Okonomiyaki – A cheap, easy, tasty family meal

I love okonomiyaki, or Japanese pancakes as they’re also known. It’s a dish I’ve always ordered when out at a Japanese restaurant. It’s just so delicious – and looks so good, with its sauces drizzled on top and the bonito flakes dancing on top. But it was a meal I always saved for dining out.

That is, until I realised how easy – and cheap – it was to make at home. While my recipe may not be as authentic as the version I’d find in a Japanese restaurant (I don’t tend to keep bonito flakes in my pantry or dashi stock on hand), it does taste great. And it’s a fantastic way to get a cheap and cheerful meal on the table quickly – and use up that last wedge of cabbage hanging around in the fridge!

Okonomiyaki is such an adaptable dish. It literally means “what you like – grilled”, so feel free to throw in whatever veggies or meat ingredients you think will please your tribe. This makes 4 large (side plate sized) pancakes, but feel free to make smaller ones if you’re feeding kids).

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Okonomiyaki

1 cup flour (plain wheat, spelt, kamut or gluten free)

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup stock (or water)

3 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)

4 eggs

3-4 cups shredded cabbage

1-2 grated carrots

4 slices ham or bacon, diced (or sub with 1 cup leftover pulled pork, or cooked mince or diced prawns, or even cheese)

2 tsp dulse flakes (optional)

Olive oil (for frying)

Mayonnaise & barbecue sauce, to serve (see Notes)

Sliced spring onions, to serve

  1. Mix batter ingredients (flour, baking powder, stock, tamari, eggs) together, then add vegetables and meat or cheese.
  2. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add a small amount of olive oil.
  3. Add ¼ of the mixture into the pan and form into a large circular shape. Cook, turning carefully once, until golden brown and cooked through (approx 5 minutes each side).
  4. Keep warm and repeat with remaining mixture.
  5. Serve drizzled with barbecue sauce and mayonnaise, topped with sliced spring onions.
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Notes:

  • You can buy okonomiyaki sauce from Asian grocers, and Japanese style (Kewpie) mayonnaise is widely available in regular supermarkets. I choose to use regular organic mayonnaise (I put some into a zip-lock bag and snip the corner off to squeeze over the finished pancake), and an organic Japanese style barbecue sauce (Carwari brand) that I buy online through Honest to Goodness.
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Enjoy!

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