I first tried okonomiyaki in a small cafe in Brixton Village called Okan. Nestled alongside a Brazilian cafe and opposite an Italian cafe, it’s possible to sample the street food of Osaka. We were instantly taken with the dish and set about trying to recreate it. But it was Atsuko, a brilliant Japanese chef based in Shoreditch, who really showed us the tricks of the trade and this recipe is very much inspired by her cooking.
Okonomiyaki is a versatile dish – quite literally, it means “grilled as you like it”. So in this recipe, we simply used some leftovers we had as toppings, but you should feel free to vary this according to what you have to hand.
Makes 12 (2 per portion)
400g green cabbage
250g plain flour
4 spring onions
75g of sweetcorn
75g of peas
2tsp of baking powder
20g french yam if possible
A pinch of salt
300ml dashi stock (ideally chilled)
2 red peppers
150g Grated cheddar cheese
Dried bonito flakes (N.B. these contain fish so you should leave these out for vegetarians)
Aonori seaweed flakes
1. Preparing the kombu dashi:
- Prepare the kombu dashi by wiping clean a 5cm square strip of kombu and soaking it in 400ml of water for 30 minutes. Afterwards, bring the water to boil with the kombu in it, but remove the kombu just before the water reaches boiling point.
- Once the water is boiling, add the 15g of katsuobushi and let it stew for a couple of minutes. Strain out the katsuobushi and set aside the stock to chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Making the okonomiyaki
- Sieve the flour and add a pinch of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add the dashi stock slowly to the flour mix. Place the mixture in the fridge.
- Remove the core of the cabbage and shred into as thin slices as possible. Thinly slice the spring onion.
- Whisk the eggs then combine the cabbage, spring onion, peas, sweetcorn and grated yam. Then add the cooled stock mixture.
- Prepare your toppings by chopping the tofu into 2cm cubes and dicing the red pepper.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in the pan over a medium-high flame. Once it is hot, add a generous ladle of the batter to the pan. Do not flatten the mixture as this will ruin the texture.
- Add your toppings of choice to the batter. For this recipe, I added the tofu and red pepper. Sprinkle the grated cheese liberally.
- After about 5 minutes, when the bottom is golden brown, turn it over and cook the other side for a further 5 or so minutes.
- Garnish with generous amounts of okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise and a sprinkling of aonori seaweed and bonito flakes (vegetarians should skip the bonito flakes).
- Serve immediately with a side of watercress salad.
Notes: If you’ve got friends over, choose a large pan and you should be able to do three or more at the same time. We find using a paella pan works well.
© Taste Trail Limited 2015