Okonomiyaki is a very unique Japanese street food. It literally translates to “Whatever you like (Okonomi), Grilled (Yaki)” People created the dish as a means to eat cheap. Its primary ingredients are very accessible—cabbage and flour. The addition of more complex toppings such as the sauces came in later which further popularized the dish and make it the dish we know today.
Okonomiyaki isn’t as popular in the Philippines, but restaurants such as Dohtonbori and Botejyu have been making strides to make the dish more accessible. Takoyaki is the more popular variation of the dish. So you can think of okonomiyaki as a flat and saucier takoyaki. Some also consider it a savory Japanese pancake or pizza.
It may look complicated, but don’t let the facade fool you. It’s actually a very easy recipe to make! Once you learn how to make it once, you’ll find yourself coming back for more because it really is very simple to whip up. In fact, in days where I can’t think of anything to make, okonomiyaki often comes to mind because it’s so accessible and flexible.
This is a very basic recipe for okonomiyaki. The point of okonomiyaki is to add whatever you like to the dish. Personally, I enjoy adding cheese above the bacon strips and allow it to melt on the pancake. I’ve also tried switching up the bacon and use bits of chicken karaage instead—and it all works very well. I’ve read that even potato chips can be a decent addition to add a bit of a crunch to your pancake. But my absolute favorite way of eating the dish is with a mix of yakisoba squeezed between the pancake.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup dashi stock at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 8 oz cabbage coarsely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 oz bacon
- Okonomiyaki sauce as you like
- Japanese mayonnaise as you like
- Aonori as you like
- Shredded katsuobushi as you like
- Beni shoga (optional)
For the batter
- Combine the flour, dashi, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until well-mixed.
- Add the chopped cabbage to the batter and mix well until the cabbage is well-coated
- Add the eggs to the mixture and lightly mix until the eggs and cabbage are combined
Cooking the pancake
- Preheat a non-stick pan on low to medium heat. Add the oil to lightly coat the pan.
- Pour some of the okonomiyaki mixture into the pan and make a 6-inch diameter pancake. Avoid pushing down on the pancake, it's supposed to be light and fluffy.
- While the bottom cooks, without overlapping, lay down a few slices of bacon on top of the okonomiyaki.
- Cook until the bottom of the pancake is lightly browned (about 3-5 minutes). Using a spatula, carefully flip the pancake such that the bacon-side is on the bottom.
- Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the pancake is lightly browned and the bacon is cooked through. If the okonomiyaki scatters during the flip, use a spatula to tuck the stray pieces back into the pancake.
- Transfer the okonomiyaki to a plate and prepare the toppings.
- Spread the okonomiyaki sauce on the pancake. Squeeze the mayonnaise on the pancake in long streaks. Sprinkle the aonori and katsuobushi and top with a few pieces of beni shoga
- Cut the pancake as you like and serve immediately