Easy mid-week dinner: Okonomiyaki

Asian cuisine is one of my (many) favourite types of food to eat and cook. So last weekend I made Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake or pizza), pronounced ok-on-om-i-ya-ki. I’ve made it a few times and trust me, it’s much easier to make than it is to get your tongue around!

Okonomiyaki literally means “grilled as you like it” in Japanese. Many Okonomiyaki recipes just use cabbage as the main ingredient but in the past I’ve added red onion, capsicum and carrot because it’s such a good way to use up what you have in the fridge.

You can make this recipe gluten free by swapping the plain flour for gluten-free flour. If you want it to be vegetarian use the recipe below and if you want to add meat, you can add prawns (diced) or slices of pork belly or bacon. See the recipe for details about when to do this. There are a few different ways to make Okonomiyaki and this is the way I like to make it.


Okon ingredientsOkonomiyaki Recipe – ‘Japanese pancake or pizza’ (makes 4 large pancakes)


You need:

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • ¾ cup plain flour (if you want the batter thicker add more)
  • ½ cup chicken stock or dashi sauce (if you add more flour add more so it’s the right consistency)
  • 1 carrot
  • Okonomiyaki Sauce:  3 x Tbsp Tomato Sauce, 1 x Tsp Soy Sauce, 1 x Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
    Okonomiyaki Sauce: 3 x Tbsp Tomato Sauce, 1 x Tsp Soy Sauce, 1 x Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • 2-3 large shallots or 6 small ones


Topping options

  • Okonomiyaki sauce (buy it or make it)
  • Kewpie Mayo
  • Katsuobushi (from Asian grocery shop)
  • *See photo for more ideas
  • *add slices of bacon or pork belly if you want to add meat


What now:

1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, sliced shallots, grated carrot, katsuobushi, and plain flour, tossing with two large forks or your fingers to distribute everything evenly.

2. Lightly whisk the eggs and chicken stock or dashi in a separate bowl.

3. Add the whisked mixture with the dry ingredients until everything is well combined, but be careful not to over mix. It’s fine if there are a few small lumps.okon mix

4. If you want to add other filling ingredients (diced prawns, capsicum etc.) this is the time to do it. Decide whether your additions will incorporate better into the dry ingredients or wet ingredients and mix them in accordingly.

5. If you choose to use bacon (I recommend streaky) then lay it out in a cold pan, overlapping slightly to account for shrinkage. If you aren’t using bacon, you’ll need to add a little oil (I use olive oil) to the pan.

6. Add a quarter of the cabbage mixture into a mound on top of the bacon or in the pan. Press down on the mound using an egg flip to flatten out the top and then push the edges back towards the center to make a round pancake that’s roughly the same thickness from edge to edge (it should be about 1-2cm thick).Okon Cook 2

7. Cover with a lid and cook until the bottom is well browned (about 7 minutes).

8. Flip the okonomiyaki. I just used the egg flip to help me flip the pancake and I didn’t add more oil because I use non-stick pan.

9. Press down on the top of the okonomiyaki with the egg flip and cook uncovered until the second side is browned as well (about 7 minutes).

10. Slide the okonomiyaki on to your plate and top it with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

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Tip: Serve your okonomiyaki with some dumplings, yum cha or edamame if you want to make this a bigger meal but two pancakes will hit the spot and fill your belly.