One of my many fond memories of living in Japan is the Okonomiyaki Party. The host would supply the staples and the friends brought the beer, along with any special ingredients they wanted to include–because that’s the beauty of okonomiyaki, basically you can put whatever you want in it–and the party was on. I love communal cooking, because everyone has a slightly different take on what’s tasty. So people would create all of these interesting variations of okonomiyaki, some with meat, others without, some with kimchi, or seafood or yams or…whatever they want. The possibilities are endless! So start with the easy okonomiyaki recipe below and get creative.
For those who don’t know, okonomiyaki is like a vegetable fritter, a basic batter with a vegetable ingredient, usually cabbage, fried and topped with a sweet sauce. But that description does not do the okonomiyaki justice because it is way more complex and delicious than that.
This is a simple recipe designed for you to add whatever you want from there. The dried goods you will need are okonomiyaki flour, panko (to make the batter a little more fluffy) and katsuobushi, or dried Bonito flakes.
Cats love Katsuo by the way
Toppings are the other thing you might have to hunt around for. Any Asian market will have these though. For an authentic okonomiyaki experience you should use Kewpie Mayonnaise (the one in the creepy doll bottle) but I didn’t have any so the Wafu Mayo worked just fine.
From here on it’s super easy. Mix your flour and water (measurements below) then add your wet ingredients:
And things will start looking like this:
Heat up your pan and add your batter and now it’ll look like this:
Flip it and it will look like this:
And then once it’s cooked and topping have been added you will get something like this.
Good friends, good food, good fun–it’s the perfect combination. So get on your contacts list and gather your people for an Okonomiyaki Party. It’ll leave you with fond memories, I promise you.
(What’s your favourite okonomiyaki combo? Let us know in the comments section below.)
Easy Okonomiyaki Recipe
Ingredients (makes 2 large pancake/fritter thingies)
1 cup okonomiyaki flour
¾ cup water (or stock)
4 cups cabbage shredded
2 stalk of green onion sliced
¼ cup panko
½ cup raw shrimp cut into chunks
2 Tbs. pickled ginger (diced)
Katsuobushi (dried Bonito Flakes)
- In a large bowl, whisk together okonomiyaki flour and water until smooth
- Add eggs, cabbage, green onion, panko and ginger and mix
- Heat 1 Tbs. of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat until pan is hot (200C / 400F)
- Spread half the batter in a circle on the pan. It should about 12″ (30cm) in diameter and about ¾” (1.5 cm) thick
- Sprinkle ½ of the shrimp onto the pancake (Carnivores can layer bacon over surface at this stage)
- Cook for 3 minutes then flip over (always an adventure!)
- Gently press the okonomiyaki to ensure the middle is getting cooked. Cook for another 4 minutes
- Flip one final time and cook for another 3 minutes or until pancake is cooked through
- Store finished okonomiyaki on a warm plate in the oven and repeat steps 4-8 with second pancake
- Drizzle with mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce and sprinkle katsuobushi over everything