Okonomiyaki: The Best Guide to Delicious Japanese Pancakes for Otakus!

Japanese pancakes with your unique touch!

An Otaku’s guide on okonomiyaki and how to prepare it
Grand Blue, Season 1, Episode 3 || Credits: Fancaps.net

Okonomiyaki is a delicious savory pancake from Japan that everyone should try at least once! The name itself explains why: "okonomi" translates to "what you like," while "yaki" means "grilled" or "cooked."

It’s a dish that adapts to various tastes, and you may have already seen it in anime.

In this post, you’ll better understand Okonomiyaki and learn how to make it for yourself, be it for enjoyment or to impress friends at an otaku gathering!

Okonomiyaki: The Japanese Pancake

Okonomiyaki as seen in the anime Grand Blue
Grand Blue, Season 1, Episode 3 || Credits: Fancaps.net

Okonomiyaki, or Japanese Pancakes for English speakers, typically consists of a batter made from flour, grated yam, eggs, cabbage, and dashi. You can add ingredients like sliced pork, shrimp, vegetables, and cheese to this batter, customizing the okonomiyaki to your heart's content!

An interesting fact about this dish is that you cook it yourself at some restaurants! Guests are given the tools and ingredients to prepare their own pancake masterpieces.

As for its history, okonomiyaki originated in Osaka. It started as a simple snack during World War II when food resources were scarce, and people had to get by with whatever they had.

Throughout time, it evolved into the beloved dish we know today, and different regions developed their style of preparing pancakes — with the most famous ones from Osaka and Hiroshima.

Osaka Okonomiyaki Style

Japanese pancakes follow the Osaka style: Mix all ingredients with batter and grill everything on both sides. Various toppings are then added to it.

Hiroshima Okonomiyaki Style

In contrast to the Osaka style, Okonomiyaki made in Hiroshima begins with a thin layer of pancake and huge amounts of cabbages. Then, other ingredients are layered on top. Another difference is that Hiroshima Okonomiyaki takes noodles, as the video I prepared below shows.

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake) Recipe

Okonomiyaki being made in Hiroshima style
Grand Blue, Season 1, Episode 3 || Credits: Fancaps.net

If you're itching to try your hand at making okonomiyaki at home, here's a simple recipe from Wandercooks:

Ingredients

For the Batter:

  • 4 bacon slices with fat and rind removed or any other thinly sliced protein
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp dashi powder dissolved in the warm water
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cabbage finely shredded
  • 1-2 spring onion or green onion sliced (half for batter and half for garnish)
  • ½ cup corn tinned
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for cooking

Toppings:

  • 2 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp okonomiyaki sauce
  • 1 tsp seaweed flakes (aonori) or sliced nori seaweed
  • 1 tsp bonito flakes (katsuobushi) (optional)

Directions:

1. Fry the bacon until cooked through and crispy, then set aside to cool. There is no need to use oil here, as the bacon will release its oil as you cook it.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs and dashi powder (already dissolved in the warm water) and beat gently.

3. Add your all-purpose flour and cornstarch in a separate large mixing bowl. Then, pour over the egg and dashi mixture. Stir and combine until smooth.

4. Add the shredded cabbage, half of the spring onion, cooked bacon, and corn into the batter mixture. Mix until all the dry ingredients are evenly coated (but don’t overmix; we want to keep that cabbage nice and fluffy). If you notice much excess batter liquid at the bottom, add more chopped cabbage and mix through gently.

5. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add in the vegetable oil and allow to heat up. Scoop the mixture onto the pan, aiming for a circle shape about 4 inches (10 centimeters) wide. Cook each pancake for a few minutes per side until lightly browned on both sides.

6. Transfer your freshly cooked pancakes to serving plates, then top with drizzles of kewpie mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce.

7. For even better-tasting okonomiyaki, top with sprinklings of dried seaweed flakes, bonito flakes, and a few slices of green onion to taste! You can also top with the pickled ginger and Japanese seven spice.

Recipe Notes

If you don’t like the traditional ingredients or toppings, remember you can substitute them “as you like it”! For example, add thinly sliced chicken, beef, shrimp, soba noodles, or what’s available in your fridge!

You can get more details about this recipe and its ingredients at Wandercooks.

Unleash Your Otaku Chef!

Okonomiyaki is a delicious and democratic dish! Once you try this recipe or pick the style that appeals to you most, prepare to savor a taste of Japan right in your kitchen!

But your culinary adventure doesn’t have to stop here!

There are other savory and sweet recipes in this post, so you can try more food from anime! Don’t forget to share photos of your culinary adventures with me on my Otaku Community!

Images From Fancaps.net

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