Okonomiyaki (Savoury Pancake)
Making dinner doesn't always have to be a sit-down affair, you can recreate your own "street food" from home; in my case, everyone was standing around the kitchen island helping with the eating. This dish hails from Hiroshima and is delicious! (I am yet to visit Japan one of these days) The main ingredients are flour, cabbage, and eggs; understandably, there are more ingredients required, but these are usual staples in most households, meaning you can make this almost anytime! This recipe has been adapted to what you can find in South Africa from your local supermarket, and I will provide more information on items that may require a visit to the Chinese supermarket. Remember that you can replace the ingredients as you wish, this is just a guideline to get you started. Once you feel more comfortable, get creative with your favourite flavours.
Ingredients: 120g Cake flour 200ml Dashi water (Dashi is a Japanese fish stock) 1/4 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp Baking powder 1/4 tsp Sugar
1 Medium potato, finely grated 4 eggs 800g diced cabbage (roughly 2cm X 2cm) - if you prefer a pancake with more batter, reduce to 500g. 250g Bacon bits 125g sliced Mushrooms 3 Spring onion stalks, chopped1/2cm widths 1tsp Oil, per pancake Okonomiyaki Sauce Kewpie mayonnaise Seaweed sprinkles Bonito Flakes Steps: 1. Sieve the cake flour, potato, salt, baking powder, and sugar into a mixing bowl. 2. Dissolve the dashi in 50ml hot water first and further add 150ml cold water. 3. Mix the water into the dry mixture and whisk together until smooth. 4. Add the eggs and whisk. Let the batter rest 10 minutes. 5. Add in the diced cabbage. 6. Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat and heat the oil. (My pan size is 28cm) 7. Scoop the cabbage batter into the pan, covering 2/3 of the surface area. You don't want to fully cover the pan to make it easier to flip; I use two egg turners to round and flip the pancake. 8. Immediately add a portion of mushrooms, bacon and spring onion. Then cover with a lid and fry for approximately 7 minutes.
9. Flip the pancake, cover and fry for another 3 - 4 minutes. Please note that when you flip the pancake, and it is too burnt, I recommend turning down the heat one notch. 10. Place on a plate and you are ready to add on the sauces and toppings. 11. Layer the toppings in this order: okonomiyaki sauce, seaweed sprinkles, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.
For those who cannot find okonomiyaki sauce, even I couldn't find it, so I made my own with the available ingredients in Joburg. Here is the recipe:
Okonomiyaki Sauce 1Tbsp Sugar 3 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 1 1/2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce 1 Tbsp Think sweet soy sauce 3 Tbsp Tomato Sauce (All Gold) Pictured left to right:
All Gold Tomato Sauce
Sweet Think Soy Sauce
You can adjust the acidity or sweetness level of the sauce to suit your palette, but this ratio took me back in time when I first had this pancake in Taiwan with a close group of friends, and I have not looked back since. I hope you enjoy this! Traditionally this recipe uses pork belly slices, but it is not always available; hence I used bacon instead. Remember that you can use any ingredients to your heart's desire. A popular request: Mozerella Cheese! It is too salty for my liking, but if you choose to use cheese, make sure it is grated and mixed into the batter.