Let’s sit down for some pancakes.
Put away your pure Vermont maple syrup, unsulphured blackstrap molasses, and sorghum syrup. You won’t need butter, but we will include a couple eggs.
That’s where the overlap stops.
How about cabbage for a start?
Scroll down to see more photos and read more about Okonomiyaki: Japanese Savory Pancakes.
“Fifteen years after my trip to Japan, tasting this okonomiyaki is like a return to Japan—absolutely delicious! The grilled shrimp has a nice flavor and texture. It all goes so well with the takuan (yellow radish)!”
Last I checked, it’s still spring, the best time to eat Japanese cabbage. The green leaves are so tender, juicy and sweet. One of the best ways to enjoy Japanese cabbage is to feature this spring vegetable in okonomiyaki, or Japanese savory pancakes. And the perfect sidecar to this beer food is—I just gave it away.
Suddenly, this kitchen is full with hungry, eager guests.
On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, Lisa, my mom, our friend Scott, and I prepared our first okonomiyaki together. Of course, my mom has made and tasted okonomiyaki. Scott and I have tasted okonomiyaki. Lisa never.
The last time Scott enjoyed okonomiyaki was when he was in Japan 15 years ago. He remembers it so well that he practically levitates like a yogi and beams like the Nekobasu (Catbus, from “My Neighbor Totoro”) as he recalls his travels. Scott actually preferred the Osaka recipe as opposed to the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. Unfortunately, Scott made known this fact when he was near Hiroshima, as he stood in front of a classroom of local children when he was asked which okonomiyaki he liked best, “Osaka recipe or Hiroshima style?”
When in home, always root for the home team. That lesson was returned cold from the kids to the front of the room.
“Mmm!…I’ve never had okonomiyaki before! I love the cabbage—fresh, light and delicious. All the flavors come together. The shrimp is spectacular. The char adds a lot of flavor. Okonomiyaki tastes great with Japanese beer!”
Today’s recipe comes from Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit, based on the traditional okonomiyaki recipe, which is not so heavy on the batter. The kit is extra helpful in that the yam powder saves so much prep time while still giving the batter that nice texture.
Okonomiyaki – Traditional Recipe:
- Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit (okonomiyaki batter mix, yam powder in pink bag, tempura crisps in yellow bag, and green seaweed in green bag)
- Otafuku Okonomi Sauce
- 1/2 cabbage (chopped)
- 2.8 oz. your choice of protein (pork, shrimp, or extra firm or grilled tofu)
- 2 eggs
- 0.4 oz. green onion (chopped)
- Other toppings of bonito shavings, red pickled ginger, and Kewpie mayonnaise
- Chop soft cabbage leaves about 1.2 inches long and 0.1 inch wide.
- Chop fine green onions about 0.08 inch, and slice pork in lengths of 6 inches, or chop shrimp or tofu in small chunks.
- For the batter, add water (5.4 fl. oz.) to a large bowl, followed by the yam powder. Mix until smooth and dissolved. Add the okonomiyaki batter mix and combine until smooth.
- To mix with the other ingredients, add the chopped cabbage, green onion, tempura crisps, and eggs into the batter mixture. Stir lightly with a spoon, being careful not to over mix.
- Pre-heat a pan to about 400° F or medium-low heat. Lightly coat the pan with oil such as salad oil.
- Pour the batter recipe into the pan for the first of two okonomiyaki pancakes. Spread the okonomiyaki pancake into a circular shape about 1-inch thick.
- Add the protein, and cook for approximately 3 minutes or until the bottom turns golden brown.
- Flip the okonomiyaki pancake. The protein side should be sizzling on the pan now. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes or until the protein is cooked.
- Flip the okonomiyaki pancake one more time, and cook for another 2 minutes without the cover.
- Plate the okonomiyaki pancake, and top with Otafuku Okonomi Sauce nice and evenly. Sprinkle green seaweed, etc. for full flavor.
My mom provided great help making okonomiyaki. She had a good touch for the toppings after Lisa worked the mixture bowl and cooking pan. Scott was our guest and inside commentator. We ate our beer food sitting at home stateside, not standing on the street in Japan. This gave us ample time to articulate our impressions.
“Natsukashi (brings back good memories)! The Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit is the easiest way to make okonomiyaki. I taste sweetness from the cabbage. Spring cabbage is best. The shrimp is already cooked, so the okonomiyaki cooking gives it nice texture. The pickled red ginger gives it that zing. This is actually a healthy recipe!”
Scott: “Fifteen years after my trip to Japan, tasting this okonomiyaki is like a return to Japan—absolutely delicious! The grilled shrimp has a nice flavor and texture. It all goes so well with the takuan (yellow radish)!” Mom: “Natsukashi (brings back good memories)! The Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit is the easiest way to make okonomiyaki. I taste sweetness from the cabbage. Spring cabbage is best. The shrimp is already cooked, so the okonomiyaki cooking gives it nice texture. The pickled red ginger gives it that zing. This is actually a healthy recipe!” Lisa: “Mmm!…I’ve never had okonomiyaki before! I love the cabbage—fresh, light and delicious. All the flavors come together. The shrimp is spectacular. The char adds a lot of flavor. Okonomiyaki tastes great with Japanese beer!” And me: “I’m so excited by the flavors and textures of okonomiyaki coming together! I’m amazed by how little batter is needed to form the pancakes. The shrimp tastes so good with the char. I wouldn’t know this is made from a kit!”
Why wait 15 years for that return visit or first experience in Japan? It couldn’t be more simple with Otafuku Okonomiyaki Kit. The next time you find yourself in rural Japan, standing in front of a classroom of kids sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the right answer from you, just remember this:
Give ’em what they want. And what everyone wants is the best okonomiyaki.
To learn more about Okonomiyaki: Japanese Savory Pancakes, visit Okonomiyaki – Otafuku
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