Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Whenever my sons visited Japan when they were children, this was the first thing they wanted to eat on arrival - Okonomiyaki. Of course, when Japan's own breed of savoury pancake was put in front of them, it had to be liberally doused with mayo and Bulldog sauce. Then there was quiet for about 10 minutes while the okonomiyaki was committed to the bottomless pit of their stomachs. One of the many good things about okonomiyaki is that they are very filling - I can't recall either of my sons demanding a second helping. Some of the other good things about okonomiyaki are: they're easy to make in a few minutes, the basic flour and egg batter is simplicity itself and you can put as many vegetables as you like into the mix and play around with other fillings as well - after all, the dish isn't called okonomiyaki (meaning, fried as you like it) for nothing!
I make lots of different okonomiyaki, some just with veg, some with meat as well as some "fusion-yaki" like one with a cheddar cheese filling - very nice it is too. Once you've mixed your batter and contents and created your little bit of okonomiyaki perfection, you'll want to season it with some sauces (I've never ever met anyone who doesn't dress their okonomiyaki in something before they eat it.) The standard choices are Bulldog brown sauce or okonomiyaki sauce (which is like brown sauce but a little fruitier), mayo and some people like ketchup. I've met a few people who like to mix it up with some mustard as well. Finally, there is the katsuobushi question - to use or not to use. What is katsuobushi? It's dried and flaked bonito/tuna fish. You might have come across it in my recipes for Japanese dashi stock. The attraction of using a few katsuobushi flakes to top of your okonomiyaki is not only that they taste good (a sort of fishy/umami flavour that greatly enhances the pancake) but also that when you sprinkle the flakes onto the fresh out of the pan pancake, the flakes dance around in the heat rising off the dish - it's really quite pretty and just screams - "I'm fresh out of the pan - eat me!"
If you'd like to try this this particular recipe, you'll find the written recipe and "how to" just below. For the Youtube video tutorial click here - Okonomiyaki or just scroll to the bottom of the page.
Happy frying! Kurumi XXXX.
(PS: you can also season okonomiyaki with powdered "aonori" seaweed flakes. I think however they don't suit the smoky. bacon flavours, so I didn't use any this time)
Okonomiyaki with bacon
(makes 2 okonomiyaki)
150g / 5.3 oz sweet pointed cabbage (or any soft cabbage variety)
2 spring onions
50g / 1.7 ozcarrot
4 bacon rashers
1/2 cm piece ginger
130g / 4.5 oz self raising or plain flour
1 tsp Japanese dashi stock granules
150ml / 5 fl oz water
1 -2 tbsp vegetable oil
for the topping:
okonomiyaki or brown sauce and/or mayo
chop the cabbage into small chunks, finely, slice the spring onion, finely shred the carrot & the ginger
put all the vegetables in a bowl and set aside
in another bowl, thoroughly mix the self raising flour, Japanese dashi stock granules, water & egg
add the flour/dashi batter to the vegetable mixture and mix everything together well
heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan
add 1/2 the okonomiyaki mixture and spread out to form a pancake. top with 2 rashers of bacon. cook over a medium heat with the lid on for 4-5 minutes
turn over and cook with the lid on for further 4 minutes. your okonomiyaki is now ready
repeat for your second okonomiyaki
your okonomiyaki is now ready. place each pancake onto a plate and squeeze/spread over the brown sauce and/or mayonnaise
as an option top with some bonito flakes