Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake)

Okonomiyaki is a popular pan-fried dish that consists of batter and cabbage. Selected toppings and ingredients are added which can vary greatly, anything from meat and seafood. “okonomi” literally means “to one’s liking” whereas okonomiyaki is sometimes translated into English as “As-you-like-it Pancake”.

However, okonomiyaki has nothing of the sweetness or fluffiness of western pancakes, not to mention that it is usually filled with calamari, shrimp, pork, yam or kimchi. I would say a comparison between okonomiyaki and pizza or maybe even a savoury fritter, to be more accurate.

Anyhoo, now that I have explained to you what okonomiyaki is, let me tell you why I like this dish.  It is great for leftovers!  It just so happened that I had leftover roast chicken in my fridge, but I could have used pork, shrimp or even bacon.  In my view, the main ingredient here is shredded cabbage and if you use it like I do (a pancake of leftovers) you can basically use whatever you want!  Except for the Bonito flakes, everything needed for this recipe are basic items in most kitchens.

I should mention that you could make this a vegetarian dish by just increasing the amount of vegetables in relation to the meat; for example shredded sweet potato and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. (Although I would lower the temperature and cook it just a little longer to make sure the sweet potato is cooked through)   You can make your very own version of okonomiyaki in your own kitchen by using whatever you find in the fridge.

Bon appetite!

You’ll need

  • 300g x shredded leftover chicken
  • 2 x eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup x flour
  • ¼ tsp x sea salt
  • ¼ tsp x sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup x chicken/vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp x soy sauce
  • 2 cups x green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 x small carrot, coarsely grated
  • 2 x spring onions, finely sliced + extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup x mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup x zucchini, coarsely grated
  • ¼ cup x fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp x olive oil
  • 2 tsp x sesame oil
  • For the topping
  • Mayonnaise
  • Tonkatsu sauce (see recipe under tips) or BBQ sauce if you want to take a shortcut
  • Sriracha (optional)
  • Dried seaweed (optional)
  • Bonito (fish) flakes (optional)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together.
  2. Add the stock, soy sauce and eggs to the mixture and whisk until well incorporated.
  3. Add in chicken, cabbage, carrots, green onions, mushrooms, zucchini and coriander. Stir and mix thoroughly to ensure the ingredients are coated with the batter.
  4. Heat the olive and sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. (I used a 28cm pan)
  5. When the pan is hot, pour the batter into the pan and press down with the back of a spoon to get an even thickness of about 2cm.
  6. Cover with a lid and cook for about 4 - 5 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned.
  7. Turn over carefully and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes or until the other side is also lightly browned.
  8. (You could turn it over with 2 spatulas, but I find it can be tricky and slightly stressful. I prefer to slide the pancake onto a plate, flip it onto a second plate and slide it back into the pan)
  9. When cooked remove from the pan and drain pancake on paper towels.
  10. To serve, spread the top with a thin layer of tonkatsu or BBQ sauce and drizzle with mayonnaise and if you want extra spicy flavours, some sriracha sauce as well.
  11. Lastly add your extra chopped spring onions, and optional seaweed and bonito flakes.
  12. Slice into portions and enjoy!

To make the tonkatsu sauce, mix together 3 x Tbsp ketchup, 1 x Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 x tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp x honey.

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