but it may be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days and can be frozen for up to two months.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Okonomiyaki - Japanese Savory Pancake, Osaka Style
Serves: 4-5
 
Ingredients
  • Batter Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup Dashi (preferably homemade, see my recipe below)
  • ½ cup grated Nagaimo (A Japanese starchy yam)
  • Ingredients to add into the batter after it has rested:
  • 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 pounds thinly sliced pork belly (about 4-5 slices for each Okonomiyaki)
  • 6 sea scallops (chopped in ½ inch pieces)
  • 6 large shrimp (chopped in ½ inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup Tenkasu (tempura crumbs, available at Asian Grocery stores)
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil for frying
  • For Serving:
  • Okonomiyaki Sauce (I like Otafuku Brand)
  • Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • Aonori (Dried Seaweed Powder)
  • Katsuobushi (dried shaved Bonito flakes)
  • Beni Shoga (Japanese red pickled Ginger)
  • Tools you'll need:
  • Hot plate or large nonstick frying with a lid
  • 2 small spatulas for flipping the Okonomiyaki
Instructions
  1. Add the baking powder to the flour and mix lightly. Add the Dashi and mix well. Add the Nagaimo into the batter and stir until all the ingredients are well combined (It will be sticky). Put the batter in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes. After taking the batter out of the refrigerator add in the scallops, shrimp, cabbage, scallions, tenkasu and eggs and lightly mix until all ingredients are incorporated into the batter.
  2. On a preheated hot plate or frying fan, lightly greased with oil and over medium high heat, ladle the batter to form a pancake. Lay five slices of pork belly on top. Cover for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Uncover and, with a spatula in each hand, carefully flip the Okonomiyaki over to the other side. Continue to cook on the pork belly side until pork is fully cooked and crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Flip over one more time so the pork belly side ends up on top. Turn heat off and let sit for 2-3 minutes. The inside should be soft and creamy but completely
  5. cooked through.
  6. To serve brush each Okonomiyaki with the Sauce, drizzle a little mayonnaise then sprinkle with the Aonori and Katsuobushi. I like to serve the Beni Shoga on top or on the side.
Notes
Quick Dashi Recipe: 6 Cups Water 1 5-6 inch piece of Kombu (dried kelp) 1 large handful (about 2 cups) Katsuobushi (Dried Shaved Bonito Flakes) 1. Combine the Kombu and water in a pot over medium-low heat. The water should be approaching a boil after about 20 minutes (adjust the heat if the water looks like it’s coming to a boil too soon or too slowly). Once the water comes to a boil, immediately turn off heat and remove the Kombu. 2. Add the dried bonito flakes all at once. Wait until they absorb the water and sink to the bottom of the pot, about 20-30 minutes. 3. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve (You can also line a regular strainer with two layers of cheesecloth or paper towels). Let strain for a couple of minutes, do not squeeze the excess liquid from the bonito flakes, this will make the Dashi cloudy and bitter.

Comments

  1. I am so excited to actually leave a recipe. We ate so much Okonomiyaki at a neighborhood diner in Kyoto..loved how they just came to the table and used the grill in the center..it looked so easy. Ours didn’t have bacon in it but perhaps that is the Osaka style vs the Kyota style? Beautiful pictures and nice post, Shirley!!

    • Thank you for your comment Marilyn! Toppings vary and you usually pick the toppings and mix-ins when you order at an Okonomiyaki restaurant in Japan. This is fresh pork belly so a little different than regular bacon which I think would be a little strong tasting for Okonomiyaki.

  2. This looks so beautiful! I don’t eat meat anymore but whenever we had these it was always topped off with lots of cabbage and leeks! Yummy – and your pictures are absolutely beautiful in showcasing the okonomiyaki! ^^

    • Thank you for the nice comment! Mushrooms are also a great topping for Okonomiyaki if you want to make it meatless. I make a mushroom and cheese one that is really good :)

  3. I was very lucky to taste the Okonomiyaki that you made for this post. I enjoyed it so much. It was the best Okonomiyaki that I have ever eaten. There are notable differences in taste and texture between your homemade version and the Okonomiyaki I have made using the store bought Okonomiyaki flour. No more mixed flour will be used. I’m looking forward to try this recipe. Thank you.

  4. Thank you sweet BFF for the nice comment. I love sharing my food with you and Ty and always love getting feedback from both of you. We’ll have to make Okonomiyaki together again soon!

  5. Lovely! My favorite make-at-home street food, and yours looks absolutely delicious. Of course we make ours a bit different, but I think that’s the beauty of it. Feel free to mail me any leftovers (^_^)

    • Shirley says:

      Thank you for the nice comment. It’s so hard to find places in the US that make it the *right* way so I’m glad I’m able to find the ingredients here in Seattle.

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  8. Pamela Okano says:

    This is the best okonomiyaki I’ve ever had by far and I think I had it 3 time in Japan! And pretty easy to make too!

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  10. Yum! This sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing I had never heard of okonomiyaki before today so I am so glad I found your recipe, it’s definitely getting made in the near future! (I just posted a recipe about kimchi pancakes that a friend said reminded her of it so I had to check it out!) As soon as I can get some great veggies from the farmer’s market…

    • Thank you for the comment Greta! Okonomiyaki is really gaining popularity all over the world especially in the US. I recently taught a couple of Okonomiyaki cooking classes in Seattle and they were a big hit :) I love kimchi and my mom makes the Korean pancakes with her homemade kimchi too!

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  1. [...] the savory category, Shirley from the blog Lovely Lanvin shared her recipe for okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake); Gennefer Gross indulged in latkes and smoked salmon with a poached egg and [...]

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