Aya’s Kitchen: “Mexican style” Okonomiyaki


I was never a huge fan of okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake that has many variations) but I enjoyed eating it at home with my family- we would cook these pancakes on a portable skillet, in the middle of the dining table, and after eating one or two, finish the meal by cooking yaki-udon (stir fried udon noodles) with the ingredients that we also used for the okonomiyaki. Every Japanese household has a different recipe for okonomiyaki. My mum would use shrimp, squid, grated yamaimo (mountain yam), cabbage (this may be the one ingredient almost everybody includes, along with flour), eggs and powdered dashi. We would lay thinly sliced pork belly on the skillet and pour the batter over it. Everyone (except me) in my family would put some red gari strips on their okonomiyaki, along with some katsuobushi (shaved dried and smoked bonito) and aonori (a type of dried seaweed). Once they are cooked you can dress it with as much as (or as little as) okonomiyaki sauce (Otafuku brand in my family) and mayo (Kewpie of course) as you want.

My boyfriend doesn’t really like mayo or the sweet okonomiyaki sauce, but one morning he asked me to make these “Japanese pancakes”. So I made a different version- a “Mexican” style okonomiyaki. I quote “Mexican” because I’m sure that just as I roll my eyes at people cooking things “Japanese style”, I’m sure most Mexicans will look at this and not see what’s so Mexican about it.

All you have to do to make okonomiyaki is put together a variety of vegetables and protein (if you want), and make a thick batter with eggs, flour and water (I used a konbu dashi).

For this okonomiyaki, I put together some shredded cabbage (salt a bit to remove excess water), minced scallion, minced Jalapeno, corn, small pieces of shrimp and squid, and seasoned them with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander (ground with my mortar and pestle) and dried marjoram.

okonomiyaki batter

Add an egg and mix well. Then add a little less than a cup of multipurpose flour and some dashi. Mix well until you reach a consistency thicker than pancake batter. You may need to add a little more flour and dashi depending on how much you are making. Then all you have to do is pour it in a hot pan with a bit of oil and flip over when nice and golden. Turn the heat to low once you flip it so it cooks all the way through.

okonomiyaki batter

Instead of dressing with okonomiyaki sauce, I used a chipotle sauce I got from Tacombi. But I still used Kewpie mayo. I also topped it with some grated cheese (I was thinking of using queso fresco but I forgot to buy it! So i used whatever we had in the fridge), cilantro, chili powder, aonori and lime juice pickled red onion (in place of gari).

Super easy and quick to make, and delicious!

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