Okonomiyaki osaka-style recipe


The quintessential Osaka street food, okonomiyaki toppings may vary but squid and pork belly are popular choices. Using grated nagaimo (Japanese yam) will make for a fluffy and light batter, or you can buy okonomiyaki flour which contains it in dry form. Okonomiyaki pancakes are easy to make and a delicious all-in-one meal.

  • Yield: 8 large pancakes


For the Batter
  • 10 oz/2¼ cups (280 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 7½fl oz/scant 1 cup (225 ml) water
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tsp instant dashi powder
  • 3½ oz (100 g) nagaimo (Japanese yam), peeled and finely grated
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 oz (350 g) cabbage, chopped
  • 3½ oz (100 g) kimchi, chopped
  • 3½ oz (100 g) carrots, shredded
  • 2 oz (50 g) spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
  • 1 oz (25 g) red pickled ginger (Japanese beni shoga), finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
For the Toppings
  • 3½ oz (100 g) pork belly, thinly sliced
  • 3½ oz (100 g) baby squid, cut into small slices
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • okonomiyaki sauce
  • red pickled ginger (Japanese beni shoga)
  • aonori (green powdered nori seaweed)
  • katsuobushi flakes
How to Make It
  1. Start by making the batter. In a bowl large enough to accommodate all the batter ingredients, mix the flour, water, salt, baking powder, sugar, dashi powder and nagaimo yam. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Just before frying, add the eggs, cabbage, kimchi, carrots, spring onions (scallions) and the red pickled ginger to the batter. Mix well until all the vegetables are coated.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan (skillet) with a lid for a few minutes on a medium low heat. Add 1 tbsp of sesame oil, making sure to coat the pan thoroughly Spoon the batter mixture into the pan to form a pancake about 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter and about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. Do not push down on it as you want a fluffy pancake.
  4. Lay a few pork belly and squid slices on top of the pancake, trying not to overlap them. Cover with the lid and cook the pancake on a medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, checking after a minute or so to ensure the heat is not too high and the bottom of the pancake is not browning too fast.
  5. Turn the heat down to low. Using a spatula, carefully flip the pancake, so the side with the pork and squid slices is now facing down. Gently press the pancake down with the spatula, cover with the lid and cook for about 5 more minutes.
  6. Flip the pancake again so that the side with the pork and squid slices is now facing up, and cook for 2 more minutes. The pancake should be lightly browned when ready, the pork and squid cooked and the cabbage tender inside. Repeat until all the pancake batter and other ingredients are used up.
  7. Transfer the pancake to a plate, cut it into 4 slices, press these back together, and add the toppings in the following order a generous drizzle of Japanese mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce, followed by the red picked ginger, a sprinkle of the aonori seaweed and a handful of katsuobushi flakes. Serve hot.

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