This is the “As You Like It” dish of Japan. Sometimes referred to as Japanese pizza, okonomiyaki is customized to your local ingredients and palate. Hence, you’ll find okonomiyaki done Osaka style and Hiroshima style, among others.
Basically, this dish is so flexible it’s a shame that it isn’t prepared that much outside of Japan. However, this is understandable, as getting the ingredients stateside can be a bit of a challenge. If you don’t have an Asian grocery store close by, you could be hard-pressed to procure the fixings. And, even if you do, understanding what you’re looking for can be an adventure if you don’t read Japanese. Fortunately, I found a perfect solution to this dilemma. Thanks to the good folks at Okonomiyaki World, I was able to order ingredients and a kit online. Sugoi! (meaning wow!).
I have to offer a disclaimer here about MSG. Some of the packaged foods you will get from Japan do include MSG. Reading through the ingredients in my kit, I did notice that MSG and fortified flour were present. Most of the time I eschew foods with these additives. But, I figured that this would be my guilty pleasure. (You can’t be perfect all the time!) Plus, all the veggies seemed justifying.
There are many good videos and blogs about preparing okonomiyaki. The recipe below does not include grated raw mountain yam (Yamaimo). For purists, you’ll have to figure out how to get that. For the rest of us, this recipe is a good starter. Experiment with your favorite vegetables and meats. Shrimp often are featured, as are pre-cooked yakisoba noodles.
Ingredients (for 2 okonomiyaki)
- 2/3 C okonomiyaki flour
- 1/3 C water
- 3 eggs (I like mine eggy. If you do not, use only 2 eggs.)
- 1-2 C shredded cabbage (I used bok choy.)
- 1/2 C chopped snow peas
- 1 C mung bean sprouts
- 1/4 C chopped peppers
- 1/2 C chopped green or red onions
- 1-2 C sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 C chopped cooked bacon
- 1/3 C tempura crumbles or fried wheat flour
- 3 T oil for frying (I used butter and avocado oil)
- Okonomi sauce
- Kewpie mayonnaise
- Aonori-ko (seaweed flakes)
- Katsobushi (dried and flaked bonito or skipjack tuna)
Mix flour and water well. Whisk in eggs. Add all the veggies, tempura crumbles or fried wheat flour, and bacon to the batter and toss to coat.
Heat skillet with oil to shimmering. Depending on the size of your skillet, you will be able to do one or two at a time. Spoon your battered veggies onto the hot, oiled skillet. Make round and flat, 6-8 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Fry on medium high for 4 minutes or until it appears set. Flip over and fry ‘til set. (You can re-flip if you think it’s not quite done.)
Plate okonomiyaki. Spread okonomi sauce over top. Squirt a fun pattern of Kewpie mayonnaise on top. Sprinkle with seaweed flakes. Top with a generous bunch of katsobushi/tuna flakes. (Note: if your okonomiyaki is hot—as it should be—the tuna flakes will wave around on top like something alive!)