The first time we tried this okonomiyaki recipe on our raclette grill, we were both noobs. I’d only tried them once before, at a night market in Taipei, and Jeremy had never heard of them. Throughout the meal, he kept trying to think of a good English equivalent. He called them Japanese pizza, Japanese pancakes, Japanese crepes, Japanese frittatas, Japanese open-faced sandwiches, and the Japanese equivalent of the epic Primanti Bros. sandwich.
In the end, we agreed that okonomiyaki is its own delicious thing. Now we order okonomiyaki whenever we see it on the menu and it’s become one of our favorite tabletop cooking meals at home.
A question of style
The big question I had to resolve before I started cooking was whether to make a Hiroshima-style or Kansai/Osaka-style okonomiyaki recipe. Hiroshima-style calls for the chef to layer the ingredients on top of the initial pancake, but since I was going to be the chef, I decided against trying to flip over a pancake piled haphazardly with loose cabbage and noodles.
Osaka-style is actually cooked with the cabbage and some pre-cooked seafood (if you like) inside the batter, so I felt there was a better chance of my making something that looked recognizably like okonomiyaki if I went in that direction.
If you want to learn more about okonomiyaki, including the specifics of the regional differences, check out the site Okonomiyaki World.
You can buy okonomiyaki mix online, but it was very easy to make our own. I’ve even heard that you can use pancake mix, but I haven’t tried that yet.
You can also order okonomiyaki sauce online, if you can’t find it at your local Asian grocery store. We made our own sauce, too. I’m just trying to show you how you can make okonomiyaki, however you prefer to make it, right on the table using your raclette grill. Anyway, the Japanese name means “as you like it, grilled,” so this is a judgment-free zone!
Some things you might need to make okonomiyaki:
However…all that being said, you’ll probably have to find your way around the local Asian grocery store to find at least some of the ingredients for this okonomiyaki recipe, like dashi (Japanese seafood broth), dried bonito flakes, seaweed flakes, and/or dried shrimp. Otherwise, you can buy most of the ingredients online.
Okonomiyaki recipe for the raclette grill
Ingredients for the batter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dashi (can be made with dashi powder), or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 a teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 head of Napa cabbage, sliced or chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup cooked shrimp pieces or other pieces of cooked seafood
- Cooking oil (a peanut blend or vegetable oil), for cooking
Choose a few of your favorite okonomiyaki toppings for flair. We used the bonito fish flakes, strips of pork belly, and calamari rings.
- Bonito fish flakes
- Dried shrimp
- Thinly sliced pork or beef, raw
- Calamari rings or sliced octopus, raw
- Shrimp, raw
- Udon noodles, cooked
- Raw egg, unbeaten
Add some of these after both sides have been cooked, just before serving.
- Spring onions, white and green parts chopped fine
- Seaweed flakes (I used furikake instead)
- Okonomiyaki sauce
- Sweet mayonnaise/Kewpie mayonnaise
- Hoisin sauce
- Sriracha sauce
Note: Hoisin sauce is Chinese, not Japanese, but it’s so delicious and versatile that I call it “Chinese ketchup”. It’s sweet, salty, sticky, and tasty–and a lot easier to find at any grocery store than okonomiyaki sauce.
DIY Okonomiyaki sauce: Stir together 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce.
DIY Japanese sweet mayo: Stir together 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle with salt. Adjust sugar and vinegar to your taste.
- Mix together the flour, dashi, sugar, salt, baking powder, and eggs together in large bowl. Add in the cabbage one large handful at a time and stir. Add in your shrimp or other cooked meats and stir until everything is covered with batter.
- Heat the “crepe side” of your cast-iron raclette grill on medium-high heat. Pour a little oil in the center of each circle and spread it around with the bottom of a ladle.
- When the oil is hot, ladle some of the batter-mixture onto one of the circles of the grill. You should be making a thick pancake, about an inch deep. Only use one half of the grill at a time to give yourself enough space to flip this hearty pancake.
- While the bottom is cooking, layer some of the toppings on the pancake. Now it’s time to add the dried shrimp, the noodles, the meat, the seafood, and the bonito flakes–as you like it! There are no rules…but save the furikake, the seaweed flakes, and the spring onions for the end.
- This pancake is going to need to cook for about five minutes. Pour yourself a glass of sake or an Asahi and talk to your friends while you wait for the first pancake to finish.
- When the bottom is a nice brown, carefully flip the entire thing over, toppings included. This is probably a two-spatula job.
- Cook it for another 3-5 minutes until the meat, seafood, and batter are cooked all the way through.
- Flip the pancake over again and top with the furikake, seaweed flakes, and spring onions as you like it. Then smother those toppings with generous portions of okonomiyaki sauce or hoisin sauce, sweet mayonnaise, and/or sriracha, as you you like it.
Using your spatula, split the pancake into portions for each guest. You can eat okonomiyaki with a fork or with chopsticks. While you’re eating, putting some more batter on the grill to get the next one ready. I usually end up whipping up another batch of batter real quick, especially if we have guests.