Home-made okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki are the Japanese vegetable pancakes you see at most Japanese take away restaurants. In Australia, at those restaurants, they are often relatively bland, consisting primarily of potato and cabbage, but they’re still delicious because they’re drizzled with a semi-sweet sauce and mayonnaise, then topped with seaweed flakes and sesame seeds. There was a restaurant I went to in Melbourne Central, specifically because of how delicious their okonomiyaki were. Once I’d tried one made with more exciting vegetables, I couldn’t turn back. I was devastated when they took them off the menu.

Anyway, tonight was one of those nights when I didn’t quite know what I was going to have for dinner. My beloved was going out to comedy, so I wouldn’t need to appease his palate. Looking in the refrigerator, I pulled out some ingredients that needed using, and still inspired me in some way. I couldn’t be bothered butchering the duck, so I discounted that idea. I had some red cabbage and carrot. I thought about cooking eggs, and then… BAM… it hit me! I should make okonomiyaki! I have all the right seasonings in the pantry. I even had some pickled ginger left in the fridge. As long as you don’t mind cutting vegetables, it’s pretty easy to make. And man, was it TASTY! This rendition is more vegetable than pancake, but I very much like it that way. You could add shredded potato if you wanted to, I didn’t have any potatoes, and don’t think they were missed.

Home-made okonomiyaki

Home-made okonomiyaki

Serves 4 as a starter, or 2 as a meal

1/4 cabbage
1 carrot
12 green beans
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk or vegetable stock
oil, for frying
1-2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (Kewpie would be best)
1-2 teaspoons seaweed flakes
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
pickled ginger, to serve

Finely slice the cabbage. Remove the top and tail of the carrot. Finely slice the carrot on the long blade of your vegetable grater, then cut into matchsticks. Top and tail the green beans, then slice thinly at an angle.

Combine the flour, salt, eggs and milk (or vegetable stock) in a bowl and whisk till thoroughly combined. Mix through the vegetables till they are thoroughly coated in the batter.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Scoop a portion of the mixture into the pan, arranging into a circle. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until it’s golden underneath and it holds its shape naturally. Flip the okonomiyaki over and cook till golden on the other side too. If you’re worried about the vegetables cooking through, cover then frying pan with a lid in the middle of cooking, making sure to recrisp both sides before serving. Remove the okonomiyaki from the pan.

Drizzle the okonomiyaki with teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise, then sprinkle with seaweed flakes, nigella seeds and sesame seeds. Serve with pickled ginger.

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