Recipe of the week: Okonomiyaki Osaka-style (Japanese cabbage pancake with pork belly and squid)

26 January 2019 by
Recipe of the week: Okonomiyaki Osaka-style (Japanese cabbage pancake with pork belly and squid)

The quintessential Osaka street food, okonomiyaki toppings may vary, but squid and pork belly are popular choices. Using grated nagaimo (Japatnese yam) will make for a fluffy and light batter, or you can buy okonomiyaki flour which contains it in dry form. Okonomiyaki pancakes are easy to make and a delicious all-in-one meal.

Makes 8 large pancakes

For the batter 280g plain flour

225ml water

1tsp fine sea salt

1tsp baking powder

2tsp caster (superfine) sugar

2tsp instant dashi powder

100g nagaimo (Japanese yam), peeled and finely grated

4 eggs, lightly beaten

350g cabbage, chopped

100g kimchi, chopped

100g carrots, shredded

50g spring onions, finely sliced

25g red pickled ginger (Japanese beni shoga), finely chopped

4tbs toasted sesame oil

For the toppings 100g pork belly, thinly sliced

100g baby squid, cut into small slices

Japanese mayonnaise

Okonomiyaki sauce

Red pickled ginger (Japanese beni shoga)

Aonori (green powdered nori seaweed)

Katsuobushi flakes

Start by making the batter. In a bowl large enough to accommodate all the batter ingredients, mix the flour, water, salt, baking powder, sugar, dashi powder and nagaimo yam. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Just before frying, add the eggs, cabbage, kimchi, carrots, spring onions and the red pickled ginger to the batter. Mix well until all the vegetables are coated.

Heat a non-stick frying pan with a lid for a few minutes on a medium-low heat. Add one tablespoon of sesame oil, making sure to coat the pan thoroughly. Spoon the batter mixture into the pan to form a pancake about 15cm in diameter and about 2.5cm thick. Do not push down on it as you want a fluffy pancake.

Lay a few pork belly and squid slices on top of the pancake, trying not to overlap them. Cover with the lid and cook the pancake on a medium-low heat for about three minutes, checking after a minute or so to ensure the heat is not too high and the bottom of the pancake is not browning too fast.

Turn the heat down to low. Using a spatula, carefully flip the pancake, so the side with the pork and squid slices is now facing down. Gently press the pancake down with the spatula, cover with the lid and cook for about five more minutes.

Flip the pancake again so that the side with the pork and squid slices is now facing up, and cook for two more minutes. The pancake should be lightly browned when ready, the pork and squid cooked and the cabbage tender inside. Repeat until all the pancake batter and other ingredients are used up.

Book review: The Japanese Larder, by Luiz Hara >>

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