okonomiyaki: japanese savoury pancake / ‘pizza’

I can’t even remember the last time I had okonomiyaki but I found a okonomi sauce at the one Asian supermarket in Regina over the weekend so I just had to try and make it.  I’m pretty sure my friend Julia introduced me to okonomiyaki when we were backpacking around Japan together all those years ago (I just found an old picture of us having okonomiyaki with a bunch of guys from our hostel in Kyoto!) and it’s too bad that it’s not something you can usually find in your everyday Japanese restaurant because it’s really yummy!  I looked through lots of recipes online and there’s definitely no one way to make this other than that the main ingredient is cabbage and there is some sort of batter that binds it all together.  I decided to use bacon, green onions and carrots but seafood seems to be very popular so feel free to use whatever you’d like.

I made 2 and neither of us could finish our dinner so this amount of cabbage/batter mixture could definitely make 3 servings.

~ 4 cups of shredded cabbage  /  1 cup all-purpose flour  /  ~1/4 tsp baking powder  /  3/4 cup water  /  2 large eggs  /  couple pinches of salt  /  4 strips of bacon  /  ~1/4 cup sliced up green onions  /  1/2 a carrot, grated  /  okonomi sauce  /  kewpie mayo (is this called Japanese mayonnaise? it’s the squeeze bottle with the kewpie doll on it, love this stuff)  /  1 sheet of dried seaweed  /  (I also wanted to use bonito flakes to top but couldn’t find any… I’ll keep hunting)  /  avocado (or whatever!) oil

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Mix up the flour, baking powder, eggs, water and salt until it forms a batter.  Then mix in the cabbage, green onion and carrot.  Heat up a few splashes of oil in  large frying pan over medium heat.  Depending on how big you want your okonomiyaki, scoop some batter into the pan and press down into a circle shape.  Drape a couple strips of bacon over top and then partially cover the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

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Using 2 spatulas, just to make your life easier (1 under and 1 on top), carefully flip the whole thing over and partially cover again and cook for another 5 minutes.  When it’s done cooking, flop onto a plate and brush on some okonomi sauce (however much you’d like), squeeze over some kewpie mayo, and sprinkle some shredded seaweed on top.  If I had bonito flakes, I’d sprinkle some of that on (I love how that stuff looks like it’s dancing around!)  That’s one down, another (1 or 2 to go!)

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Rock had never tried okonomiyaki before but he says it’s surprisingly good.  He says he wasn’t sure at first because it was just a bunch of cabbage in a pancake but it tastes very good.  I’m happy ‘cus it tastes like how I remember. Yay!

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