Okonomiyaki (Japanese fritters)

March 24, 2013

Okonomiyaki (Japanese fritters)

Philippe, Tucson CSA

Fritters are a great way to use up vegetables that are lingering in your refrigerator.  Your can shred or grate just about any vegetables, including greens, mix them with flour and eggs, and turn them into delicious fritters.  The following recipe is the Japanese version of our pan-fried ritters.

Okonomiyaki is traditional Japanese dish typically made from flour, eggs and shredded cabbage, with added vegetables and sometimes fish or meats.  It is often compared to an omelet or a pancake and is sometimes referred to as Japanese pizza.  I find it to be more like fritters.  It is a very easy and versatile dish and there are infinite ways to make it.  The following recipe is by no means authentic, it’s just how I make it.  I usually make it with whatever ingredients I have on hand. It has no seasoning other then the sauce but it is nevertheless packed with fresh flavors.  However, if you want it to have an extra kick you can add black pepper, chile flakes or herbs.

The base:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water, stock, or dashi
2 eggs
½ cabbage, shredded.  You can also use bok choi or napa cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil

Other ingredients – add 2-3 cups of a combination of two or more of the following: chopped green onions, bacon, ham, thin slices of pork or beef (pre-cooked/sautéed), fish, shrimp, chopped greens, sliced mushrooms, nori flakes (dried seaweed), corn, grated carrots, green beans, grated summer squash, grated sweet potatoes, grated turnips, … grated anything really.

Toppings:
Mayonnaise
Okonomiyaki sauce, soy sauce or Worcester sauce

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, eggs and water or stock.  Add the cabbage and the other ingredients.  Mix gently until everything is well coated with the batter .

2. Heat oil to medium hot in a large skillet.  Pour the mixture in a large skillet and press it down firmly.  I try to make it about ½ inch thick.  Cover and cook for 4 minutes.  Flip (I usually slide in on plate, cover with another plate, flip it and slide it back in the skillet) and continue cooking for another 4 minutes.

3. Slide onto a large plate, cut in wedges, brush wedges with some mayo, sprinkle with some sauce on them, and enjoy.

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