In truth, it wasn't until recent that I have ever heard of Okonomiyaki, a type of savory pancake or fritter, found as a popular street food in Japan, made predominately with cabbage and bound together with a wheat gluten, in this case breadcrumb, egg and scallion. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "how you like" or "what you like", and yaki meaning "cooked".
Now, I didn't discover this delicacy from any exotic trip to Japan sadly, that adventure is planned for many years from now with my oldest before she heads off to college, which we talk and dream about often. Rather accidentally in fact, I discovered the existence of these beautiful fritters, while meal planning and looking for something easy to make, flavorful and vegetable filled. I searched and searched and then found it, Okonomiyaki! I did a little research, to come up with a plan of how to execute this dish. The next day, I headed off to collect what was needed and to maintaining a scene of traditional, I went to the local Japanese market to get some very specific items which included Okonomi sauce, a sweet and tangy Japanese style "barbecue-es" condiment, some Kewpie mayonnaise and a fresh jar of Furikaki, which is a rice seasoning that comes in a variety of flavors. The one I selected was studded with nori, sesame and bonito flakes. I also grabbed all the fresh ingredients I needed while I was there and some fresh sea food as well to round out the meal.
Making this dish was as easy as as it could be. All ingredients in the bowl, mix and let sit. Next get your skillet hot with some oil and fry them off. Lastly, top them with your sauces, seasonings and garnishes. That's it! Tasty, tasty and a fancy meal at home while dreaming of future adventures.
Japanese Cabbage Pancake - Okonomiyaki
6 cups shredded Napa cabbage, sliced thin. 6 large eggs, beaten 2 ¼ cups panko breadcrumbs, plain 1 bunch scallion, roots removed, sliced thin (approximately 1 cup) 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds 1 tsp kosher salt and pepper to taste Oil for frying, added in 2 tbsp additions
In a large mixing bowl, add shredded cabbage, eggs, scallions, panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the cabbage to soften and allow for better binding.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once pan is heated, drop portions of cabbage mixture in approximately ½ cup packed portions and press down with a spatula into a disk. Cook each side of pancake until evenly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes each side. Transfer cooked pancakes to a paper towel lined plate or tray. Repeat process, with additional oil added to the pan as needed, until all mixture has been cooked. You should have about 9 pancakes.
For a traditional serving, top each pancake with a drizzle of Okonomi sauce, Kewpie and season with Furikake and scallion. Eat warm and enjoy!
~Makes approximately nine portions.
Print Recipe Below