Osaka-style okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese style pancake made with chopped cabbage, green onion, batter and various toppings and sauces and like many of the world’s greatest everyday foods it doesn’t sound like much. The truth is: it’s remarkable. I don’t speak Japanese but I read somewhere the word ‘okonomiyaki’ translates into two words: okonomi, which means ‘as you like’, and yaki, which means ‘grilled’. Together, you get okonomiyaki: ‘grilled as you like’. It’s quick, cheap and delicious and open to endless variations so when I had to decide what to put in mine I went for octopus and pork belly. I have no shame at all.

The pancake (some prefer to compare it to a pizza) is topped with okonomi sauce (which is essentially the same as tonkatsu sauce), kewpie mayonnaise, seaweed flakes, and dried bonito flakes which are shaved so thinly that they wave and wiggle when placed on top. Don’t worry though – they won’t turn into sea monkeys.

I had some fantastic versions in Osaka last year both as street food and in restaurants that specialize in them and I don’t know why I haven’t cooked them at home earlier. Time to stock up on those goodies at your local Japanese market so you can make Okonomiyaki at home in less time than it takes to say “sea monkey”.

  • Okonomiyaki Recipe

  • Serves 4
    • For the okonomiyaki
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2/3 cup dashi
    • 2 eggs
    • 4 cups chopped cabbage
    • 2 scallions chopped
    • 1/2 lb pork belly, sliced
    • 1 cup octopus tentacles, chopped
    • okonomi sauce
    • kewpie mayonnaise
    • bonito flakes
    • ao-nori or furikake
    • canola oil
    • For the okonomiyaki:
    • Mix the flour and dashi together. Add to the chopped cabbage and scallions and add the eggs. Mix well. Add the chopped octopus, if using.
    • Heat some oil on a griddle or a large pan. Make four mounts of the cabbage mixture (work in batches) and shape them like pancakes. Top with slices of pork belly.
    • Cook on medium heat until golden brown and flip over, about 7 or 8 minutes per side.
    • Top with okonomi sauce, kewpie mayonnaise, bonito flakes and ao-nori or furikake.
    • Serve hot.
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  • jenjenk

    my FAVORITE kind – Kansai!!  :)

  • Alessio Fangano

    Sounds like perfect for my breakfast tomorrow! :D I suppose you deliver with the teleport device I gift you, right?
    Pity I can’t find dashi or bonito flakes around here sigh :(

  • http://vanillasugarblog.com vanillasugarblog

    lol “sea monkey”
    zenman this is just perfect.
    what a stunning photo.
    the last photo is the best, i mean they’re all good, but that last one is just killer.
    submit the last one to foodporndaily.com  for real.

  • http://twitter.com/girlmissing elle marie

    Homemade is the best, isn’t it? Have you tried it with Tenkasu?

  • Anonymous

    Tenkasu are the little tempura bits, aren’t they? I haven’t tried it but I still have half a cabbage left. Tomorrow!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! I like it too but I just couldn’t decide which one to put on top. 

  • Anonymous

    The teleporting booth ran out of batteries!! :)  

  • Anonymous

    The teleporting booth ran out of batteries!! :)  

  • Haumea

    Chef, maika’i loa!!! A friend was asking about this….mahalo for your version Now to just get the things I don’t have. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/UnrivaledKitch Kimberly Fujitaki

    So good. I love Okonomiyaki but when my Bachan(grandma in japanese) used to make it for meas a kid it was much plainer but I’ve had it both ways and its still delicious oh childhood! :)

  • http://pickyin.blogspot.com pickyin @ LifeIsGreat

    Pork belly and octopus are my two favorite things to eat. Do you make your own dashi?

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Singe de mer? Singe de mer? Non mais tu sais ce qu’il te dit le singe de mer? Qu’est ce qu’il ne faut pas entendre sur ce blog. Tac, on t’annonce un post sérieux sur de la gastronomie japonaise, tu t’attends à des développements savants sur l’entrecroisement de la tradition de la nourriture de rue avec les exigences de rapidité de la vie moderne, tu te prépares même à t’ennuyer un peu et pof, qu’est ce qu’on te balance, des singes de mer. Ce blog est un scandale. J’appelle la police des blogs de cuisine, ça va chauffer. Ah, et puis le lobby des singes de mer. Je serais toi, je vérifierais que j’ai bien fermé ma porte ce soir avant d’aller me coucher. C’est vicieux les singes de mer.

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Simply perfect. You’ve done it again :) Pork belly and tentacles… yes please.

  • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

    Hahahah leave it to you to dress up an okonomiyaki and make it look like a work of art! I like putting bonito flakes in my okonomiyaki as well as on top of it, and it’s good with some beni shoga (red ginger) in it too!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it’s too easy not to make fresh. 

  • Anonymous

    heeheee… je suis tordu de rire! 

  • http://twitter.com/anamnesisss Rochelle Ramos

    I’ve got to try this! I’ve never had it before, but have heard of it, and didn’t know what the ingredients were until now (mmm octopus and cabbage in a pancake shape, what’s not to like!) It seems pretty straight forward and looks fantastic :)

  • http://chefpandita.com Yuri

    Thanks so much for this recipe, as usual amazing photos :)  I love okonomiyaki, kewpie mayo is the best!

  • http://www.katherinemartinelli.com Katherine

    I’ve never heard of okonomiyaki but these look amazing! The photos are absolutely gorgeous as always!

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    Octopus and pork belly in okonomiyaki? Yes, please. How come the restaurants here don’t offer this combination? :( You need to come over to London and open a Zen-staurant. I promise to be your most loyal customer.

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    Octopus and pork belly in okonomiyaki? Yes, please. How come the restaurants here don’t offer this combination? :( You need to come over to London and open a Zen-staurant. I promise to be your most loyal customer.

  • Marc

    Even though your a trained french cook, you really get japanese food accessible to the north american guy like me. It looks terrific, now I just want to eat soba, ramen, dashi and bonito on my day off.

    Thanks, keep it up!

  • http://thrillainmassalia.blogspot.com/ windy marseille

    yum!!!!

  • Winson

    how do you make dashi?

  • http://www.straightupwitholives.com Betsy

    looks gorgeous an delicious!

  • Anonymous

    why did it take me so long to come back and visit? i LOVE okonomiyaki, esp osaka style.  want to meet up in japan again?

  • http://www.thelittlefoodie.com Mariko

    I like bacon, egg, and mochi myself (as the topping). I had some that was as light as air, from a Japanese place in town, and I have been obsessed with trying to recreate it ever since. Mine is always dense. How is this recipe with texture?

  • Anonymous

    It has a fairly dense texture but still very tender. I think to get it as light as air you should consider beating the eggs until very fluffy before incorporating them to the cabbage mixture. 

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  • Anonymous

    This is one of my very favorite things to eat in Japan. Any time we travel to Kamakura, we go to our favorite Okonomiyaki restaurant and leave completely full of food and saké. It’s pretty wonderful…

  • http://www.vodkitchen.com Jon Van Dalen

    Just returned home from Osaka. We loved eating Okonomiyaki there. Looking forward to trying a home version sometime soon.