Okonomiyaki (Azuki’s Cooking Series #1)

05 Jun

Today I made some Japanese pancake, Okonomiyaki お好み焼き. It’s one of my favorite Japanese dishes but unfortunately hard to find in Japanese restaurants over here.  In Japan, they have places with a hotplate for you to grill your own. Kind of similar to a make-your-own-pancake place I went to once. Over here in the U.S., I have asked around but have yet found such an establishment. Anyway, I do what I usually do under such circumstances: I tried making my own.

First I make the batter by adding eggs to the Okonomiyaki flour.  I got the flour mix at an oriental grocery store, but if you can’t get it, an (untested) recipe I have calls for 2 cups flour + 1 tsp baking powder + 1 egg + a pinch of salt.  The flour mix I bought has additives such as yam powder, seasoning, fish powder and MSG (so you haven’t heard of the Japanese paradox?  They down more MSG than anybody else and live a good long life.)  (And oh in case you bought the flour mix and can’t read Japanese: it’s a pack of flour + 2 eggs + slightly less than a cup of water.)

Okonomiyaki flour

Okonomiyaki flour

Next I chop up some cabbage and carrot. Traditionally pork, shrimp and squid are used too, but I prefer to skip the meat. Other optional ingredients include cheese, scallion and kimchi. As the name implied, okonomi means “whatever you like” and yaki means grill. So, be adventurous! I also add some corn and julienned ginger.  If you get the pickled one use that if not just plain fresh ginger – do try to use some as it does add to the taste.

Okonomiyaki Veggies

Okonomiyaki veggies

Mix everything into the batter.

Okonomiyaki Batter

Okonomiyaki Batter

Heat up the pan with oil, then scope in the batter for a pancake.

Okonomiyaki in Pan

Okonomiyaki in Pan

For the okonomiyaki sauce, the easiest way is to use eel sauce instead. You can also make a complicated from-scratch version using Worchestershire sauce, ketchup, sake, mirin, honey, ketchup and more. Here I didn’t use ketchup. I tried using honey instead of sugar but the taste is weird… different than what I am used to, so I stay with sugar.

Okonomiyaki Sauce

Okonomiyaki Sauce

Next I prepare the seaweed by cutting up the nori sheet. They do sell it in shreds already but I don’t use the shreds often enough, and they get stale faster. I also have katsuobushi, dried shaved bonito fish. That’s the one that looks like live wood shavings on your age tofu, and a major ingredient in Japanese soup stock.

Bonito and Nori

Bonito and Nori

When the pancake is cooked on both sides, I squirt on some mayonnaise (I use the Japanese Kewpie brand in th squirt bottle though of course you can just use a regular mayo), add the sauce glaze, then sprinkle on the seaweed and bonito shavings. It’s ready and looks very nice too!

Okonomiyaki Done

Okonomiyaki Done

1 Comment

Posted by on June 5, 2009 in Asia, Cooking, Food


One response to “Okonomiyaki (Azuki’s Cooking Series #1)

  1. Okonomi_Yakity

    August 28, 2009 at 9:36 am

    This looks great. If you’re interested in more Okonomiyaki recipes and info check out – there is also a list of restaurants outside of Japan that serve it! Have fun!


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