Thursday, August 03, 2006

Japanese Savoury Pancake

In 1991 a new store came to Melbourne. A challenge was mounted to the department store duopoly of Myer and David Jones by the Japanese company Daimaru. With much fanfare it opened and offered the locals a new way to shop. No expense was spared it seemed, with Paul Bocuse coming out to oversee his name-sake restaurant and café in the complex.

Actually there were a few interesting eateries within the store - one in particular where you could watch the chefs making Okonomi-yaki - the savoury pancakes made with cabbage. In a matter of a few minutes it would be ready, it's top painted in a dark fruity sauce, and garnished with Japanese mayonnaise and bonito flakes. The bonito was especially mesmerising as they seem to come alive from the heat of the pancake, wiggling and waving, urging us to indulge.

Alas, all good things come to an end and Daimaru closed it's doors in 2002. All these thoughts came back to me as I flicked through the pages of Hideo Dekura's book "Cooking at Home" and stopped upon the photo of the much loved Okonomi-yaki. I decided it was time to re-visit those memories and make them for myself.


Japanese Savoury Pancake (Okonomi-Yaki)
(Makes 1 large or two small pancakes)

50 grams self-raising flour
¼ cup milk
¼ cup dashi (made with dashi granules)
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 spring onion, sliced
80 grams thinly sliced cabbage
4 fresh prawns, peeled and thickly sliced (you can use other types of meat, fish or vegetable)
dried bonito flakes, to serve
Japanese Mayonnaise, to serve
Tonkatsu sauce, to serve

Place the sifted flour, milk, dashi and salt in a bowl and gently stir. Add the egg and mix to combine. Finally, add the spring onion and cabbage and stir through.

Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil - to make two I used two 10cm rings. Pour the mix into the rings - it may leak out a little but don't worry, that's normal. Dot the surface with the prawn pieces and allow to cook over a low heat.

Turn over when the mix appears to be firm and bubbles rise to the surface. You should remove the rings before turning. Continue to cook, pushing down on each pancake with the spatula until the mixture has cooked through - this should take about 4 or 5 minutes.

Flip them over and brush the surface with the tonkatsu sauce before placing them on your serving dish.

Drizzle over with a little Japanese Mayonnaise and finally, sprinkle over with Bonito Flakes.


Serve and eat immediately.


If you can't find Tonkatsu sauce or feel like making your own, then this simple recipe is for you:

Okonomi-Yaki Sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
1 teaspoon caster sugar

To make - just mix the ingredients together in a bowl.

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  1. Thanks Bron - hope these make you feel better - it's another bit of internet serendipity!

  2. Oh YUM. Thank you haalo, got this via (Australian blogs news page) - your blog is very good. I'll be back!

  3. Hi Genevieve - Thanks for the link, haven't heard of that site. Hope to see you again!

  4. this sounds amazing. I tried making it at home once, and I was such a disaster I've gotten cold feet. But this makes me want to try again! Thanks!

  5. Thanks Pbr - I hope you do give it another go, it's so delicious it would be a shame if you didn't.

  6. My goodness! Your blog brings back good old memories of Daimaru! I remember eating that okonomiyaki and loving it. The chef used to crack an egg into the middle of and it was filled with seafood. Mmmm.....! Thanks heaps for the recipe!

  7. Thanks Elena - indeed he did I'd totally forgotten that but they were just lovely.

  8. Thanks for the recipe - you have my mouth watering at the idea of a vegetarian version of this - no bonito flakes, prawns, Worcestershire sauce etc. Do you have any ideas about how to adapt this recipe for a vegetarian? I'd be grateful for any ideas.

    I've eaten a vegetarian version once & loved it but I'm sad to say I didn't get the recipe. Thanks, Pamela

  9. Thanks Pamela - I really wouldn't know how to convert this recipe apart from just leaving the ingredients out. Maybe add wakame?

  10. I love this recipe and you included the sauce ingredients as well...something I have never found in Texas...Yummy Sunday afternoon luncheon for me! Thanks so much...


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