Thursday, October 25, 2012

Okonomiyaki ~ Japanese Savory Pancake

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake, where you add "whatever ingredients you want" in the pancake.  The main ingredients include shredded cabbage, grated yam, which are combined together in a batter using flour, egg and water/or dashi stock.  Optional ingredients can be bacon, pork belly, octopus, prawns, cheese etc.... or okonomi, i.e. "what you want".  After cooking, the okonomi sauce, a sweetened brown sauce is spread on the pancake, followed with a sprinkle of bonito flakes and/or seaweed and Japanese mayonnaise.

My few simple ingredients

I prepared this okonomiyaki for lunch.  It was a last minute decision to cook this, as I was running out of ideas of what to prepare for lunch.  While I browsed through the few items left in my fridge (I was clearing out stock before shopping), an idea came to my mind - using whatever I had in fridge for a Japanese pancake which my girl loves to eat (and that costs over S$10 in a restaurant!!).  I gathered a few cabbage leaves, half a grated carrot, two pieces of leftover ngoh hiang (fried meat rolls) from my previous night's dinner, a small handful of sakura ebi (樱花虾), two eggs and some chopped spring onions.  I had a small bottle of sauce from a Japanese restaurant (for my previous takeaway Katsu meal), which is just prefect for the okonomiyaki. 

To prepare, combine the flour, egg, water (or dashi stock) and stir in the ingredients till you have a thick batter.  Pan fry the batter on both sides till golden brown and serve hot with your favorite toppings.  If using bacon or pork belly, pan fry separately till nice and crispy before pouring in the vegetable batter.  I added a fried egg for my okonomiyaki, since I did not have much "other ingredients" in the pancake.  I did not have any grated yam on hand, so I omitted that as well.  

(serves 2)

4 to 5 small round cabbage leaves, thinly shredded
1/2 carrot, grated
1 tsp grated ginger
Your choice of "other ingredients"
( I used sakura ebi~lightly toasted, ngoh hiang~sliced, chopped spring onion)
1/2 cup plain flour
80 to 90ml water or dashi stock (I used water + 1 tsp dashi stock powder)
1 egg
Salt/pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten
Okonomi sauce - enough to spread on pancake
Japanese mayonnaise
Bonito flakes
Spring onion, chopped

1) In a bowl, whisk together the flour, egg and water (or dashi stock).  Stir in the shredded cabbages, grated carrot, grated ginger, some chopped spring onion and sakura ebi.  Season with a little salt/pepper. 
(Note:  Keep some chopped spring onion and sakura ebi as garnish.)

2) Heat up a frying pan over medium heat and add a little oil to the pan.  Pour in the prepared batter and flatten to form a round thick pancake ~ about 1.5cm thick.  Arrange the sliced ngoh hiang on the pancake.  Cover and cook the pancake for about 2 minutes.  Remove cover and shake the pan a little.  As you shake the pan, listen for a crispy sound at the bottom of the cooked side and check that the batter has set.  Flip over the pancake, cover and cook the other side till golden brown.
(Note:  If you flip the pancake before the batter has set properly, it may break into pieces.)

3) Slide the pancake onto a plate.  With the remaining oil in the pan (or add a little more oil, if necessary), pour in the beaten egg.  Quickly slide the pancake back into the pan, so that the fried egg will stick nicely on the pancake.  Cover and cook for about another minute.  When you remove the cover, the pancake will be nice and thick.  Flip the pancake over again, so that the fried egg is on top.

4) Spread the okonomi sauce on the pancake.  Next, squeeze mayonnaise, sprinkle bonito flakes and the remaining chopped spring onion and sakura ebi over the pancake.  Serve the pancake immediately.

Enjoy your okonomiyaki while you watch the dancing bonito flakes!


  1. I love okonomiyaki so much ......yummy !

  2. Hi Fong, I love Japanese pancakes like this one cos' it's all in one, tasty and with lots of vegetables. Usually, I just 'agak-agak' the ingredients and never thought of posting the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Will try yours.

    1. Me too, most of the time the ingredients are "agak agak". Like my mum says, even our fingers are different in length, no need to be so accurate. This recipe adapted from a Taiwanese cook show. Can't remember which one...


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