‘Okonomi’ means “what you like,” and ‘yaki’ means “grilled” or “cooked.” But the basic is a simple flour batter with shredded cabbage and either seafood or pork. This dish has many variations especially depending on the region of Japan as well.
You typically cook these at the table at home or out at a restaurant, and eat them as they are finished. I’ve had this once before in Japan at a restaurant but never at home.
I got out my old electric pancake skillet and we decided to cook them at the table to make it fun. I just learned that Aya’s mom has never made it before(she said “I’m from the East side.Â That’s a West side thing”). Aya has never made it, and only had it at a restaurant. I was really going into uncharted territory when deciding to make this.
You can use squid, octopus, pork, scallops, shrimp, etc when making this. I decided on just using shrimp. Then it’s topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, dried fish flakes, pickled ginger, and ao nori (dried nori flakes).
It’s not one of my favorite dishes, mainly because the flavors are so unique. Pancakes with cabbage, fish, seaweed, and mayo? Yes, that’s pretty much it. We had fun making it at the table and Ellie loved the shrimp. And since the cabbage was in pancake form, she was more open to eating the cabbage. This step-by-step guide really shows the process quite well.
Considering I didn’t totally know what I was doing, I did pretty well.
Okonomiyaki (Cabbage Pancake)*Recipe from the book Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko
3.5 cups plain all-purpose flour
3 cups water
2 large eggs beaten
1/4 tsp salt
4 sprigs scallions, roughly chopped
14 oz white cabbage, sliced very thin
vegetable oil for frying
Japanese okonomiyaki sauce
ao nori (dried seaweed)
1 lb of fresh raw shrimp, peeled and shells removed
Mix flour, water, eggs, cabbage, and shrimp together like you would pancake batter. Make sure all of the cabbage is evenly coated.
Heat skillet and pour batter in pancake shapes. If the batter is too thick, spread it around a little bit to make a circular shape.
Cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Make sure shrimp or other fish/pork you may use is fully cooked.
Cover pancake with okonomiyaki sauce then drizzle with Japanese mayonnaise. Cover with fish flakes, seaweed, and pickles ginger. You can put as much or as little as you want on.