Okonomiyaki is a classic Japanese dish that can be made either in the Osaka way or Hiroshima way. For this recipe I wanted to create a traditional Osaka style Okonomiyaki as its the far more popular style and is much easier to make at home. This is one of those dishes that once you have the foundation of Okonomiyaki you can add and flip it using which ever ingredients you prefer. I guess the best way to describe this dish is a levelled up pancake! Let’s get straight into it!
Before we begin to make the filling and batter we need to make a dashi stock which will What take the filling another level. If you cannot source the ingredients to make dashi simply substitute for instant dashi, a weak stock or even use water. Place 5g of kombu into a small saucepan then add 200mls of water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes then place onto a medium heat and bring the stock up to a temperature of approx 70°c. When at temperature remove from the heat and remove the piece of kombu. At Next add a handful of bonito flakes and allow to steep for 15 minutes. To finish the stock pass through a sieve and store the stock to one side for now.
2. Now let’s move onto prepping the filling for the okonomiyaki. Essentially you can add what ever fillings you like but I find this filling to be a good base. Finely slice 1/2 white cabbage, finely slice 3-4 spring onions then grate 200g of good cheddar cheese. Add to a large mixing bowl then I also added around 30g of tenkasu (tempura flakes). This can be tricky to source, however, you can simply make your own by frying tempura batter until crispy. When ready season the Okonomiyaki filling with a touch of sea salt and some cracked blacked paper and set to one side for now.
3. Now that we have the filling we can move onto the all important batter, in a large mixing bowl add 140g of sieved plain flour, 35g cornflour and 5g baking powder. Mix all the dry ingredients first then make a well in the centre. Now add 200ml of our dashi stock and 1 whole egg. Use a whisk to incorporate the liquid into the flour until a smooth batter is made. Take care not to whisk the batter too much as we do not want to activate the gluten too much as this will create more of a cake like batter. If the batter is too thick at this point add a drop more water if needed and if too wet add additional sieved flour.
4. When the batter is ready add to the bowl of sliced cabbage filling then mix well to evenly coat. We are looking for a constancy that is not too wet or dry much similar to coleslaw. When ready, cover then chill the filling in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can actually make this the night before and this actually improves the umami of the filling by leaving to rest overnight, however, 30 minutes also works just fine.
5. Time to talk about pancetta, thinly sliced pork belly or streaky bacon also works for this recipe, however, I think the flavour of pancetta works perfectly. This next step is slightly fancy as were are going to weave the pancetta but this step actually has a decent function also so let’s weave. Start by laying down 5 pieces of pancetta vertically onto a piece of parchment paper. Next unravel the 2 middle pieces then lay a piece going horizontally under the two pieces that we unraveled. Next, lay the two pieces down and repeat but this time unraveling the 3 other pieces and continue. I swear this is way easier to do than typing on how to do this so please take guidance more so on the images below. When ready score around the outside so that the pancetta fits the same size of the pan you intend on using to cook the Okonomiyaki in.
Okonomiyaki Sauce and toppings:
6. Just before we begin to cook the okonimayaki I like to gather all the toppings ready to add immediately when cooked. As for mayo use a Japanese brand if possible, slice some additional spring onions, prepare a good handful of bonito flakes and some Aonori if you can get hold of some. For the Okonomiyaki sauce in a small bowl simply add 3 tbsps of ketchup, 3 tbsps Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp light soy, 1 tbsp white sugar or honey, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce then mix until smooth. Place the toppings to one side and we can begin to cook!
7. Now let’s cook Okonomiyaki, here you can choose to either make 2 fairly large versions or 3-4 smaller individual ones. Okonomiyaki is usually made on a teppanyaki although at home its best to use a skillet or large heavy frying pan if possible to replicate. Add a decent drizzle of oil to a pan then place onto a medium to high heat. Add a generous amount of the batter mix into the centre of the pan and use a spatula to shape the mix to tidy the shape and top. Now add the pancetta weave over the top and remove the parchment paper. Place a lid over the top of the pan then cook for 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness you made the Okonomiyaki.
8. After 5-7 minutes of cooking remove the lid and check to see if the bottom side has become nice and crispy golden brown. When ready use a spatula to carefully flip the okonomiyaki over to sear the pancetta side. Brush the cooked side generously with the okonomi sauce and continue to cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes or until crispy golden brown. When ready glaze the top again with okonomi if needed and we are now ready to serve!
- japanese mayo