Pancake Day Part 1: Okonomiyaki – Recipe

 I've always wanted to make okonomiyaki, ever since I tried it at the London restaurant Abeno-Too.

My friend Josh, who'd actually visited Japan, was a bit taken aback by the prices of £13-£15 per okonomiyaki, for what is apparently quite standard fair in its country of origin. Even though I've not yet been to Japan myself, and even though the okonomiyaki was absolutely delicious, it was clear to me that £15 for a pancake made of about 60% shredded cabbage is a little nuts, even for a London restaurant- I suppose one of the reasons for the price is that they do cook it up teppanyaki-style in front of you, though.

Still, after watching the recipe Cooking With Dog demonstrated, I could see how simple and cheap it is, I decided to make one myself, with some of my favourite ingredients. After all, the word 'okonomiyaki' literally means grilled/ cooked as you wish, and indeed you'll find lots of different okonomiyakis in different regions of Japan.

My recipe here has been adapted from Cooking With Dog's, without the seafood and halved-ish for one generous portion. I also use tofu as a filling.

Ingredients for Okonomiyaki:

-50g okonomiyaki flour*
-140ml weak/diluted chicken or vegetable stock
-1/4tsp baking powder
-1 egg
-150g green cabbage, finely shredded and chopped
-1 large spring onion
-A handful of katsuoboshi (fried bonito fish flakes)
-2tsp pickled ginger, chopped
-1tbsp tenkatsu (tempura crispy bits) or rice krispies**

Ingredients for Toppings:

-Okonomiyaki sauce (I used kecap manis)
-Japanese mayonnaise (or regular is fine)
-1 small spring onion, chopped
-Aonori seaweed
-A large pinch of extra katsuoboshi


 1) Make the pancake batter by whisking the flour, baking powder, stock and egg together until smooth

2) Add all of your other ingredients apart from the tofu

3) Heat a skillet to medium heat and lightly brush with oil. Scoop half of your okonomiyaki mix into the pan, flattening and shaping it into a round, and place your slices of tofu on top. Cover with the rest of the mix, neaten up the shape, and put the lid on to let everything cook for five minutes.

4) Using two spatulas, carefully flip the okonomiyaki over, cover again and cook for a further five minutes.

5) When you're ready to serve, generously drizzle over your okonomiyaki sauce and a bit of mayo, sprinkle with katsuoboshi (they'll dance quite amusingly in the heat!) aonori and spring onion.

6) Enjoy your insanely easy and ridiculously tasty meal!

*I found some okonomiyaki flour in my Japanese store, which has mountain yam already in the mix. This gives a great texture, but if you can't find okonomiyaki flour, plain flour is absolutely fine.

**Most recipes tell you to add this to the batter and then cook, which is what I did. However, I found that the tenkatsu lost its crispiness as it absorbed the moisture, so I'd recommend actually using this as a topping instead of mixing it in with everything.

Tomorrow for actual pancake day, I'll be giving a nod to my Chinese Malaysian side of the family and trying out a mix for Apam Balik, a thick and fluffy pancake with a buttery, sweet filling of creamed sweetcorn and peanuts. It sounds weird, but once you've tried it it's like a revelation.


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