Wednesday 13 January 2021


Ok, disclaimer first - this recipe requires a visit to an excellently stocked Japanese or Asian supermarket as well as the time and patience to find the slightly random and to normal western cooking unknown ingredients. Then again what else is there to do at the moment than go to the supermarket, so why not make it a bit more fun than the standard trip to the Sainsbury's down the road!

I found everything at the Japan Centre, which is located in the deserted ghost-town like part of central London that used to be buzzing Soho, and I did end up spending a little extravagantly on all the fancy imported ingredients (powdered seaweed anyone?!) but then once again what else is there left to do in full bleak lockdown than spent money on good food and good drinks, especially as I have always wanted to make Okonomiyaki at home!

For those unfamiliar, an Okonomiyaki is made from seasoned flour, cabbage, various fresh meats and vegetables, mixed together and cooked in a frying pan just like a pancake.

The version I made then gets flipped over onto some grilled yakisoba noodles and everything gets topped with lashings of sticky Okonomiyaki sauce, the rather addictive special Japanese Kewpie mayo (made with only the yolks, opposed to Western mayonnaise which typically uses the whole egg and which results in an almost custard-like texture of the Japanese version), "dancing" bonito flakes (simmered, smoked and fermented skipjack tuna flakes which will appear to move when hitting the hot pancake), finely ground seaweed (aonori) and pickled ginger!

It takes a bit of practise flipping your creation and I would recommend having two spatulas handy, I didn't and had to literally air flip the pancake onto the noodles which was quite nerve-racking, but overall making your own Okonomiyaki is a super fun and tasty way to have a Japanese inspired dinner and my end result came pretty close to the ones I have enjoyed at authentic Japanese joints in the past. 

My dream trip of a lifetime to Tokyo may have to remain a dream for the foreseeable future but with a little fantasy, my plate of Okonomiyaki did offer a brief escape from everyday mundanity right now.

Serves 1 for a generous main course


  • Meat / seafood toppings of your choice- I went for 150g king prawns but you could also go for pre-cooked bacon rashers



  • Mix the okonomiyaki flour and the water together and set aside.
  • Chop the cabbage and spring onion into fine pieces and add to batter mix.
  • Add the egg and mix until everything is evenly combined. 
  • Take care not to over-mix, or this will result in a tough and chewy pancake.
  • Heat up a frying pan or hotplate with a little oil on medium high heat. 
  • Pour the okonomiyaki batter into a round pancake shape in the centre of the pan. 
  • Cook the pancake for 3-4 minutes until the bottom is light brown.
  • Meanwhile fry up your yakisoba noodles in another pan, ready to flip the pancake on to these when cooking the other side.
  • Once the bottom of the pancake is cooked, add any toppings to the top and flip over the yakisoba noddles to finish cooking. 
  • Do not press down with a spatula or the pancake will not be light and fluffy. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes and remove from the pan when finished.
  • Smother with lashings of okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, sprinkle with bonito flakes, aonori seaweed and a portion of pickled ginger.

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