Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Okonomiyaki (Japanese sweet savory pancake)

There was a half of cabbage sitting alone and sadly on my kitchen counter for days. I`ve planned on using it for "something", aka. undecided menu. Then, finally the day came. The day when I remembered how we really enjoyed our okonomiyaki in a restaurant late at night after our date in a temple and I finally got something to do with my cabbage. Now, you may wonder what okonomiyaki is and I`m more than happy to let Wikipedia get you the answer. In my own words, okonomiyaki is a thick cabbage pancake glazed with sweet soysauce and mayonaise and topped with seaweed and benito flakes. It has sweet and savory taste with a soft texture like pancake and it`s very filling too. And you probably already read my previous post about Korean Boochim, which is also called as savory pancake (or crepe in my version as I like it thin) but without any hint of sweetness as sugar or anything sweet is not used in preparing the boochim itself and its dipping sauce. I love them both. Love!

Alright, now get the cabbage, wash, thinly slice it up, and set aside.
I bought 2 (two!) cheap cabbage slicers and they just didn`t work for me. Goodbye, 2 dollars! I ended up slicing up my cabbage with my knife, just the way I always do.

You can use pretty much anything for your okonomiyaki. One thing to consider though,  if you use something raw like meat or fish, you should cook it first before mixing it with other ingredients. Otherwise there`s a chance for you to end up having something not properly cooked inside your okonomiyaki. I used beef for mine, by the way. If you too want to use beef, slice or chop it up thinly. Or you can use minced beef instead.

Heat a non-stick frying pan without oil and cook the beef.

When the beef looks cooked, season it with soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, and fish sauce. Yum! Set aside when the beef is done.

Now, the flour. It`s very easy to find okonomiyaki flour mix here and I hope you can find it too at your place.

But, in case you can`t find one, let me just show you roughly what`s inside the mix. So, basically it`s flour mixed with sugar, salt, dashi powder (which contains of benito and konbu seaweed), vegetable oil (now I honestly have no idea how they do this), baking powder, and flavor enhancers (aha, it sounds a lot like MSG). If I have to prepare the flour mix by myself, I`d use flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

Place the flour mix in a bowl, throw in eggs, and pour in water. I used plain water here, but you surely can add dashi-infused water instead, especially if your flour doesn`t have dashi in it. And to make your life easier, please beat the egg first before stir up everything.

Stir up until the batter turns smooth. My batter did turn out fine, but using beaten eggs sounds much neater.

Other ingredients for the filler are spring onion...

Small dried shrimps. Name is sakura ebi here.

And chilli! This comes from a chilli-crazy person (aka.me). I wonder if there is any okonomiyaki restaurant in Japan serving their okonomiyaki with chilli. Please let me know if you know some place!

Throw in the trio to the batter. They`re singing in there, very happily. You can sing along while stirring them up.

Remember the cabbage? We`ve been neglecting it (again) for a while. Time to stir it in!

Wohooo...this is the okonomiyaki mix! With the fillers in, the batter should not be runny. This may seem like it needs more batter, but this is actually fine.

Don`t worry, I`m not forgetting about the beef. Well, I almost did, though.

Now the okonomiyaki IS ready!

Heat a bit of oil just enough to cover a non-stick frying pan, add the batter, cook on low/medium heat. Okonomiyaki is usually 3-cm thick, but mine was probably only 2-cm. Just make sure that you cook it on low heat if your okonomiyaki is a thick one. When the bottom gets browned and crisped up, flip over and cook until the other side is done.

Place the disc on a plate and we`re gonna spread some fun here.

First is okonomiyaki sauce. I hope you can find it too there. Or you can just use soy sauce mixed with oyster sauce and a bit of sugar (and dashi for extra flavor). Normally people use a brush to spread the sauce, but I just use the back of a spoon.

Second is mayonnaise. Spread it too. Too much? No, you can`t stop me.

Then, sprinkle seaweed flakes. Green is beauty. Seaweed on top of mayonnaise is divine.

Last is benito flakes. I really really really hope you can get this benito flakes as I`m clueless for any substitution.

Did I mention "last"? The fun is not over, darling. In fact, it`s about to start!
Get ready for a magical moment.

Cut a piece of it and place it on your plate.

And eat it. Can you hear your taste buds singing???
My cabbage looks totally happy here!

This will roughly make for 4 or 5 discs of okonomiyaki with 18-cm in diameter and 2-cm in thickness

Filling (300 g)
Cabbage, thinly sliced
Beef, cooked
Chilli, cut
Dried shrimp

200 g okonomiyaki flour mix
2 whole eggs, beaten
250 ml water


  1. mau cobaa! :D
    semua bahannya ada di seiyu ya kayaknya mbak?

  2. halo halo, aku beli tepungnya sih pas lg di daiso. tp di seiyu pastinya ada juga :) proporsi campuran bahannya ikutin petunjuk di bungkusnya ya, kali aja beda merk. met ber-okonomiyaki! :)

  3. tid, gw ijin nyontek resep tiramisu-nya yo...
    makasih sebelumnya :)

  4. selamat bikin yaaa...wah aku jadi pengen bikin juga :D

  5. Wonderful awesome post!! Thank you so much for sharing this detailed and FUN step-by-step Arudhi!

    I've been wanting to make this Japanese treat for some time and these pics and instructions make it seem very doable and just too yummy not to try. Lovely work, thanks again!

  6. I love your recipes and your photos are so helpful! Nice job. I came here from bentobird. Funny thing is I have a half of cabbage and a bag of Korean pancake powder (literally) sitting in front of me. I was going to research if I could make okonomiyaki with it when I was done checking your blog out. How cool is that? On the bag it says you just mix with water to make the Korean seafood pancake. I wonder if I mix it like you did with the eggs if it would work?

    I enjoyed your blog and I will be back! Thanks!

  7. doyannnn banget gw okonomiyaki. love it so much and haven't tried making my own at home...thanks for the step by step guide. I think I'll be able to get all the supplies here (HK is mad about anything Japanese), but I won't be able to read the instructions hehehe.

  8. Bentobird: Thanks! My head looks bigger now and that`s your fault :D The flour mix just works like a charm. I actually brought the okonomiyaki leftover for my bentou the next day. Still yummy! Enjoy your okonomiyaki!

    Lindsey: Hi there, thanks for visiting! I`m really glad you find it useful. I`ve actually never tried using cabbage for Korean pancake and I always use green onion or garlic chives instead. Cabbage seems to have more water content, so you may need to adjust the water-flour-egg composition to get your batter right. Following the instruction from the package will be the safest way, but why not just give the cabbage a try?

    @Rita: Mirip2 bakwan ya?? hehehe..If you want, just take a picture of the instruction and I`ll read it for you (assuming that all the Kanji writing on the pack is readable with my ability, lol). But if it`s not, I sure can ask him or my friends here.

  9. Oh~. I've never heard of this dish before. Looks complicated. That's what I say to everything that involves flour.

    Please visit my blog! I tagged you for an award.

  10. This is one of my favourite Japanese dishes. I like it with Wagyu beef and garlic chips :)

  11. Aki: Thanks for tagging me, Aki! And yes, I too always feel intimidated by flour :D But this one (with the flour mix) is really easy to make,so you might want to give it a try.

    Ellie: Hi Ellie, thanks for visiting! Wagyu sounds super fancy! And super unaffordable for me :D Never heard of the garlic chip, but it must be yummy!

  12. It sounds a bit spicy but looks so delicious!

    お好み焼き大好き! 今日はこれを作りたくなってきました。 写真もすてきです。