Okonomiyaki: the original (savory) Japanese pancake
What is okonomiyaki?
Okonomiyaki (a.k.a. savory Japanese pancakes, Japanese cabbage pancakes, or Japanese pizza) are traditional Japanese pancakes. They evolved from simple thin pancakes during the Edo period in Japan (1603-1868) into a thicker mix of ingredients during the late 1930’s in Osaka. During World War II, the supply of rice dwindled and the Japanese needed to make use of the ingredients that were commonly available. Out of necessity, okonomiyaki was born.
These are not your typical breakfast pancakes covered in syrup. They are served as a savory meal. The most common components include cooked batter, shredded cabbage, and either seafood or meat covered in okonomi sauce and mayonnaise which are topped with seaweed and bonito flakes.
- Kansai or Osaka style (Kansaiyaki) – This method mixes all the ingredients together with the batter and grilled on both sides on a hot surface.
- Hiroshima style (Hiroshimayaki) – This method cooks a thin pancake first, then layers other ingredients (including a thick foundation of shredded cabbage) on top. Nikutama (a.k.a. Nikudama) is a Hiroshima style of Japanese pancake that uses fried noodles like yakisoba or udon.
- Tokyo-style (Monjayaki) – Monjayaki uses finely chopped ingredients common in okonomiyaki. It is shaped into a ring to hold the batter which has a more liquid consistency than other variations since extra dashi or water is added. It is eaten directly from the grill using a small spatula.
- Modanyaki (derived from “modern yaki”) – This version is often confused for Hiroshimayaki since has noodles, but it actually is made Osaka style with all the ingredients mixed in.
Chicago, IL: Tsukiji Fish Market📷: Tsukiji Fish Market in Chicago
Honolulu, HI: Chibo Teppanyaki & Okonomiyaki📷: Chibo Teppanyaki & Okonomiyaki on Facebook
San Diego, CA: Tajima 📷: Tajima on Facebook
Looking for more places that serve okonomiyaki? You can find them on Glutto right here.
- 1 cup okonomiyaki flour (with nagaimo/ yamaimo)
- ¾ cup dashi or water
- ¼ cup tenkasu
- ½ cup protein (optional): pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, octopus, scallops, or eggs
- 1 head green cabbage (minced – optional)
- yakisoba noodles (cooked – optional)
- other suggested ingredients (optional): cheese, green onions, kimchee, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, etc.)
- oil spray (to grease pan)
Tip: you can also buy okinomiyaki kits that include all the main ingredients
- First, mix the okonomiyaki flour with the dashi (or water) in a large bowl.
- Gently mix in the green cabbage, noodles and other ingredients (minus the toppings) until even.
- Scoop out the mix and place in a greased frying pan on medium-high heat. Shape into pancakes of desired size.
- Heat each side (using wide spatula to flip) for 3-5 minutes or until light brown.
- Place the cooked okonomiyaki on a plate and top generously with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and bonito flakes. If you have a small spatula, use it to cut into the okonomiyaki and serve yourself. Enjoy!