Takoyaki and okonomiyaki have this magnetic pull on me when it comes to street food. They’re like the dynamic duo of Japanese street eats. Speaking of okonomiyaki, it’s a savory pancake that has its own unique charm compared to other pancakes I know like the British, French, or even Mexican counterparts.
British pancakes like drop scones or the traditional ones are a sweet dish, often served with a sprinkle of sugar or honey. Okonomiyaki, on the other hand, is a savory dish with different fillings like shredded cabbage, and eggs, and topped with whatever strikes your fancy—often including mayo, or bonito flakes. It’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth.
What sets this savory Japanese pancake apart is the customization. The name itself translates to “cooked as you like it.” From the traditional okonomiyaki recipe, you can create any style and version you want. You can throw in bits of seafood (prawn, octopus, shrimp), meat (pork, chicken), tofu, noodles, or cheese to make various variations with different flavors.
As I took my first bite, I understood why okonomiyaki has become a beloved street food in Japan. The combination of textures, the medley of flavors, and the communal experience of grilling it together made me want to recreate this Japanese pancake at home. And I did. But instead of frying it with a pan, I baked it in the oven. And this is how to make okonomiyaki – a Japanese savory pancake.
Okonomiyaki – Japanese savoury pancakes
For the pancake
- 2 cups gluten-free flour almond flour
- 1 ½ cups dashi stock or substitute with chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 cup mixed seafood shrimp, squid, and/or scallops, chopped
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pickled red ginger beni shoga, chopped
- 1/4 cup tenkasu tempura crumbs
For the toppings
- Okonomiyaki sauce
- Japanese mayonnaise
- Bonito flakes
- Aonori dried seaweed flakes
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, dashi stock, eggs, soy sauce, mirin, and baking powder. Mix until the batter is smooth.
- Add shredded cabbage, mixed seafood, green onions, pickled red ginger, and tenkasu to the batter. Gently fold in the ingredients until well combined.
- Grease a baking dish with oil. Pour the okonomiyaki batter into the dish, spreading it evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked through. You can test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center; it should come out clean.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Drizzle okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise over the top. Sprinkle bonito flakes and aonori for added flavor and presentation.
- Slice the baked okonomiyaki into wedges and serve immediately.