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How to Make Okonomiyaki

August 24, 2016

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WHOA! How excited am I!!! SO EXCITED!!! When I was living in Korea, I was able to learn many Korean recipes from hanging out with my friend Seokbok. Later on as I was able to read Korean, I was able to browse Korean recipes and blogposts and learn new things. Now that I’m in Japan my Japanese isn’t good enough to read Japanese blogposts or recipe sites. Now I know some of you might say, “Martina, why not just read them on English sites?” but I have to say, I noticed a big difference in Korean recipes written in English vs the actual Korean ones from people living in Korea.

So when it came to Martina’s Midnight Munchies I really wanted to share some authentic Japanese recipes with you, and although I’ve been playing around on my own, I really wanted a lesson from someone who could cook in Japan. That’s why I was so excited about meeting Togashi! He is a legit amazing chef in Japan who has cooked for many famous celebrities. While he can do super mega fancy food, we met him at our friend’s house where he was cooking up Japanese comfort food. He made us six or seven delicious dishes while we all chatted and drank together. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the kitchen with him watching him cook and asking him questions. Eventually he said he’d love to come over to our house and show me some basics. I was thrilled! So we filmed a couple dishes with him and I feel comfortable now to share some more Japanese recipes with you on Martina’s Midnight Munchies very soon!

But for now, I though it would be cool to show you what I learned from Togashi. He wants to share and spread Japanese food with the world and so he also has his recipes up on Tokyo Bytes along with some mini-instructional videos. He told me he is still working on filming more stuff!

ONTO THE RECIPE!

So here is today’s simple recipe. Togashi’s recipe is the levelled up version, and you can click on the link here! I’ll be sharing the recipe of what we made in this video together.

So first lets talk about the Okonomiyaki flour mix that I’m using. If you don’t have it, you can use just plain flour and it will be fine. You can also add some yam starch/potato starch/rice flour to add that extra bounce. I’m sure you’re also curious what is inside the flour mix to make it so special…if you actually don’t care (HA) skip down to the recipe!

The Magic of Yam: TORORO とろろ

The mix is just plain old wheat flour but it also has dried ground yamaimo powder in it which is a starchy root vegetable and a type of Japanese yam. There are many names for it: taro root, nanaimo, yamaimo, and tororo. The vegetable itself looks like a big tree branch meets a potato. When you grate it, it is called “tororo” とろろ and ends up looking really slimy and it is super duper sticky. Honesty, it looks totally disgusting like a bowl of white snot but it adds a bounce to the okonomiyaki. If you follow us on twitter you might remember I mentioned making okonomiyaki with just tororo! OH! Also one of our first EYS episodes Simon talked about eating a slimy bowl of something for breakfast! Turns out that was とろろ.

Bonito Flakes: Katsuobushi

For some reason, whenever I say “oh these are bonito flakes” most Japanese people don’t know what I’m talking about. I think this might be an English word…haha! What Togashi called it was “katsubushi” and it is a type of dried tuna that has been shaved very thinly. You saw at the end of the video we sprinkled it with those pink/brownish flakes that look like they are moving due to the heat? Well that’s bonito flakes! Inside of okonomiyaki mix there is dried and powdered bonito which is why not all okonomiyaki mixes are suitable for vegans or vegetarians.

Bacon Okonomiyaki Recipe

-7 heaping tbsp Okonomiyaki flour mix
-1/2 head of green cabbage
-4-6 stalks of green onion
-1 egg
-3/4 cup of cold water
-5-6 thinly sliced bacon strips

Garnish:
-real mayonnaise (made with egg not olive oil)
-okonomiyaki/tonkatsu sauce or BBQ sauce that isn’t smokey (optional substitution: 3 tbs of ketchup + 1 tbs worcestershire sauce +1 tsp soy sauce)
-bonito flakes

Cooking Supplies:
-large mixing bowl
-whisk
-measuring cups
-measuring spoons
-flat frying pan + fitted lid
-large flipper

Directions:

1. Finely chop the cabbage and green onions.

2. In a big mixing bowl, whisk one egg and the water.

3. Add the flour and whisk together until mixed. It should resemble pancake batter. Don’t keep whisking it until it is totally smooth or your pancake will be tough!

4. Dump in all the cabbage and green onions into the batter and mix up. It will look like there is not enough batter but the cabbage will give off water as it cooks!

5. Bacon time! Head to a large flat frying pan and cook the bacon for around 2-3 minutes on each side on medium-low heat. The bacon will keep cooking as you cook the pancake so you don’t want to fully cook it right now.

6. Drain the excess oil out of the pan before you add the batter so that the pancake isn’t super greasy. We didn’t show that in the video but it is an important step!!!

6. After you drained off the bacon grease, rearrange the bacon back into the pan and dump the batter onto the bacon. Spread the batter out evenly into a circle pattern over the bacon, pressing down so the bacon sticks to the batter. Cover the lid tightly, set it to medium heat, and set the timer to 4 minutes.

7. After 4 minutes, using the flipper, check under the pancake to make sure your bacon isn’t burning. If it looks nicely browned, flip your pancake over. Use all the skills Togashi. DO IT. FLIP IT! I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!

8. After you destroyed your pancake trying to flip it, smooth it back out into a circle (I mean…you totally did it!!! WOW!) and cook for another 3 minutes with the lid on.

9. BEEP! Time’s up! Check the centre of the pancake with a wooden chopstick or toothpick. If it comes back dry, it’s ready! If it is gooey, keep cooking with the lid on for another 2 minutes, periodically checking so you don’t over cook it.

10. Dump it onto a cutting board. Cut it up into pieces and place it on a plate. Coat it in the sauce, mayonnaise, and sprinkle on bonito flakes. This part is really up to your taste, but Japan really does love mayo. The mayo in Japan is actually really amazing and tastes different than North American mayo!

——

That’s it!! Once you make it once, it is so easy to make. You can substitute SO MUCH! For example, you can chop the bacon into thin slices and cook it that way. You can add shrimp. Scallops. Cheese. The world is yours to discover! Or you can re-watch our Okonomikayi video we filmed in Tokyo and be inspired from that video.

In order to try to do something for all our vegans viewers (we didn’t forget you!) we also had Togashi teach us a super simple vegan version of okonomiyaki with just green onions. Add more veggies and seasoning if you like! Is there vegan BBQ sauce and mayo…there is right? I must know!

Enjoy the videos and let me know if you make it and how it turns out!

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How to Make Okonomiyaki

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  1. Hey Martina! I know I’s super late to the game here but I just tried this last weekend for the first time and it turned out amazing! Just made it again today (the bacon version) and since I’ve been having some eye trouble I wound up using a pan that was way too small for the amount of batter xD Still delicious! I need to start experimenting with different ingredients! Thanks so much for this, if I can cook this anyone on Earth can.

    2 years ago
  2. This is something my husband has been wanting to try for ages. He put the whole veggie mix and couldn’t cook it right because it was so thick. We’re thinking next time to cook it in smaller, thinner, batches. Even with the mess up he said it was amazing.
    I am super sensitive to vegetable smells and didn’t try it, much to his annoyance.
    Thank you Togashi-san, Martina, and “Simon” for the recipe!

    2 years ago
  3. I finally tried this recipe out, I think I bought a monster head of cabbage or something. Because half a head was the size of my largest frying pan (and quite thick) I had to place my other frying pan on top to cover it. And flipping normally was impossible so I had to flip it between frying pans…it was still delicious but took a loooooooong time to cook.

    My next attempt will be 1/4 head of cabbage.

    2 years ago
  4. Red

    We had this for dinner tonight! Except I’m apparently incapable of cooking in small/per-meal batches, so we’re probably also having it tomorrow, since there’s only my husband and I (oops. In my defense, the other half head of cabbage looked so lonely before I doubled the recipe). For some reason, even though looking at the recipe, one could expect it, from the video, it didn’t register with me just how green and cabbagey it still looks/is. Brilliant way to get him to eat more vegetables, though, even if it is covered in spicy mayo (can’t seem to find a good commercial one, so I just mix gochugaru into regular mayo) and tonkatsu sauce. My former go-to attempt was just kimchijeon, or the ever kid-friendly “Eh, I’ll just cover it in cheese sauce.”

    Looking at the finished product, I was nervous about how well it would hold together in the wedges, but I was actually able to eat it like a slice of pizza. This was far more exciting to me than it should have been.

    Also, since I couldn’t find any bonito/katsubushi in my local stores, I just got some nori/gim all toasty and crumbled that over it. I figured getting that fish-esque flavor in there would still give me the general type of flavor I was supposed to have for the whole pancake.

    Considering that with the bacon and toppings included, it only ran me about $1 per plate full (half a pancake to fill my medium frying pan), I think we’re going to be making this semi-regularly. Thanks for showing us this!

    2 years ago
  5. Bex

    I attempted a gluten free version of this with great success! The tapioca starch/potato start blend of flour I used gave it a really great consistancy with the cabbage. Though, because GF flour doesn’t expand the same way normal flour does I felt the cabbage>flour ratio was a little off. I’m going to double the batter next time.

    Thank you for doing this segment! I would love to see more recipes of things that you love as well as inviting Togashi back in the future!

    2 years ago
  6. MLE

    Is there a reason for not adding cabbage into the vegan version? And could you still add grated nagaimo/tororo to the mix to make it fluffier?

    2 years ago
    • Red

      I can’t say for sure, but my guess would be that it wouldn’t hold the weight of the cabbage together well enough without the egg to act as an additional binder.

      2 years ago
  7. I just made the regular/bacon version, sans bacon. I had dashi powder, so I added it to regular flour since I had no way to approximate what okonomiyaki flour would be like. It turned out AMAZING!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BJp8JDEApP-/ in case you want to see! Thank you so much for posting this!

    2 years ago
  8. I can’t wait to try this out!

    2 years ago
  9. Hi Martina! This was a super video and I was so inspired that I made an okonomiyaki tonight to go with our vegetable sushi rolls. It was even easier than it looked! I only had half the bacon and when I looked at the pan, there was almost no grease anyways and I thought FOR SURE the batter would stick to the pan but it DIDN’T and I was able to flip it like a PRO! Whehoo! Getting it out of the pan at the end though…..well almost. ^^; I didn’t have cabbage so I just added more green onion (like the vegan version) and a little cheese and it was super fantastic with hoisin and mayo on it. Thanks so much for this video, I look forward to more. I especially liked the cooking cam shots and Simon’s naughty looks for stealing the food – LOL! I am sure that he was watching your face during editing to see your reaction – heh heh! BTW, I realize that these videos have to be scripted to a certain degree but this one felt really easy, whimsical and spontaneous, so great job again.

    2 years ago
  10. Timer is set for the last two minutes! Everyone CROSS YOUR FINGERS! ALL OF THEM!

    2 years ago
  11. BBQ sauce is vegan!! Unless, of course, it’s sweetened with honey. And mayo is just fat with oil, so you can make it vegan by mixing something like almond milk and sunflower oil. It’s pretty easy! And I’d like to know more specifics about the kind of flour he used for the vegan one and if it really wasn’t some special pan. :p

    2 years ago
    • The traditional recipe for mayo is not vegan- mayo is made with eggs. There is a new vegan kind of mayo out called Just Mayo that you can buy in stores, but any other mayo is going to contain eggs, and thus not be vegan.

      2 years ago
  12. Great video, but you didn’t teach us how to flip without making a mess.I will pass on a tip I saw on Food Network. Practice at your friend’s house,or use a cold,dry pan and a slice of bread.

    2 years ago
  13. I looked up the ingredients for Japanese mayo. I’ve been making Japanese mayo for a couple of years now. Lol. I can see myself making this.

    2 years ago
  14. Or you can re-watch our Okonomikayi video we filmed in Tokyo and be inspired from that video.

    Got a little typo there.

    2 years ago
  15. Yes there is vegan mayo. I found a Japanese vegan mayo it is Kewpie no egg mayonnaise and the site just incase anyone is lookjing for some. The site also has a niulife coconut bbq sauce. http://www.crueltyfreeshop.com.au/products/kewpienoeggmayonnaise

    2 years ago
  16. Ok, now I’m hungry!

    2 years ago
  17. I like to make my smaller and that way I can flip them with a spatula :D and I like to add shrimp and mushrooms.

    2 years ago
  18. I’m waiting patiently for Hiroshima okonomiyaki to appear here in the future. There better be an episode on it.

    2 years ago
    • For people who don’t know and don’t want to consult Dr. Google:
      Hiroshima okonomiyaki is layered rather than mixed and often have a couple additional layers of egg and yakisoba noodles.

      2 years ago
    • Just googled ‘Hiroshima okonomiyaki’ and am now drooling. :D

      2 years ago
  19. Martina and Simon!!!!! I love you!!! Thank you for the videosssss! Just watched your video about Martina’s EDS condition and I wanna say STAY STRONG Martina! WE NEED YOU and SIMON! You guys are very important to us! Thank you for bringing me so much joy when I watch your videos! Thank you for lifting my spirits whenever I am down… Simon, you are such a hero to Martina and I thank you for being her man :D Love you guyssssss!

    2 years ago
  20. (Reading Step 7) Feeling all warm & fuzzy because Martina says she believes in me!!! ::Smiling confidence, YEAH!!:: (Reading Step 8) ::Embarrased LOLZ:: Back to Reality, this is what will definitely happen T_T. Thank you for the wonderfully easy looking recipe that I’m totally going to try this weekend! Plus, I’m **super** excited that more cooking vids for Martina’s Munchies are coming!!!!

    2 years ago
  21. I thought bonito flakes was the Japanese name for them too bc it sounds japanese (bo.ni.to) but apparently we call them bonito flakes in english bc the tuna the flakes are made from is called the bonito fish which apparently Portugese fishermen thought they tasted really good so they named them “bonito” aka good

    2 years ago
    • In Portuguese bonito means beautiful. We really don’t use it for food very often unless it’s a realy gorgeous one. If it’s based on the portuguese word it was a misunderstood or the portuguese thought it was a really sexy tuna XD

      2 years ago
    • ‘Good’ in Portuguese is ‘boa’, ‘bom’ or ‘bem’, depending on the phrase. :) If you said ‘isso é (this is) bonito!’ to a Portuguese-speaking person they would be really confused. LOL

      Apparently a few Japanese foods have Portuguese roots too…like tempura (whaaaaaaaaaaaat).

      2 years ago
  22. Thank you so much for the vegan version!! It look so easy to make. :D

    2 years ago
  23. Thank you for sharing. I have been curious on how to make and I will definitely try to make them soon.

    2 years ago