Okonomiyaki is a very popular dish in Japanese restaurants, food court stores, and has even begun to pop up as street food at some markets. If you’ve been to the Eat Street Markets in Brisbane, you may have seen them selling there. The chefs will also often have the grill visible to customers so we can all see how they’re making it, and although it looks hard and requires skill, it’s actually quite easy and you can make it at home yourself for a much cheaper price.
Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake made primarily from shredded cabbage, flour, eggs, and water. It is a very versatile dish that has many adaptations and various topping options, which is why it get’s the name Okonomiyaki, “okonomi” meaning “what you like” and “yaki” meaning grilled. In Japan, the batter and toppings will differ from region to region, but the three main styles are Kansai (Osaka), Hiroshima, and Tokyo. My favourite is the Kansai style because that’s the area I grew up in, it is also the main version of Okonomiyaki and the most common around Japan; and most likely the kind that you see in Japanese restaurants in your city.
The most common topping you will find is thin pork-belly strips, but as the name suggests, you can put whatever you like. I prefer bacon and my daughter likes shrimp, so that’s the two toppings we used. But you may like to put octopus, squid, or cheese. Once you’ve added your topping and cooked the pancake, you can serve it with Okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes, seaweed, and finely chopped red pickles.
Okonomiyaki is also a fairly healthy dish, depending on what and how much toppings you add, because it’s mostly just shredded cabbage. But the flour, sauces, and toppings can add on a lot of calories so don’t eat too much.
This is also a great dish to make with your family and friends if you have a hot plate because you can all cook your pancakes together at the same time and have fun adding different toppings.