Hello, Internet. Here’s the next thing we’re going to make — Okonomiyaki!
Okonomiyaki is “a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “grill” […] Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region.” And that says Wikipedia.
Check out this beautiful picture.
The first time I had okonomiyaki was in a Taiwanese night market. It was just starting to trend in Taiwan back then, and I was hooked right away. It’s got all the things I like to have in my mouth — savoury, creamy, saucy, Taiwanese cabbage…
When I got back to Vancouver, I tried a plethora of different recipes to make an okonomiyaki that I’d be happy with. Countless heads of cabbages and tubs of Japanese mayonnaise later… Here I am blogging about it!
Okonomiyaki is essentially shredded cabbage covered in a flavourful batter, then garnished with a variety of toppings of your choosing, like corn, shrimps, seaweed, fish, meats …
Most importantly though, it’s always finished off with a very generous dousing of okonomi sauce and Japanese mayonnaise.
I love this recipe because you can have so much fun with it! You can use a variety of veggies inside, so you don’t feel so guilty about gulping that mayonnaise down. Shredded carrots and onions are my go-to choices. I also like to sneak in all sorts of ground nuts and seeds to up the health points. Ground flax, ground pumpkin, and ground almond are the usual suspects. You can also get creative with the okonomi sauce and mayo, and make some fun designs! Add an egg, add avocado, add meats and seafood, add anything you want!
If you have some picky eaters at home, this is definitely a dish you can make and then, after they eat every last piece, point at them and say “HA! You don’t even know how healthy that was and how hard I tricked you!”
- 4 cups Taiwanese cabbage, shredded (about half a head of cabbage) (Note 1)
- 1 cup carrot, shredded (about 1 medium sized carrot)
- 1/2 cup onion, shredded (about half an onion)
- 1/3 cup corn kernels (frozen or canned)
- 1/3 cup cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup ground nuts and seeds of choice (Note 2)
- 1 egg
- 1 - 1 1/2 milk or liquid of choice (Note 3)
- 1 tsp Hondashi (Note 4)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Green onion, chopped
- Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie Mayonnaise)
- Okonomi sauce (Note 5)
- 1. Prepare all the ingredients for the pancake. Mix it all together in a large bowl.
- 2. Mix all the ingredients for the batter together until well blended and no chunky bits remain.
- 3. Pour the batter mixture over the pancake ingredients and mix until well combined (all the vegetables should have some batter on it)
- 4. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large flat frying pan over medium heat (~10 inches diameter)
- 5. Pour the ingredients into the pan. Spread and flatten the ingredients into a pancake form.
- 6. While the pancake is cooking, press down with a spatula to tamp the ingredients down as they cook.
- 7. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until a golden crust forms on the bottom (check by lifting a small corner with your spatula)
- 8. Flip the pancake (Note 6).
- 9. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until golden on the bottom.
- 10. Remove from pan. Garnish with okonomi sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and green onion. You can also add any ingredients you like, such as cooked seafood, meats, or bonito flakes.
- Note 1: If you can't find Taiwanese cabbage, regular cabbage would work fine. Taiwanese cabbage is a bit sweeter and crisper.
- Note 2: You can use anything you like here. Some of my favourites are ground flax, ground pumpkin seeds, ground oats, and ground almond. You can use a mixture of different nuts and seeds to make a total of 1/2 cup.
- Note 3: You can use milk or any nut milks you like. Water is okay, but milk definitely makes it tastier. Add enough liquids to make a pancake/ white glue consistency.
- Note 4: Hondashi is a Japanese seasoning made of Bonito fish. It adds a savoury flavour, but can be omitted or replaced with bouillon powder.
- Note 5: You can usually find Japanese mayonnaise and okonomi sauce in Asian markets.
- Note 6: An easy way to successfully flip the pancake without breaking it is to cover the entire pancake with a large plate, flip the pancake out onto the plate (careful -- hot pan!), and then slide the uncooked side onto the pan again.
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