As you like it: Okonomiyaki
“Can one desire too much of a good thing?” from: As You Like It, Act IV, Sc. I
okonomiyake3_7188Rosalind was teasing Orlando, but consider—is having too much of a good thing likely?

Not in the case of “okonomi-yaki!”
In Japanese, okonomi means as-you-like-it,
and yaki means dry-heat cooking.

Okonomi-yaki is a savory pancake or a Japanese pizza!
It’s delicious food, very easy to make.
Just the thing to cook whenever you like,
and a very nice thing to eat!

If you are in love, then any food, or no food, is sufficient.
But even if you are not in love, this food will bring you pleasure.

Hiroshima’s version of the dish has all of the same ingredients plus noodles — yaki-soba or udon. In Hiroshima, however, the stuffing is not mixed with the batter, but rather the batter is poured on the griddle and then the other ingredients — the gu — are then placed on top.

There are now dozens of variations on the okonomi-yaki theme, and the terminology can get quite confusing. First, as you can see, depending on where you are, simply ordering “okonomi-yaki” might yield different results. The safe bet is, however, if you are not in Hiroshima, you will get an Osaka-style pancake.

Second, know your terminology when ordering at a restaurant. Plain okonomi-yaki with shrimp (ebi) as the main ingredient should be ordered as ebi-ten. The same goes for beef (gyu-ten), pork (buta-ten), squid (ika-ten) and vegetable (yasai-ten). Add a fried egg and the shrimp version becomes ebi-tama-yaki, the beef gyu-tama-yaki, etc. Regular okonomi-yaki with a fried egg is called modan-yaki (modern yaki), and one with everything on it is called mikkusu-yaki (mixed yaki).

You can put anything and everything you want in okonomi-yaki. You see, “okonomi” means just that: “as you like it.”

Japan Times

Japanese Stuffed Pancake

serves 2

page 350

You can buy sauce for okonomiyaki, but Ms. Shimbo in my book gives a recipe for making it yourself. And it is very good.

okonomiyaki sauce ingredientsSauce:

  • 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon smooth French mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon shoyu

In a small saucepan, combine these ingredients. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a boil, then lower heat and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

japanese cake flour Batter:

  • 1 cup Japanese cake flour
  • 1 cup water or dashi
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons grated yama-imo, or 2 Tablespoons potato starch

Mix the batter in a suitable bowl. Divide into 2 bowls.

okonomiyaki ingredients Filling:

  • 2-3 ounces beef steak, cut into small thin slices
  • 2-3 ounces pork loin, cut into small thin slices
  • 6 peeled and deveined shrimp, cut in half lenthwise
  • An equal amount of shredded cabbage to the meats, 1/8 head? (I used my mandolin to make a finely slicedvegetable.)
  • 1/4 cup thin sliced green onionsokonomiyaki ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons pickled ginger
  • 2 eggs

Put equal amounts of the ingredients (or your choice) into the bowls with the batter. Make a depression in the stuff and add 1 egg to each bowl. Mix the ingredients of one bowl. (You will cook up the 2nd bowl after you eat the first.)


  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

okonomiyaki fryingokonomiyaki frying Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a bit of oil, and spread it around with a paper towel. Pour the contents of one bowl in and shape it into a circle about 7″ across. Cook until the bottom is golden. Use 2 spatulas to turn the pancake and press to flatten. Cook until it’s browned. Use a pastry brush to spread the sauce on the pancake. Sometimes people also add mayonnaise.


  • 2 Tablespoons toasted and crumbled nori
  • 1/4 cup katsouobushi (bonito flakes)


“All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.” from: As You Like It, Act II, Sc. 7


11 thoughts on “As you like it: Okonomiyaki

  1. Oh, these are sounding way too good….

    One question, Tess – can I use normal cake flour, or is it going to be too dense? I don’t think I can find Japanese cake flour in this neck of the woods…..

    • Hi Sally,

      I don’t bake cakes, but I believe that the Japanese cake flour is milled very finely.

      But I don’t see why American cake flour wouldn’t work: the batter is there to hold the cabbage and other ingredients together. (This is not so scientific and precise as baking.) Maybe, if you are concerned, mix the batter and let it sit a while to let the gluten relax before adding the gu.

      What is more important in the batter is the yama-imo, It’s a slimy Japanese vegetable that adds a unique texture to this dish. See my links in the post above: I mistakenly used taro root the first time I made this. It actually wasn’t bad! I can easily get taro here: there are quite a few Hispanics and Africans in my town so it’s not hard to find. The potato starch mentioned in this post is not quite right, but it is ok. I made this once with yama-imo, but suppose I did not post about it.—sort of a spongy hard to describe texture.

      Also I believe you can buy okonomiyaki flour online. It contains a dried version of the yama-imo—sort of a mix. I have not tried it, but it seems popular because the Japanese and Korean stores all carry it here.

      My opinion is that you should give it a go. Even if it’s not “authentic” it will be very tasty anyway. And when you do travel to Japan, you will be impressed how even more wonderful this dish could be.

      (I’ve never been to Japan…)

  2. Oh thank you for posting this. Okonomiyaki flour is so expensive I can’t afford to buy it often. So I’ve been using regular flour, water, and egg, and that’s just not the same! I’ll definitely try your recipe the next time I have an okonomiyaki craving!

    • motherbliss,

      American cake flour is different from all-purpose flour; it’s made from a softer less gultinous wheat grain. It is very tender—as I said to Sally, you might let it rest for a bit.

      And Ms. Shimbo, who wrote the book I’m cooking from, recommends potato starch as a substitute for the yama-imo. But as I said to SallyBr above, taro root might be better to develop an approximation of the right texture. Neither the potato starch, nor grated taro was bad, but the yama-imo was most characteristic. I did make this recipe with yama-imo, but I suppose I did not post about it because I can’t find it on my own blog…

  3. “Sometimes people also add mayonnaise”.

    That would be Kewpie if you’re going for authenticity. There’s no substitute. The flavor is unique. My favorite okonomiyaki-ya in Japan use to make yaki udon at the table AFTER the okonomiyaki was finished.

    Gochi-so sama deshita!

  4. Bkhuna,

    Yes, I agree that Kewpie is the one to use.

    But my husband, who will happily eat almost anything edible, HATES mayonaise!!! does not like even homemade mayo, or even aioli!!!

    For some reason, the stores near me sell only giant quart sized containers of Kewpie. Yikes! But I should edit the post to show your recommendation.

    So, where were you that you got yaki udon after the okonomiyake?
    From my reading online, Osaka-style does not include noodles at all. and Hiroshima-style includes a layer of fried noodles. ???

    That sounds good to me: I’d give it a try! Deep-fried? Pan-fried? any sauce or condiments?

  5. Living in Osaka, I’ve come to really love Osaka style okonomiyaki! We make it at home, but I always love the convenience of the bag mixes – some of the premium ones are really tasty, and really easy to make! We skip the noodles and pack it with tons of cabbage, Fugetsu style! ^_^ I like your new format, by the way! It looks really clean, uncluttered and modern! Nice job!

  6. Hi hi! Saitoko!

    Thanks! I’m happy ’cause modern and uncluttered is what I’m aiming for. Still trying to make sure it works for different browers so let me know if it looks bad?

    I have seen those mixes for okonomiyaki and have wondered about them. I’m a bit skeptical, and they are expensive here to just experiment with randomly.

    Cake mixes and refrigerated cookie dough in the U.S. are full of chemical preservatives, flavorings, salt, and not so great.

    I live only a few miles from the Jiffy Mix comany in Chelsea, and I do like their mixes for muffins and pancakes, so I’ll look and learn about the okonomyaki mixes, yes?

  7. Pingback: A Favorite: Okonomiyaki! お好み焼き « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

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