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Adjust Servings:
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 cups cake flour All-purpose will work too
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 Large eggs
4 cups (~1/2 large head) green cabbage finely shredded
1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp sesame oil
6 slices bacon halved
Japanese Kewpie Mayo

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Japan: Okonomiyaki

Savory Japanese Pancakes


Okonomi means "what you like" and yaki means "grilled," so colloquially this dish means "grilled as you like it."

  • 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • Easy




I have to tell you, this is one of our favorite recipes on our culinary journey so far.  In fact, this is the only dish to date we’ve made twice – “just to use the leftovers!” I justified.  It’s easy to make, and just so good!  This is a popular Japanese street food, and is sometimes referred to as Japanese pizza, but it’s really more like a pancake.  Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “grilled,” so colloquially this dish means “grilled as you like it.”  The base of these savory pancakes is cabbage, but from there you can choose whatever meat, vegetables, or seafood you want to incorporate into the batter.  Of course we went with BACON!  At okonomiyaki restaurants, diners can often see the ingredients they’ve chosen before they are scrambled and poured onto the griddle, often right in front of you.  “Grill it yourself” establishments are also emerging.  Friends who recently returned from honeymooning in Japan told me this was business man’s lunch, which makes sense – it’s quick so you can eat and get back to work quickly, and Japan is certainly a work-driven culture.

Okonomiyaki is primarily associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but can be found throughout the country, with the toppings and batters varying by region.  Thought to have originated in Osaka (the largest city in the Kansai region), the Osaka-style okonomiyaki you find in this recipe is also the common style you’ll find across Japan: the batter and mix-ins are pan fried much like a pancake.   The Hiroshima style uses three to four times the amount of cabbage, and the ingredients are layered rather than mixed together.  Both styles are topped with okonomi sauce and Japanese mayo.

“What’s the difference between Kewpie and Miracle Whip?” you might ask?  Well, it has MSG for one, which makes it delicious. It’s also smoother, creamier, and made with rice vinegar rather than distilled vinegar. It’s extraordinarily popular in Japan; in fact, according to Wikipedia, in Japan people who are known to really like mayonnaise are called mayora by their friends!  You’ll find Kewpie mayo at a Japanese grocer, but seeing as I was moderately hungover, had a post-Corn Dog Day mess to clean up, and didn’t feel like driving to U St. to Hana Market, I ordered mine same day delivery off of Amazon – the only issue was that this required buying a three pack.  Looks like we have a new mayora in the neighborhood!


Recipe Source: Lucky Rice (Cookbook)



Mix the ketchup, soy sauce, and worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and set aside.


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, slat, and baking powder. Beat in one cup of cold water and the eggs to make a thick batter. Stir in the cabbage and scallions.


In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp sesame oil over medium heat. Pour in half the batter and spread evenly. Arrange six half slices of bacon over top, pressing them slightly into the batter. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the edges appear golden and firm. Flip the pancake over and cook for another 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the first pancake in the oven to keep it warm.


Serve, drizzled with the ketchup mixture and squiggles of Kewpie mayo. Garnish with a few sliced shallions.


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