Chorizo no Okonomiyaki (Japanese Omelette/Pancake with Chorizo)

okonchorpBefore I start talking about the dish you see above, I owe an apology to all my dear readers for the considerable break in my posting schedule due to long and busy holidays in Tokyo. As usually, my plans to write posts in advance simply didn’t work and this second trip to Japan being at least as pleasantly exhausting as the previous one, I haven’t managed to take care of my blog. I would like also to apologise for neglecting all my blogging friends and paying them visits with such a big delay. Moreover, I don’t know why but I didn’t feel like taking photos (apart from some restaurant or bar menus which are intended for my progress in Japanese, but I doubt anyone would be interested), so there will be no Japan-related post this time. I did come back with lots of new ideas, inspirations, quite a collection of tableware, food products, etc., so my stay in Japan will be in a certain way present in my future posts.

My first post after holidays in Tokyo could only be about Japanese food of course, so today I would like to present you another version of my beloved okonomiyaki, aka Japanese omelette, the dish I have had at least once a week for the last year. The name means roughly “grill what you like” and I have never been scared of modifications (see some of them below), but this one is probably the boldest and at present my favourite version of okonomiyaki (if I am still allowed to call this fusion creation by this name).

For those who have never heard of okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), it might sound a bit complicated, but it’s really very easy and quick to prepare. Its ingredients can be divided into three groups: the batter, the filling and the topping. The batter’s amount is small and it’s there only to bind the filling, which is composed mainly of shredded/chopped cabbage and sometimes includes squid, pork or tiny dried shrimp. Thin slices of pork belly are often put on top and grilled when the omelet is turned. The toppings can be adapted to everyone’s taste, but chives (or spring onion), mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce (easy to make at home), pickled ginger and katsuobushi (dried shaved bonito) are recurring items. There are two main regional types of this dish, Hiroshima-style, containing noodles, and a lighter Osaka (Kansai) style. My okonomiyaki are rather Osaka-style.

In this bold version I have modified all the three groups of ingredients, keeping only the batter in its original form. I have put bok choy (chingensai) instead of the shredded cabbage in the batter. Then, instead of the smoked bacon I have always loved on top of the omelet, I put thin slices of hot chorizo. Once the omelet turned, they became crunchy and the omelet gets soaked with their spicy juices. As for the toppings added on the plate, instead of the traditional okonomiyaki sauce, I opted for my Indian Tomato Chutney, which went perfectly well with chorizo (though okonomiyaki sauce would go well with it too). The magical dried bonito, mayonnaise and chives/green onion were a perfect pairing, though fresh coriander was also fantastic instead of chives. I have no words to express how I love this spicy fusion okonomiyaki. If you like fiery food, I strongly advise experimenting here with chorizo.

You might also like these versions:

Okonomiyaki with Bok Choy and Chicken

Okonomiyaki with Bok Choy and Chicken

Okonomiyaki with Chicken

Okonomiyaki with Chicken

Okonomiyaki with Eringi Mushrooms and Bacon

Okonomiyaki with Eringi Mushrooms and Bacon

TIPS: Okonomiyaki batter mixture can be bought in Japanese grocery shops or prepared from the scratch. I am happy to prepare it from the scratch since it takes two minutes and I’m sure it tastes better. I have seen different batter recipes and  mine is composed of an egg, some flour, some dashi (Japanese stock), salt, pepper, baking powder and, last but not least, grated mountain yam (or yamaimo in Japanese), a slimy cousin of the potato (I find it in organic or Asian shops). When I don’t have yam or dashi, I simply omit them, trying to keep the same pancake-like texture. The result is still delicious, albeit slightly different.

Okonomioyaki batter mixture can be prepared in advance and fried/grilled the following day. As an addict, I often make a double batch and have it two days in a row.

Okonomiyaki sauce is usually available in Japanese grocery shops, but personally I find it too sweet and prefer a home-made version Hiroyuki kindly taught me. It is simply a mixture of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce in proportions adjusted to your taste.

Special equipment: a big pancake spatula is very useful to flip the okonomiyaki

Preparation: 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 tablespoons oil

Batter:

5 slightly heaped tablespoons flour

30 ml (about 1 oz) dashi (Japanese stock, home-made or instant) or milk or a mixture of both

1 egg

3 cm/about 1,2 in grated mountain yam (yamaimo) (can be omitted, but then less flour should be added)

salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

(pepper)

Filling:

10  bok choy leaves and stalks (or more if the bok choy is small) chopped or finely cubed 

1 tablespoon oil

15 thin slices of chorizo 

Topping:

dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

okonomiyaki sauce (or a mixture of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce) or, if you feel like making Indian tomato chutney, it would be perfect 

mayonnaise

chopped chives or spring onions (or fresh coriander)

(chili paste, oil or sauce, such as Taberu Rayu; pickled ginger)

In a big bowl combine the batter ingredients. Add the filling ingredients (except for the chorizo!) and adjust their amount (the mixture should be very thick, not liquid and the batter should only bind the ingredients together and not dominate them).

Heat one tablespoon oil in a frying pan or on a smooth grill (called teppanyaki grill or la plancha).

Put half of the okonomiyaki mixture in a more or less round-shaped heap (you can adjust it on the pan).

Put the bacon slices on top, flatten delicately the pancake, but not too much. Otherwise it might fall into pieces when you turn it over. (My okonomiyaki is max. 1,5 cm/about 1/2 inch high)

Cover the pan and let it fry at medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes (you probably don’t need covering if you have a grill; I always prepare it on a  frying pan).

Turn the pancake over, cover once more and fry for another 5 minutes.

Repeat the same with the remaining batter.

Serve the chorizo side up, topped with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce or Indian tomato chutney, chives, dried bonito flakes and chili sauce/oil or paste, pickled ginger and whatever you want.

40 thoughts on “Chorizo no Okonomiyaki (Japanese Omelette/Pancake with Chorizo)

  1. Hiroyuki

    So, you stayed only in Tokyo and didn’t go to any other place in Japan?

    It’s always interesting to see how a non-Japanese person modifies a Japanese dish to suit his or her liking!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi Hiroyuki, yes I only stayed in Tokyo this time too, but I hope next time I’ll be able to travel outside of the capital. Tokyo is so big, there are so many things to see and to eat, I thought that this second time only I had a grasp of what Tokyo is really like… I’m one of those people who love to feel the atmosphere, sink into it… This time I was also able to speak a bit Japanese, read some kana in menus (and a few kanji too) so this trip was less superficial. I’m now ready to move further, but since I have a good friend in Tokyo I’ll probably always stay some time there too. I already have plans to travel with her next time for a couple of days!
      I hope that keeping the batter “original” lets me still call this crazy stuff okonomiyaki 😉 By the way, this time I tasted a strange okonomiyaki made with chopped negi instead of the cabbage! Very good! I also tasted the one with noodles, but it seemed really heavy. Something for colder days when one is really hungry.

  2. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    I don’t think you should apologize or feel apologetic for not posting — i travel a lot too, and often find it difficult to post. I’m sure many of us can relate to similar situation, so please don’t apologize. Blogging should be fun. Not an obligation 😀

    Love this japanese omelette — it’s making my stomach growl!!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kiran, for your kind words. You are right. It should be fun! I still felt somehow a bit guilty…

  3. nipponnin

    You were in Tokyo? Wow! I wanted to go Tokyo but it was too far from where I was. I love okinomiyaki. I didn’t have a chance to eat on this trip though. I prefer Hiroshima style but Osaka is not bad either. I will definitely try your recipe.

    Thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi Nipponnin. I was in Tokyo already for the second time. I hope visiting some other place next year though. I finally had Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki this time, but I must say it was too heavy for me and maybe not properly done because the noodles were too soft for my taste (maybe it’s the right way to prepare it?). I must try making it on my own one day!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Bonito flakes are among the most magical food products I know. When they touch a hot surface (like okonomiyaki, hot rice etc) they “dance”. Amazing! (They taste fantastic too: very smokey and fishy). Yes, you are right, it’s sometimes called Japanese pizza but since it’s fried/grilled I thought it’s closer to a savoury pancake…

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, A_Boleyn. I find bok choy more delicate here (and it doesn’t become mushy, as I was worried when I used it for the first time). Any hot sausage would be excellent here!

  4. Eva Taylor

    No need to apologize my friend we understand! I too am a big fan of these Asian omelettes and I am particularly intrigued with those beautiful thin flakes on the top, your omelette is indeed a work of art. I am very pleased that you’ve had another opportunity to visit Japan, it was about this time last year that you were there too (when we were in Europe), so I know how much you adore the food and culture; I can only be happy for you!
    I can see why you chose chorizo for this tasty fusion dish, my mouth watered as I read the ingredient list. I must say it is the texture if this pancake that makes it addictive for me, unlike anything we have in our repertoire. I know I’ll have to give this a try very soon. (Isn’t it a small world that we both posted chorizo recipes so close in time?)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Dear Eva, thank you so much for kind words and compliments. The bonito flakes are hated by many people actually! I made this omelet for my guests only a couple of times (not a very elegant dish, so it was only very close friends for a casual drink and some family members), but everyone systematically refused the bonito flakes on top after tasting one. I am crazy for this ingredient though!
      This is a very healthy pancake: the batter is there in small amounts to bind the whole thing and you put lots of vegetables inside. It’s amazing that you have also posted a chorizo recipe indeed! (Sorry, I’m still a bit lost and dizzy after my return, I have completely forgotten in just one day).

  5. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I hope you had a great time in Tokyo! I assume the weather was nice. I bet you walked, shopped, ate a lot! 😀 And I love this okonomiyaki with chorizo!!!! I know one day this kind of fusion dishes will be very popular in Japan thanks to all the creative ideas from oversea! 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Nami. Yes, it was like last time: only eating, shopping (mainly food and a bit clothes), tasting new products and dishes… Not a single temple 😉

  6. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Oh, Sissi, no apologies, please! Live your life, enjoy, explore, discover, eat 🙂 … what an opportunity for you!! So happy for you that you got to return to Japan. Are we looking at some lovely new dishware here? Well, I’ve always enjoyed your tempting versions of Japanese omelette and this one is no exception. I also appreciate how versatile this dish is — as you say, you can use whatever you have on hand and work with that but I’m guessing the chorizo tastes mighty fine here! Such a delicious addition, I can see how this would become a weekly fave. And I have to say that with your bonito flakes on top, this dish almost looks like a sculpture — a fine work of art! Beautifully unique.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Dear Kelly, thank you so much for such a kind comment. I really felt guilty not posting anything and I missed visiting my friends’ blogs, but I was totally exhausted when coming back at night, not to mention mornings when I wanted to go out quickest possible to discover the maximum of places. This is not a new plate yet, but I did bring several kilos of new bowls and plates… They will soon appear on photos I guess. Thank you for the compliments. I thought it looked rather very messy and not very appetising 😉

  7. mjskit

    Hey Girl – everyone needs a break! Sounds like you had another great trip to Japan. I have to say it again “I’m SO jealous!” I would not have said this salad was a Japanese dish, but then what do I know. I’m not use to seeing sausage, much less chorizo (which I assume is Spanish chorizo?) in a Japanese dish before. I love of the wonderful flavors, and then the crunchy bok choy stems. Thanks for sharing this because I really would like to make it. We’d love it!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, MJ, for the kind words and compliments. Oh, yes, trips to Japan are always great. You should go one day too! I’m glad you say it doesn’t look Japanese because in my opinion is one of the most universally potentially loved dish in Japanese cuisine: if it wasn’t for the bonito flakes, it could probably pass for a dish from any part of the world. I wonder when they will stop opening the 100th sushi restaurant in my city and start serving okonomiyaki 😉

  8. shuhan

    I see your Japanese travels have definitely inspired you! This looks beautiful sissi and I soooo love this dish! Everythign about it – the colours, the flavours, even the name! 🙂 Good one sissi, and I hope you had a great break 🙂

  9. elisabeth@foodandthrift

    No need to apologize, Sissi…even if we don’t travel, sometimes we need a break away from our blogs and commenting as well. I did not realize you went to Tokyo…how exciting and enriching your favorite Asian cuisine by being right there to see and taste the authentic flavors.
    I do love your omelette with the chorizo…I, myself would probably put a ‘twist’ on any foreign foods, just to put my own touch and creativity on it, but with some dishes we are wise to leave them in their original way it should be prepared!

    Would love to hear some stories and see some photos from Tokyo!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Elisabeth. You are so sweet… Unfortunately, this time I haven’t made practically any photos. I cannot explain why. I was so overwhelmed with every single moment, I tended to forget about my camera. It was my second trip and I hoped I would take more photos but it was the opposite actually. Everything is in my head, but I have lots of great new ideas I hope to experiment with.
      I think most foreign dishes can be twisted as long as they keep the main features or are called “my way” etc.. “Okonomiyaki” means “grill what you want” so I take this name very literally.

  10. Amy Tong

    I love your Japanese Omelette with Chorizo! I usually order this out than making one at home though. Good to have a great recipe on hand like this when my craving hits. OH..I miss Japan. How nice you’ve get to travel there again.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Amy. No one seems to make okonomiyaki in my city. You are lucky! Here they just open one new mediocre sushi place every month… I think I will go there every year. I’m addicted 🙂

  11. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen

    Sounds like you had an interesting time in Tokyo. I know how you feel about the photos. Sometimes, what’s happening is just too interesting to filter it through a lens. Love your fusion dish. It’s an unusual combination but it sounds like it works wonderfully!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Hester. It was exactly how I felt. Last year I spoilt so many moments with my camera only to produce mediocre photographs, I didn’t feel really like doing it again this year.

  12. Irina @ wandercrush

    There’s no need to apologise at all! Maintaining a blog is very time-consuming in the first place, but exponentially more during the middle of travels. Just consider it research when you’re too busy eating all the food in Japan 😉 Just enjoy fully and don’t worry too much about the blogosphere until you get back! Can’t wait to see all your inspired recipes upon return… I’m already loving this okonomiyaki. Funny how we’ve both just posted about the omelettes of such different cultures.

    1. Sissi Post author

      THank you so much, Irina, for your kind words. I love the idea of “research” 🙂 I have never thought about my trip this way but it’s exactly what it was. Completely food-centred. Oh, yes, of course! Your tortilla is also a kind of omelette! You are right. It is funny indeed.

  13. Katerina

    Sissi we all need a brake and if this is accompanied with vacations then it is even better! I love your omelet and I agree with you when we make a dish if it is a twist we must mention it so everyone knows which is the traditional and which one has our own personal touch! I am sure you had a great time in Tokyo!

  14. Charles

    “Okonomiyaki batter mixture can be bought in Japanese grocery shops or prepared from the scratch. I am happy to prepare it from the scratch since it takes two minutes and I’m sure it tastes better.”

    Oh yes! Just like how you can buy ready-made pancake mixture, or… even worse… pancake powder which you just add milk to. Seriously… how is that time-saving? It’s already just flour, eggs and milk! Sometimes companies really try to make things TOO simple I think!

    It’s lovely to see another version of okonomiyaki Sissi. Your delicious looking version reminds me that it’s been a *very* long time since I had it and we have TWO cabbages in the house right now. We had a red one, and didn’t eat it for two weeks, and then my wife bought another one, lol, so now we have to use two of the things so I’m thinking okonomiyaki might be on the menu tomorrow night!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Charles. I’m glad you are on my side. I have never bought the okonomiyaki mixture because when I saw what were the ingredients I thought I can easily make it on my own (and quickly). The only problem is the mountain yam because I can find it only in certain parts of the year (I have to freeze it). Okonomiyaki is at least 200% better with it though I can easily skip it.
      I must say I tried okonomiyaki with red cabbage but I don’t remember the result. You must tell me how it was!

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