Okonomiyaki is a simple, traditional Japanese pancake, known as the Soul Food of Osaka. This is a classic recipe from Mutsuko Johnson.

The Okonomiyaki pancake has been a staple food in Japan over the decades since the Second World War, although elements of the dish can be dated back to the 1500s. It is a hugely popular food, and enjoyed in Japan just like people eat and enjoy pizza here in the West. It is easy to make and can be served as lunch, supper or a snack.

There are many ways to make Okonomiyaki and this is a basic recipe for you to practice at home. This particular version includes some seafood as is typical of Japan, however it can easily be made as a vegetarian or vegan dish – just omit the elements as you wish (you can also add in other toppings as desired – this is the nature of Okonomiyaki, which translates as ‘cook how/what you like’.) This recipe makes 2-3 pancakes.

Part A – the batter: 

  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • ½ cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup water (appx.)
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cups of chopped cabbage
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • mix all of the above together

Part B – to be used later:

  • 1 cup of plain white flour
  • ¾ cup of water
  • mix together and put to one side

Part C – the topping: 

  • 1 carrot, washed and cut into thin matchsticks
  • fresh ginger (amount to your preference), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • a few pieces of hijiki or arame seaweed
  • some dried anchovies, discard the head and cut into small pieces (optional)
  • bonito flakes (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

  • Mix part A and place in a small bowl for one pancake. If you make 2 pancakes, use 2 bowls, if you make 3 smaller ones, separate in 3 bowls.
  • Heat a frying pan and lightly cover the surface with some sunflower oil, using a brush.
  • Place one serving of batter (part A) in the frying pan and cook on a low/medium flame for 10- 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place your topping (part C), carrot, ginger, hijiki, small dried anchovy and bonito flakes on top. (See the image below.)

  • Once the batter and topping have cooked for 10-12 minutes, place part B (flower and water mixed ) on the surface. (See the image below.)

  • Cook for another 8-10 minuets, pressing it down with a spatular occasionally to cook it well.
  • Once cooked, sprinkle lightly with some soya sauce (such as Clearspring’s Shoyu).
  • Serve with a garnish such as bonito flakes, aonori green flakes and some side dishes if you wish – delicious!

For the opportunity to learn to cook Okonomiyaki with Mustuko in person, join us for the Japanese Autumn Cooking Intensive, taking place at our centre in London from 13 – 19 October.

To read more details about the Japanese Cooking Intensive and register online click here.

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