Dancing Japanese Pancakes (Okonomiyaki)


Okonomiyaki – fun to say, and even more fun to cook.

The savoury Japanese pancake is not only one of the tastiest dishes around, it’s one of the most versatile. Variability is reflected in the dish’s name; “okonomi” literally means “to one’s liking”, meaning you can modify it to your taste buds… we added bacon, naturally.  

The dish is available all over Japan, but is most popular in the west, particularly in Osaka, where it’s known as “Osaka Soul Food”. Okonomiyaki certainly lives up to that billing. It’s texture, simultaneously crunchy and creamy, hit all of my comfort food sweet spots, while the flavour is bold and delicious.

Shredded cabbage in the base is a must, but beyond that, you can add whatever you like to the batter. In Japan, Okonomiyaki restaurants boast menus with countless mix-ins for you to choose from, with everything from pork belly, mochi, tuna, Chinese sausage, shrimp, and even cheese! In the Western world, you simply head down to your nearest Yo! Sushi restaurant, order the stunning Okonomiyaki and you’ll be in food heaven. Alternatively, bring the fun to your kitchen by following the method below (shh, keep it to yourself…)

Here’s what you’ll need:

Okonomiyaki (serves 4)

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ cups dashi or water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 450g cabbage coarsely chopped
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • 1 fresh range egg
  • 5 bacon rashers
  • 60ml oil or sesame oil
  • Garnish
  • Okonomiyaki sauce / katsu sauce / HP Sauce
  • Kewpie Mayo
  • Aonori
  • Bonito
  • Beni Shoga
  • Spring Onion finely chopped

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and dashi/water together and set aside
  2. Chop the cabbage and spring onion finely and add to batter mix
  3. Add egg and mix the ingredients together. Take care not to over-mix
  4. Heat up a frying pan with a little oil
  5. Pour Okonomiyaki mixture into a round pancake shape in the centre of the pan
  6. Lay rashers of bacon on top of pancake as it cooks
  7. Once the underside of the pancake is brown flip over to finish cooking
  8. Press down on pancake with a spatula to make it an even thickness
  9. When both sides of the Okonomiyaki are golden brown, flip on to a plate and cut into slices like a pizza
  10. Smother with lashings of Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise
  11. Sprinkle with bonito flakes, aonori seaweed, spring onion and chopped beni shoga
  12. Enjoy!