Saturday 4 June 2011


Okonomiyaki means "as you like it". It's usually described as a Japanese pizza, but it's only like pizza in the sense that it comes in lots of different styles, and it's a great food to eat with beer. It's a pancake! There really isn't a single recipe for it, but there are a couple of things that make a good okonomiyaki. It's been a long time since we've had an okonomiyaki dinner, but seeing as there is an abundance of cabbage in the fridge, the time has come! 

DIY Okonomiyaki in Harajuku
1. Use dashi stock instead of water and use a mix of potato or taro four and plain flour. You can buy okonomi batter at asian supermarkets, but like most processed foods, I find it too salty. Make a nice thick batter.

In Kyoto: Udon Okonomiyaki (left)
and Leek and Fish Cake Okonomiyaki (centre)
2. Finely shred the fillings. This way they mix well and cook evenly in the batter. Nothing worse than a lump of raw cabbage in the middle of your okonomiyaki. You can put almost anything inside - cabbage, carrot, green spring onions, octopus, prawns, pork, mushrooms, fish cake, tofu... (hence the name!)
Okonomiyaki Bar in Osaka

3. Get good japanese brown sauce and mayonnaise. Don't even try using aussie style bbq sauce and mayo - both are way too sweet. I get the Bull-Dog brand brown sauce and Kewpie brand mayonnaise. 

Okonomiyaki on a stick? :P

4. Get some good toppings. The usual topping is a sprinkling of aonori (powdered seaweed) and katsuobushi (shaved dried bonito flakes - they dance in the heat!), but you can also use other toppings such as crispy panko breadcrumbs.

5. Decorate! Okonomiyaki should look pretty! One thing I was very happy to buy on my last trip to Japan was some special squeezy bottles with thin nozzles for drizzling sauce on top of okonomiyaki. 

Tonight's version was made with savoy cabbage, carrot, spring onions, cooked pork mince, some mini king brown mushrooms and shaved pork belly.

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