Okonomi-yaki (お好み焼き) is a Japanese savoury omelette or pancake like dish, which literally means "grill (yaki) what you like/want (okonomi)". As the name suggests, it is a very versatile dish that has many adaptations and various topping options. There are however two distinct types of okonomiyaki...the Kansai (or Osaka) style and the Hiroshima style.
The Kansai- or Osaka-style okonomiyaki is made with a thick batter that consists of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam, known as 山藥 in Chinese), water or dashi, eggs, and mixed with other ingredients such as shredded cabbage, green onion, thinly sliced pork belly, shrimp, squid, etc, before it is grilled. For the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, the ingredients are cooked in layers rather than all mixed together. A crepe-like layer is grilled as the base while the other ingredients are either layered on top to cook or cooked separately before they are layered over the base.
Here's sharing with you an easy and gluten free okonomiyaki which I followed from this youtube tutorial created by Ochikeron. Grated nagaimo is not required in this recipe which makes this a simple everyday dish since nagaimo is not a common ingredient in my kitchen.
Another great thing about this recipe is that the vegetables and meat is stir fried before mixing into the batter...it's easier for me (who is not a good cook) to ensure the ingredients are evenly cooked.
My homecooked okonomiyaki turned out to be very delicious and well received. I love the taste and flavour of the homemade okonomiyaki sauce (a simple mixture of Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup and honey) combined with the Japanese mayonnaise.
After getting the hang of making the gluten free okonomiyaki a few times, I experimented with replacing part of the eggs with flour and water. The outcome was great too! The flour and water batter makes the texture more pancake-like while the gluten free version is more omelette-like.
Okonomiyaki is typically topped with bonito flakes and aonori (green seaweed flakes). Although you can either skip the aonori or replace it with finely chopped spring onions, I personally feel that it is best not to omit the bonito flakes. I bought the bonito flakes from local supermarket (Fairprice) and the aonori is available from Daiso.
I serve okonomiyaki as a side dish for dinner and it is excellent as a one-dish meal for lunch.
PS: Pardon the poor quality image of the above photos, they were taken with my mobile phone.
for the okonomiyaki:
2~3 slices of bacon (or ham)
2 stalks spring onion
100g plain flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
for the sauce:
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)
for the topping:
katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
aonori (green seaweed flakes)
- Mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
- Thinly slice the cabbage. Cut the bacon into thin strips, and slice the spring onion thinly diagonally.
- Pan fry the bacon till lightly browned. Add cabbage and spring onion. Stir fry till cabbage is softened. Dish up and set aside to cool.
- Mix eggs, flour and water in a mixing bowl till it forms a smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add the cooked vegetable mixture and mix well.
- Heat cooking oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Spoon half of the batter into the pan and spread it to form a circular shape.
- Cover with a lid and cook on low for 3 minutes or till golden brown. Flip* it over, cover, and cook the other side for 3 minutes or till golden brown. (*Note: to make it easier to flip the pancake, I slide it from the frying pan onto a large plate, then tilt and turn the plate to flip the pancake back into the frying pan.)
- Slide the pancake onto a serving plate. Repeat with the other half of the batter.
- Spread half of the sauce onto each panacke. Drizzle top with mayonnaise, then sprinkle with bonito flakes and aonori.