Okonomiyaki, Japanese savoury cabbage pancake – quick, easy and healthy –

Okonomiyaki is one of the typical, casual dishes Japanese people eat at home. Each family, each region has their own recipe and they are proud of it, but today I share the standard okonomiyaki recipe with ingredients which are all easily available in most of the international cities. You can explore the other variation after you try this and make your own favourite okonomiyaki. Enjoy the flavour of Japan. For Sydney-siders I am sharing more detail information for some Japanese ingredients at the end of this article.

What is Okonomiyaki?

When I escort my clients in Japan, some of them believe that Japanese have sushi and tempura everyday. Unfortunately we don’t. For the most of Japanese, sushi and tempura are more likely for the special occasion, as a treat. On the other hand, okonomiyaki is the meal we have at home – dinner or weekend lunches and shared among family members.

Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake. Because the main ingredient is cabbage, it’s called ‘cabbage pancake’ sometimes. Other than cabbage, we add vegetables such as shallots/spring onion, and proteins such as pork belly, bacon, ham or prawn etc. Each family has different recipe and they are proud of their style.

Hiroshima and Osaka are famous for their distinctive style and even Japanese people make an effort to visit restaurant to try their tastes. But today I share the standard okonomiyaki recipe and method with ingredients which are all easily available in most of the international cities and allows you to arrange depending on your dietary preference. Once you understand the basic, you can explore your own recipe. Let’s get started!

Ingredients | serving for 2-4 people

● Flour (either plain or self-raising) : 100g
● Bonito soup stock powder* : 3 teaspoons
● Water: 120ml
● Egg : 1

★ Cabbage ‒ finely chopped : 200g
★ Shallots ‒ finely chopped : 1/2 cup
★ Bacon ‒ finely chopped : 1/4 cup (or ham or seafood such as prawn)

▲ Otafuku Okonomi Sauce*
▲ Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise*
▲ Katsuobushi (Bonito flakes)*
▲ Shallots ‒ finely chopped (optional topping)

The items with * are available at the Asian or Japanese grocery. For more information about the ingredients and shops, please read the end of this article.

Cooking Methods

1 Make a mix

Use a large bowl. Put the ingredients of ʻ●ʼ except for the egg into the bowl and mix very well. Then add
a beaten egg and again mix very well.

2 Cut the ingredients

Prepare the vegetable and protein (★). Chop cabbage, shallots and protein such as bacon (or ham
or seafood such as prawn) into 1cm wide. Instead of protein, my favourite is Kimch – you can explore all sort of ingredients.

3 Mix

Put the chopped vegetable and protein into the large bowl (●+★) and mix with a spoon to aerate.

4 Cook

Put a tablespoon of olive oil on the pan. Warm to medium heat.

Take a half portion of the mixed ingredients from the bowl and place on the pan. Make a circular shape ‒ 2cm high, and 10-15cm wide. (Too thin or too big makes it difficult to turn over).

Cook for 5 mins (the cooked surface will be lightly brown). Then turn it over. Add a tablespoon of water
to the pan, and cook another 5 mins with a lid (this process is like steaming). Remove the lid and turn it
over, cook another 2 mins without lid (to let the moisture evaporate and to make the surface crisp).

5 Serve

Serve on the plate. You can put the toppings as seasoning ( ▲ ). Spread a tablespoon of Otafuku
Okonomi Sauce and Mayonnaise. Then sprinkle a pinch of bonito flakes and shallots.

Special Japanese ingredients

Through the recipe and method, some ingredients could be unfamiliar with you.

The items with * except for Katsuobushi (Bonito flakes) are available at Wollworth at Town Hall. Katsuobushi (Bonito flakes), which is for a topping, will be available at Asian or Japanese grocery. If you are living in Sydney, the Japanese grocery ‘Maruyu‘ at 537-539 Kent St. has everything. I hope this recipe is helpful to enjoy Japanese flavour at home.


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