Okonomiyaki お好み焼き, or Japanese Pancake with Eringi Mushrooms and Bacon

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き ) can be translated roughly as “grill what you like” (“okonomi” means “what you like/want” and  “yaki” means here “grilled”). This thick savoury pancake with an impressive variety ingredients might look weird, messy, not very appetising and definitely not photogenic, but I can assure you it is one of the most palatable dishes I have ever had in my life. In my opinion, if well advertised and popularised, okonomiyaki could conquer the whole world, just like Italian pizza did. It has certainly won over the whole Japan, even though it has origins in Osaka and Hiroshima. For me this is another example of a typically Japanese, but universally enjoyable dish. Depending on the ingredients and toppings, okonomiyaki could satisfy even the pickiest eaters and those who are afraid of the Japanese cuisine (yes, they do exist).

As its name suggests, okonomiyaki can be prepared with practically everything. At first it looks and tastes as if the ingredients were chosen randomly. In reality, in spite of many different okonomiyaki versions, there are certain recurring items such as a thick pancake batter, shredded or cubed cabbage or grated mountain yam (yamaimo). There are also two main okonomiyaki styles: Kansai (Osaka) and Hiroshima style. Both are very well described and accompanied by detailed recipes on Shizuoka Gourmet blog. Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki contains noodles, while Osaka (Kansai) style is lighter and doesn’t include them. My okonomiyaki is rather Osaka-style (thank you, Hiroyuki).

I heard – or rather read –  about okonomiyaki for the first time on Hiroyuki’s blog on Japanese Cooking. Then I realised Robert-Gilles (Shizuoka Gourmet), Charles (Five Euro Food), Nami (Just One Cookbook) and Arudhi (A Box of Kitchen) have also posted okonomiyaki recipes. Hiroyuki’s award winning okonomiyaki included several types of  mushrooms and was vegetarian, Nami’s recipe included squid, Arudhi’s shredded beef, Charles’s recipe was surprisingly Europeanised and free-style, while Robert-Gilles has posted a whole encyclopedia of different okonomiyaki styles, including the recipes… All these fascinating posts proved extremely useful, informative and helped me to choose the ingredients for my first experiment.

Here is my very first version of okonomiyaki. I must say it will be one of the most beautiful food memories of my life. The first bite of okonomiyaki is a magical experience. It is like an explosion of different flavours, colours and  textures, which surprisingly stay in a perfect harmony. I love okonomiyaki also because it can be made with leftovers, because it is quick, healthy and because it encourages me to be creative. Thank you  so much, my blogging friends, for your for help, inspiration, detailed information and, most of all, for making me discover this extraordinary dish.

My version doesn’t reproduce any of the mentioned okonomiyaki recipes because I have picked ideas from each of them and adapted to my taste. I wanted to keep my okonomiyaki as Japanese as possible, so I used dashi, dried shrimp, mountain yam, eringi and Japanese toppings too. I am very happy I have opted for the smoked and not raw bacon because it proved excellent here. If you want to start experimenting with okonomiyaki, I advise reading attentively all the above-mentioned posts and choosing what you feel will please you most.

TIPS: I find mountain yam (yamaimo) in organic shops in France, so maybe it is also easy to find in this type of shops in other countries.

Special equipment: a very big pancake turner is very useful here

Preparation: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

Batter:

5 slightly heaped tablespoons flour

30 ml/about 1 oz dashi (Japanese stock, home-made or instant)

1 egg

3 cm/about 1,2 in grated mountain yam (yamaimo)

salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

(pepper)

Filling:

2 big white cabbage leaves chopped or finely cubed (the hard central “vein” removed)

2 handfuls chopped eringi mushrooms

5 tablespoons cubed smoked pork loin

4 tablespoons dried tiny Japanese shrimp (sakura ebi); I don’t advise other types of shrimp or dried shrimp from other countries: they might be chewy and tough

1 handful fresh mungo bean sprouts

4 thin slices of smoked streaky bacon

4 thin slices of eringi mushrooms 

Topping:

dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

okonomiyaki sauce (I used tonkatsu sauce instead and it was great too)

ao nori (powdered light green seaweed)

mayonnaise

2 tablespoons oil

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

Heat 1 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 and eringi slices on top, flatten delicately the pancake, but not too much. Otherwise it might fall into pieces when you turn it over.

Cover the pan and let it fry at medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes.

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

Repeat the same with the remaining batter.

Serve the bacon side up, topped with mayonnaise, sauce, ao nori and dried bonito flakes.

 

 

 

 

51 thoughts on “Okonomiyaki お好み焼き, or Japanese Pancake with Eringi Mushrooms and Bacon

  1. Hiroyuki

    Congratulations on your success! I’m glad that you found sakura ebi and yamaimo where you live!

    Like you said, tonkatsu sauce is good enough, but if you want to make something similar to okonomiyaki sauce, here is one suggestion:

    Combine tonkatsu sauce and ketchup.

    Here is one recipe for homemade okonomiyaki sauce, if you are interested:
    1 tbsp worcester (or chuunou) sauce
    1 tbsp ketchup
    1 tsp honey
    1 oyster sauce
    from here:
    http://cookpad.com/recipe/478138

    Note that okoyamiyaki sauce is sweeter than tonkatsu sauce.

    Anyway, I like your okonomiyaki, but I’d like it even better if it was served with a generous amount of beni shoga (red pickled ginger) and without mayonnaise (laugh)!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Hiroyuki. I am happy you aprove of my version, even without pickled ginger and with mayonnaise 😉 (I love mayonnaise too much to get rid of it here and I keep on forgetting to buy pickled ginger… I will put in in my future version because I suppose it gives a nice strong “kick”!)
      Thanks a lot for the sauce recipe (and the ketchup addition suggestion!). It’s a bit different from the one I saw on Shizuoka Gourmet blog. I will try it very soon!
      Thank you again for your inspiration and your mushroom recipe. It gave me the idea to combine mushrooms and bacon on top (I’m too carnivorous to get rid of bacon) and it was an excellent idea. I’m really having fun with okonomiyaki! When I think how scared I was before trying it…

      1. muskratbyte

        This is one of my favorites, and so easy to make! I have to have beni shoga and Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise on mine. I also like to add ao mori seaweed. One of my favorite versions was Korean style, where I substituted 1/2 of the cabbage with kimchi!

        Your versions looks absolutely delicious!

        1. Sissi Post author

          Thank you, Muskratbyte. I’m only beginning to “play” with okonomiyaki, but it’s so much fun! I have put ao nori on this one, but it’s not well visible under this huge amount of katsuobushi (I love katsuobushi). I also put mayonnaise and find the Japanese one irresistible… As for the pickled ginger, I keep on forgetting to buy it all the time… I have to try pickling some myself one day 😉
          As a big fan of kimchi, I find your Korean version very appetising! Actually I am making kimchi now! I have put it to ferment last night, so I will definitely try your version soon. Thanks for this idea.

  2. Hiroyuki

    Sorry, I found one error in my previous comment:
    Not 1 oyster sauce
    but 1 tsp oyster sauce
    (Don’t trust me when I make a comment at night (it’s 21:31 here in Japan), because I’m usually drunk then (laugh).)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Don’t worry, Hiroyuki, I haven’t noticed! If I started to prepare it I would ask you if it was a teaspoon, tablespoon or sauce from one oyster 😉
      Now you make me want to drink some shochu (and it’s not even 2 pm!).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Robert-Gilles, thank you for the compliments! And thank you once more for inspiration and all the precious information (I haven’t memorised even half of it!). I will modify this first version still checking on your and my other blogging friends’ blogs. Thanking all of you is the least I can do (I would love to invite all of you to taste my experiments!).

  3. Robert-Gilles Martineau

    I forgot to say that “real” cherry shrimps (sakura ebi/桜海老) exclusively come from Shizuoka Prefecture!LOL
    I will have to re-publish articles soon as the season will kick off end of April/beginning of May!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Oops! I think the shrimps I buy aren’t actually called sakura ebi but look similar… I’m sorry! I will check their real name next time I buy them. See? I’m not such a good student 😉

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you once more. Mission accomplished! After reading your several posts about sakura ebi I feel better informed now. (I must check if my shop imports them from Shizuoka… I have thrown away the package).

  4. Mr. Three-Cookies

    This reminds me of Korean pancake though this version is far more elaborate and complex. I think I will have Korean pancake for dinner tonight, thanks for the reminder!
    I only recently heard about tonkatsu sauce – interesting that typically non-Japanese ingredients are required to make it. It must be a relatively new sauce.
    BTW try saying the name quickly!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Mr. Three-Cookies. I have never tasted Korean pancakes, but they are on my to-do list too! Tonkatsu (breaded deep-fried pork cutlet) is not a very old Japanese dish either (on the other hand apparently it dates back to the XIXth and if one took away XIXth century European dishes, not much would be left of “traditional” cuisines 😉 ). Let’s say tonkatsu is not old on the scale of the older Japanese dishes 😉
      It’s impossible to say “tonkatsu” quickly! (Or do you mean okonomiyaki?).

  5. ping

    I’m with Mr T. I immediately thought of Korean pancake but that’s really starchy … is this the same? I have seen this in some Japanese restaurant menus but have never ordered thinking it’ll be a little too filling to have with my usual rice and something. (I can’t seem to avoid ordering rice at Japanese restaurants, don’t know why).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Ping. As I have just told Mr. Three-Cookies, I have never tasted the Korean pancake, so I cannot say. What do you mean by starchy? Very floury? I don’t think so. The batter is not very present here. I wouldn’t order it however with rice. I try to avoid combining carbs with carbs (I already have difficulties in reducing carbs even if they are just one item in a meal…).
      You are lucky your restaurants serve it. I have never seen it here.
      (Sorry I had to update this answer: I have eaten some words 😉 )

  6. Liz

    Oh, gosh, this looks (and sounds) just fabulous!!! All these wonderful flavors on top of a delicious pancake. I’m afraid I would be unable to find many of these ingredients here, but it doesn’t mean I can’t admire your masterpiece 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Liz. You should go and check Charles’s version. It is very Western and all the ingredients are available in the US too.
      I am sure this pancake tastes great even if you omit all the Japanese ingredients. This is what makes it magic too!

  7. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb

    I think so I had seen this japanese recipe on namis blog. You realy think its unphotogenic? I feel it looks gorgeous, the way you plated it I mean. Realy have to see that I can make this dish soon, have been told how special it is! thx for sharing Sissi! =)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Helene, for the kind words. I was really disappointed by the photos results. Moreover, the day was not sunny and I was hungry and impatient to eat it too 😉 I hope you can make it soon!

  8. Shannon | Just As Delish

    Reading about your description of Okonomiyaki tempts me to want one on this cold winter night (am currently travelling in China). I’ve never thought of ordering this dish, and now I can’t wait to try it when I get back to Malaysia. Being away for 2 weeks is enough, I miss cooking.. haha. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Karen (Back Road Journal)

    Your dish looks great as far as I am concerned although I know what you mean. Some dishes we prepare are so full of color that they seem to pop off the plate. Your recipe is one of those that I know I can never prepare as it is impossible to find the ingredients in rural New England. The next time I am in the Boston area I might have better luck.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Karen. This dish is most of all full of so many ingredients and doesn’t have a neat shape… I hope you can get some Japanese ingredients in Boston then. This pancake is worth trying, but even if you omit the Japanese ingredients, it would be flavoursome.

  10. sportsglutton

    It always makes my day to learn something new, particularly an regional specialty dish. This is a recipe and idea that is definitely bookmarked for “gluttonous” experimentation. Thanks Sissi!

  11. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Sissi, this is one of my favorite food! I’m so happy to see your okonomiyaki. You are right. Great part about okonomiyaki or yakisoba is that we can put pretty much anything you have (left) in the fridge! I love your picture and looks really delicious!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Nami. I am happy you like the photo. I wasn’t very happy with it and found okonomiyaki really difficult to photograph.

  12. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    My reaction is exactly the same as Mr. Three-Cookies – this reminds me of Kimchi pancakes (which I adore) only far more detailed…so many amazing flavours and textures going on here Sissi. And from your description “one of the most beautiful food memories of your life” – it sounds like it was an incredible success! (I love when that happens :)). Yup, just coming up to the dinner hour here and boy, do I wish I could reach in to my computer and enjoy your okonomiyaki… Really great Sissi.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Kelly. Now I feel I really must taste the Korean pancake! I will probably make it because I hate the Korean restaurants in my city: expensive and without atmosphere (I don’t even know if they serve pancakes…).

  13. A_Boleyn

    I still haven’t made one of these though I don’t know why. I even have tonkatsu sauce already purchased, though I could look for the okonomiyaki one, but would still like to pick up some Japanese mayo. They have packaged coleslaw mix in the market so it would be a snap to make one. I don’t know why as I really would like to try it.

    Soon .. I promise. 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Japanese mayonnaise is amazing… If it wasn’t so dangerous for my waistline, I would have it at every meal! Good luck! I’m looking forward to seeing your okonomiyaki.

  14. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

    Sissi this looks real good, and I seriously love the way you describe your dishes and how they taste! Even though I am just reading, I feel like I can taste the savory deliciousness! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Jeno. Thanks for all the compliments. I shall read your comment over and over again when I’m depressed by the level of my English (and it happens very often!)

  15. Charles

    Wow Sissi – I love the look of your Okonomiyaki, and thank you so much for mentioning me! I love all okonomiyaki in general… it’s truly a fabulous dish – so many variations, fusions and the like from all over the world, and it’s a really satisfying thing to eat too! Yours is so beautiful, and you were lucky to find the bonito flakes – the store was completely out when I made my okonomiyaki!

    I bet it was delicious – it’s making me want to make okonomiyaki again. I think if you ever come to visit here we should go to the okonomiyaki place I know near Rue St. Anne! Forget the steak – okonomiyaki is where it’s at! 😀

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Charles. To tell you the truth I have already made three or four okonomiyakis since this first one… It’s addictive! Just like bonito flakes. I love them. Okonomiyaki proposition seems much more exciting 😉 I had no idea there was an okonomiyaki restaurant there!

  16. Hotly Spiced

    What a beautiful looking Japanese dish. I’ve actually never heard of it which is surprising seeing it’s been cooked on so many blogs! Your version looks very inviting.

  17. Cooking Gallery

    I adore okonomiyaki too, even more than pizza…;)!! I am not fond of the bonito shavings, but I love it with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and nori :). You should make takoyaki next time :)!

    1. Sissi Post author

      I couldn’t choose which I prefer pizza or okonomiyaki, but I certainly know okonomiyaki is totally guiltless! I love katsuobushi that’s why there are so much of it on top 😉
      I cannot make takoyaki 🙁 I don’t have the special form… I have been looking for it everywhere.

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