Having lived in Osaka for a number of years I am very fond of food from that region. In my opinion Osaka has the best food in all of Japan. One of Osaka's signature dishes is okonomiyaki. This dish is often referred to as a "savory Japanese pancake" and I suppose you could call it that, but to me that always sounded gross. Another term is "Japanese Pizza" but they have pizza so I wouldn't call it that, either. I think it's more like a really thick crepe. Whatever you call it, it's my absolute favorite dish from Osaka. I have many fond memories going to a little dive near my house run by two elderly sisters. They bickered like crazy, but always had a huge smile for me and my Japanese family and we went there often. In fact, almost weekly.
When I moved to San Francisco I could not find good okonomiyaki anywhere. It's really not a dish that appeals to a lot of Americans. Since I couldn't find it, I decided to learn to make it. Now, I cheat on this. I use a kit. I have tried a lot of kits, but my favorite is by Otafuku. I get mine in Japantown, but you can buy this kit in three-packs through ImportFood on Amazon. Besides the kit, you are going to need to buy Okonomiyaki sauce, Kewpie Mayonaise, Bonito Flakes, and aonori. All of these can be found online.
I used to be able to buy this kit with English directions but they don't seem to have them anymore. I decided to post them here in case anyone had a hankering for okonomiyaki and couldn't read Japanese. (I really can't very well, either. I just follow the pictures!) I have provided a picture below of what comes in the kit for reference.
This is really a fun meal to make and eat. It's also healthy(ish). Lucky for me Joey loves it, too, so we have it often.
- 1 Okonomiyaki Kit
- 1/2 head Cabbage chopped into small pieces
- 3 Green Onions chopped
- 2/3 cups water
- 2 ounces thinly sliced Pork (ask your butcher to slice it like bologna)
- 2 Eggs
- Okonomiyaki Sauce
- Kewpie Mayonnaise (American Mayonnaise will work)
- Bonito Flakes
- Pickled Ginger
- Heat a large skillet or griddle over high heat and brush lightly with vegetable oil.
- Add water to large bowl and mix in Yam Powder (pink package) until dissolved.
- Add Batter Mix (large clear package with orange writing) and blend until wet.
- Add green onion, cabbage, Tempura (yellow package) and eggs and mix gently until incorporated. Don't over mix.
- Pour the batter on griddle to form two 6-inch pancakes and cook for 3 minutes
- While cooking add the pork to the top of each pancake.
- Flip each pancake and cook for 5 minutes.
- Flip once more and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove from griddle and top with okonmiyaki sauce, mayonaise, aonori (green package) and bonito flakes.
- Add pickled ginger (optional)