There are as many ways to make okonomiyaki in Japan as there are types of pizza in the US. Some people say it’s like a Japanese pancake, but it’s really not, believe me. It’s savory and very filling. I’m going to show you make a simple version, which is the version my wife and I make. It is one of our favorite meals.
What you’ll need to make 2 dinner-plate-size portions (1 will really fill you up)
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- *Yama-imo (which translates as a mountain yam)
- 1 egg
- Finely chopped cabbage (about 1/4-1/3 of a head
- Small dried shrimp (optional)
- Vegetable oil (just a bit)
- 3-4 slices of bacon for each portion
For the topping:
- Okonomi-yaki sauce or worcestershire sauce
- Bonito flakes (paper-thin fish flakes)
How to make it:
- Mix the flour, yama-imo (regardless of what form) and the egg with enough water to make a watery base.
- Add enough cabbage and tiny dried shrimp (if using) and mix it in until the batter has the consistency of slightly watery oatmeal with cabbage in it.
- If you have a large nonstick pan or cooktop, heat it up and rub some oil on it.
- Pour about half the batter into your pan and spread it evenly across the surface of the pan.
- Add 3-4 half-slices of bacon to the top of the okonomiyaki and gently push it down so the bacon sticks in the batter.
- Let the batter cook until nearly cooked through—you can tell by looking at it.
- **Flip the okonomiyaki and let the side with the bacon cook—the bacon will cook, was well.
- When you’re sure the batter is cooked through, transfer to a plate and put in a 200-degree oven while you cook the other one.
- When done with them both, put them on the counter or your dinner table and quickly apply a zig-zag line of each the mayo and okonmiyaki sauce. Then sprinkle the bonito flakes (as much as you want) over the entire surface of the okonomiyaki. If you’ve done it quickly enough (it’s still really hot) the bonito flakes should waver back and forth from the heat.
Eat with either knife/fork or chopsticks.
*Yama-imo comes in three forms: powdered (pictured above), grated and frozen, and the whole yam, which needs to be grated. If grating it, be aware that some people’s skin is slightly irritated by the raw yam. This is not the case with cooked yam.
**The larger the spatula, the easier it is to flip. And the more your “pancake” is cooked, the easier it is to flip. If your flip is a failure and you end up with a folded okonomiyaki, don’t be put off. You can still try to unfold it, but if that doesn’t work, just continue cooking. It will still be delicious!