Servings: 4 Prep: 15 min Cook: 15 min Total: 30 min
This is a strange recipe. It’s a strange Japanese Pizza-Pancake, called “Okonomiyaki”. (Oh-Koh-Noh-Mee-Yah-Kee) The word is a combination of two words Okonomi+Yaki, meaning “What You Like” + “Grilled”.
My little brother attended college in Tokyo. He continued to live there for about 3 more years. This is where we were introduced to Okonomiyaki. I’d never heard of it, prior to visiting my brother in Japan. Okonomiyaki is basically pancake batter, mixed with eggs, cabbage, pickled ginger and scallions. Then, different fillings are selected and added, such as: pork, shrimp, cheese, kimchi, etc. This is all blended together and then poured onto a hot surface to cook, much like a large thick pancake. It is then brushed with Okonomiyaki sauce (kind of like BBQ sauce), Japanese mayonnaise, bonito flakes (thin shaved dried fish flakes) and seaweed flakes.
My family loving refers to it as: Ohmigawdwhaddizit!
When I think about Okonomiyaki, I’m somewhat reminded of “quiche”. Quiche, to me, is where leftovers, the little cheese ends and partially chopped up vegetables roaming around my fridge all wind up on weekends (now more as crustless quiches/frittatas). These little egg pies are a wonderful way to glue all those ingredients together for a hot, seemingly fresh breakfast delight!
I see Okonomiyaki in much the same way. It’s a random and always changing collection of ingredients, which are folded into a batter, then cooked on a flat grill-top surface. In my eyes, it’s the Japanese equivalent of leftover pie!
When I made my little mini-crab cakes, I felt like I’d found a new way to make Okonomiyaki, as well! I started thinking about it, and arrived at what follows. Being quite proud of my idea, I invited my brother over to try out my Okonomiyaki. I think he was impressed by how it turned out. He definitely said that it looks just like it would in Japan. He took his plate and gobbled it up!
In the end, he described it as the worst Okonomiyaki that he’s ever had, sad to say. However, it’s also not a “true” Okonomiyaki. He liked it and ate it, but compared it to the real thing … in Toyko. This is not that. This is a low-carb imitation and one that, while it’s the worst my brother has ever had (SNOB!), is still quite delicious in its own right. I certainly enjoyed mine!
If you’re in the mood to try out something completely different … this recipe is “completely different”. Give it a go!
Note: One of the steps calls for laying thin slices of pork belly over the uncooked side of the pancake. I have a large Asian grocery store in Seattle and was able to pick up some thin slices of Kurobuta pork belly. This is lean and uncured. However, thin strips of a raw low-sodium bacon will work just as well!
Ohmigawdwhaddizit AKA OkonomiyakiPrint Rate
- 1/4 cup reduced sugar ketchup
- 2 tbsp japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
- 1 tbsp sake (rice wine)
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp brown sugar equivalent
- 1/2 lb raw white fish (cod halibut, sole, shrimp, scallop, lobster, etc.)
- 3 large whole eggs chilled and divided
- 1/2 cup cream heavy whipping
- 1/2 lb shrimp peeled, deveined and chopped
- 1 tbsp pickled ginger chopped
- 2 cups cabbage shredded (about 1/8 head)
- 2 tbsp japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
- 1 tbsp light oil (for sautéing ... such as coconut and sesame)
- 12 slices thin sliced pork belly or raw low-sodium bacon
- 2 whole green onions (scallions) cut into thin rings
- 2 sheets nori sliced into ribbons
- 1/4 cup bonito flakes
- Before you do anything, chill your food processor bowl and blade. The "batter" needs to be made in a cold environment.
- Whip up your batch of Okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese Mayo. Simply mix the ingredients in two small separate bowls.
- Add your white fish to your food processor (you can use more raw shrimp, scallops and/or lobster meat, as well) with a small amount of salt (about 1/2 tsp.), pepper and one egg. Turn the food processor on.
- Through the hole in the top, slowly drizzle in your cream, until it is well blended. You'll have something that looks like paste. You may need to scrape down the edges and puree for another half moment.
- Scrape your batter into a bowl, and add your remaining eggs, shrimp, cabbage, picked ginger, scallions and soy sauce. Fold these ingredients together, but not very well. It's my understanding that this is part of the charm of the dish. Just mix it until it's "mixed", but not very well.
- Heat a large non-stick sauté pan (or even better a flattop grill), over medium heat. Add your lightly flavored oil (I would suggest a coconut oil/sesame oil blend). Right as the oil begins to ripple, add enough batter for one pancake (2 if using a flattop grill or two pans). Spread the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan, to form a nice round pancake, with an even thickness. Turn your pan down to a medium-low.
- Cover the uncooked top(s) of your pancake(s) with 3 slices of bacon. Lay them flat on the surface, so that the pancake looks someone covered with raw pork belly/bacon.
- Check the bottom side of the pancake. Once it turns a nice golden brown, flip the pancake and cook the side with the pork belly/bacon.
- Once the pancake is cooked through, flip it back over, so that the cooked bacon side is facing up.
- Evenly brush half of the Okonomiyaki sauce on each pancake. This can be done with a brush, or simply the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the pancakes to individual plates. Garnish with Japanese mayonnaise, bonito flakes and nori strips or ao-nori (seaweed powder).
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