Down-Home Okonomiyaki

My online friend Janet at This, That, and the Other Thing (she doesn’t use the Oxford comma, but I do!) posted about the Japanese dish, Okonomiyaki. It sounded good, so I decided I’d try it.

The first recipes I found online required ingredients I neither had nor could get by that evening. I finally found one I could manage, but I liked bits of the other ones, so this is what I ended up with. (Pictures at the end.)

Some recipes tell you to add chopped pork belly (which I would have LOVED), but we can’t get that here, either, and Charlie is going through one of his more-vegan-than-usual phases. He will eat fish, although we’re concerned with overfishing, so I have to be careful what I buy. I had some shrimp in the freezer, so I used that. No meat or fish is necessary, and egg replacer would certainly do for the pancake. You could use vegan mayonnaise and add a bit of sugar and a bit of rice vinegar.




For the okonomiyaki sauce

  • 1½ tbsp tomato ketchup
  • ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

For the okonomiyaki pancakes
(this is a half-recipe)

  • 1 medium free-range egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 tbsp plain flour (I needed more)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • onion powder to taste (or diced green onions, if you have them)
  • 1 cups white cabbage, chopped into dime-sized pieces
  • cooked shrimp, cut into little pieces
  • water chestnuts
  • sesame oil for cooking


  1. For the okonomiyaki sauce, whisk together the tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, honey and soy sauce in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
  2. To make the okonomiyaki batter, whisk together the eggs, flour, salt, soy sauce and sesame oil until smooth.
  3. Fold the other ingredients into the batter until everything is well coated. Add more flour, if needed.
  4. Heat enough oil to just cover the bottom of a large frying pan over a medium–high heat.
  5. Spoon some of the cabbage mixture into the pan into pancake shapes Fry until golden-brown on each side, flipping halfway.
  6. Serve the pancakes drizzled with the okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise.

Okay, Japanese mayonnaise. I don’t have any (surprise!), but the main differences I gathered from my web research are: Use only egg yolk and not a whole egg, use a light-flavored oil, use rice vinegar instead of lemon juice, add some mustard, and add some sugar.

So I did this. I should have used two egg yolks, because my mayonnaise came out more like salad dressing, which is what I’m going to use the leftovers for. I also made the mistake of adding a dollop of spicy brown mustard rather than the mustard powder some sites mandated. Charlie was feeling poorly and didn’t trust the spice to agree with him. Part of the “spice” was apparently horseradish, which I despise. But I might grow to like it, based on this sauce.

“Japanese” Mayonnaise, My Way

  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups Avocado oil (use any light oil, but I had avocado)
  1. Put salt, mustard, and sugar into a mixing bowl. Add egg yolks and beat
  2. Add the vinegar and combine well.
  3. Add two tablespoons of oil slowly, beating constantly. Then add the remainder of oil gradually.
  4. Yields 2 cups
Charlie ate all the red sauce.
I made two big pancakes, each about as big as my hand.

Charlie’s verdict? “I didn’t think I would be able to eat anything tonight, but I could eat this.” Then, when he heard what he had said, “I mean, this was really good!”

So THANK YOU, Janet, for a dish I enjoyed making and that Charlie could eat on a delicate stomach. It was freakin’ delicious!

I’m posting at Fatal Foodies today about glazed tofu. YUM!



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Down-Home Okonomiyaki

  1. janet

    January 21, 2020 at 7:35am

    Good for you, Marian. I’m smiling a big smile as I read this. It makes me happy to know that you both enjoyed this so much. And thanks for the link.


    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 21, 2020 at 7:51am

      Thanks for turning me on (as we said in my misspent youth) to this delicious dish.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
      • janet

        January 21, 2020 at 12:15pm

        I’m going to update my post with a link to yours, to encourage those not interested in or who don’t have the ingredients listed in the recipes online. 🙂 My husband was impressed with your inventiveness and we both got a big laugh out of your husband’s remarks (er, compliment.)

        Permalink  ⋅ Reply
        • Author

          Marian Allen

          January 21, 2020 at 12:36pm

          Thanks, Janet! We’ll definitely have it again. As for Charlie’s compliments, he doesn’t say much about food, so I take what I can get. At least he didn’t say what he said when one of the kids complained, back when they were little: “Everything doesn’t have to taste good for you to eat it.” :/

          Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 21, 2020 at 8:32am

      Oh, DO! Easy-peasy, and yummy! You can just bung anything you want to in there with the cabbage. So good!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 21, 2020 at 11:34am

      Of course! It would be good with chicken or thinly sliced beef. Or no meat at all!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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