Saturday, June 02, 2012


May 26-27, 2012
I'm surprised to discover that our blog lacks an okonomiyaki recipe. I remember attempting these Japanese cabbage pancakes several times in the past, though I've always struggled to flip them (and was perhaps reluctant to show you my cabbage hash). Recently I've downsized to okonomi-pikelets and they've been working quite well.

They're working best at getting rid of cabbage. We're really in a cabbage glut at the moment. And they're very adaptable to other fridge scraps - these ones include carrot, we've also chucked in fake bacon bits (!), and I'm confident you could chop or grate other veges (zucchini! beetroot!) into the mix.

We've also been playing around with our sprinklin's. We picked up this curious packet of mushroom seasoning from Minh Phat recently and while it's pretty fun, its flavour is just a repeat on the vegetarian oyster sauce that we're firmly committed to drizzling over our okonmiyaki (along with some mayonnaise). Shredded or crumbled nori would better imitate the traditional non-veg bonito flakes, but we actually prefer shichimi tōgarashi for the bit of spice it lends.

We've had ample success subbing the eggs with powdered replacer and we've made comparable vege fritters using (less) chickpea rather than wheat flour. It may not be authentically Japanese but since okonomi means "what you want", I think we preserve the spirit of these pancakes.

(based on this recipe at Okonomiyaki World)

1 cup plain flour
2/3 cup water or stock
2 eggs or equivalent replacer
4 cups cabbage, sliced into strips
1 medium carrot, grated
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, finely chopped
oil, for frying
mayonnaise, for topping
okonomiyaki sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce, for topping
shredded nori, dulse flakes or shichimi tōgarashi, for topping

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and water/stock until smooth, then whisk in the eggs. Fold in the cabbage, carrot and ginger until they're evenly coated in the batter.

Pour enough oil into a frypan to thinly coat the base and bring it to medium-high heat. Spoon the okonomiyaki mixture into the frypan as thick pancakes. Traditionally you should make just two large ones (in two batches) with this amount of mixture, but I prefer to make a dozen or so smaller ones (~8cm diameter) so that they're easier to flip.

When the pancake(s) are nicely browned on one side, flip them over to brown on the other. The high-ish heat is good for creating a crust and ensuring these a flippable, but you may need to turn it down after the flip to ensure the pancake is cooked through.

When the batter is set and the crust is browned, serve the okonomiyaki drizzled with the toppings.


  1. Your pikelet sized okonomiyaki look fantastic! I have trouble flipping large ones sometimes so it's a great idea to make them smaller. Love the thought of using shichimi togarashi as a topping too as I have some in the pantry that rarely gets used.

    1. Thanks Mel! Definitely get your shichimi togarashi onto this one. :-)

  2. I tried okonomiyaki a year or so ago and it was a disaster - but I think my problem was that it just wouldn't cook in the middle. Though I like the tradition of using up veg in pancakes so I should try again. And it is such a fun work to say

    1. Johanna - yes, one of my batches didn't cook through either. I think it's a delicate balance between getting enough heat on the outside to make a crust that holds them together, then cooking them slowly enough so that they set right through before burning.

  3. I use only one egg and no water, replacing it with a can of creamed corn, but I can confirm grated zucchini works really well.

    Mine usually include two grated zucchinis, a grated carrot, a third of a cabbage, and a tin of creamed corn, for super-vege awesomeness. They make great lunches.

    1. Hi georgiaclaire! It's great to hear about other people's vege versions - I would never have thought of creamed corn as a possible addition. :-)