Okomiyaki – Japanese Add-All-You-Like Pancake – Goodbye May, and Hello June!

Cooking Diary – Log 15 – 01.06.2014

Hi there,

I am just utterly obsessed with Japanese Cuisine these days. It all started 2 weeks ago when I posted my Omurice – Japanese Rice Omelet recipe, and I came to watch the Cooking with Dog Channel, this addict has once again risen up and taken my heart by force.  I watched their channel for hours, drooled over all those mouthwatering dishes (my keyboard, pour you!). So, as innocent as myself is, I decide to spoil (oops, sorry), share with my reader my passion. Today, I present to you, another Japanese favorite dish of mine, Okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake dish. What is so special about it then? As the name speak for itself, the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. So basically, it is a free pass (I prefer this rather than the word “excuse”, but yeah, they are the same) to add anything you love into a dish, in a super simple yet so delicious way.

Excited yet? Me too.

Recipe (serves 2)

(Adapted from Cooking with Dog, my trusted source for Japanese dishes)

Batter

  • 100g all-purpose flour
    140ml Dashi soup (I don’t have this so I used chicken broth instead, worked just fine)
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
    1 tbsp. grated Yamaimo (Japanese Mountain Yam) (I was short of this also, and simply omit this. But the yam makes your batter more gooey and it also have distinct taste. So, if you have a hand on this, please definitely use it)
  • Pinch of salt, pepper
  • 2 eggs

Filling

  • 250g cabbage (about a quarter)
  • 50g Welsh Onion, or simply onion
  • 75g fresh squid
  • 75g fresh shrimps
  • 100g mince meat
  • 20g Beni Syoga (Japanese Pickled Ginger)
  • 100g sliced pork (I use bacon strips)

Topping

  • Okonomiyaki Sauce (Store bought or homemade with recipe below)
  • Green Onion
  • Mayonnaise
  • Nori (Japanese dried seaweed sheet, flaked)
  • Extra pickled ginger
  • Dried Bonito flakes (Optional)

Homemade Okonomiyaki Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 tbsp. Oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. tapioca starch, mixed with 2 tbsp. of water

Demonstration

Make the sauce

Step 1: Add in all ingredients except the tapioca-water mixture.

Step 2: Bring it on medium heat; mix well until it comes to a boil.

Step 3: While still stirring, add the tapioca mixture gradually into the sauce, it will thicken quite a bit.

Step 4: Let cook until served.

Make the pancake

Step 1: Finely slice cabbage.

Step 2: Remove the shrimp shell, devein them, and cut into 1cm cube.

Step 3: Remove the skin of the squid (if you don’t like the color), cut into strips of 0.5cm.

Step 4: Add all the ingredients in the batter into a large bowl.

Stir well till combined. As you can see, this is a thin batter.

Step 5: Add the following protein ingredients: shrimp, squid, and minced meat, plus the onion. Leave out the bacon strips.

Step 6: Add cabbage and combine well.

At first the batter seem unmanageable with enormous amount of cabbage. But just be careful and patient, it will turn out just fine. The batter will be just enough to coat the filling.

Step 7: Heat a little oil in a frying pan.

Spoon the mixture into the pan, to make a circle about 22cm across and 1.5-2cm thick.  Make sure there’s enough flour batter to hold it together.  Neaten the edges by using a spatula to push in the edges and any cabbage or batter that’s sticking out.

Place bacon slices on top.

Cook over medium heat about 5 min.

Step 8: Flip, and then cook another 3-5 min.

Step 9: When cooked through, cover the pan with a clean plate.

Invert it. That is how I turn the pancake onto a plate, meat side up, beautifully.

Step 10: Spread sauce generously on top.

Decorate with seaweed flakes…

… Mayonnaise, katsuobushi (Dried bonito flakes) and finally some pickled ginger.

And enjoy it while it still hot. ????

There are MANY variations of Okonomiyaki, to name a few (reference here):

  • Kaki Okonomiyaki (Oysters mixed into the batter, no meat on top)
  • Ebi Okonomiyaki (Prawns mixed into the batter, with or without pork on top)
  • Mochi Cheese Okonomiyaki (Put down a thin layer of cabbage mixture in the frypan, place thinly sliced mochi and a little grated cheese in the middle, and put some more cabbage mixture on top.  When it is done, it will have a mochi-mochi gooey centre.)
  • Hiroshima-yaki This one has a layer of yakisoba noodles and an egg on top
  • Modan-yaki Similar to Hiroshima-Yaki, but with the cabbage and batter mixed.

It is all-you-want magic pancake, folks. Experiment, and have fun!

Until next time,

Rose.