Seafood Okonomiyaki

How good does a pancake stuffed with cabbage sound?
I first thought not appealing. Too odd. How mistaken I was! Okonomiyaki is a scrumptious amalgam of vegetables and meats topped with sweet salty sour sauce, smooth mayonnaise, and silly waving pink flakes. You can have it as you like it: for me it’s shrimp, scallops, and squid.

A bit of history from the net:
Edo-era (1603 to 1868), ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family
Funoyaki* was a thin dessert pancake service for Buddhist ceremonies made from water and flour and topped with miso.
The Meiji period (1868 – July 1912), “enlightened rule”
From this Tokyo confectioners developed “monja-yaki”** developed: a sweet thin pancake for children.
Taisho-era (1912 – 1926), a wave of Westernization
a comment I added about geisha
Dondon-yaki*** is another version, rolled up on a stick, made its way around the country, from festival to festival.
The name okonomiyaki was coined around 1935.
Osaka-style okonomiyaki: ingredients are mixed with the batter
Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki:**** ingredients on the batter after it has been spread on the griddle·

Japanese Stuffed Pancake

from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 350
serves 2


  • ¼ cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • ¼ 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.


  • 1 cup Japanese cake flour
  • 1 cup water or dashi
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons grated yama-imo, or 2 Tablespoons potato starch

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


  • 3-4 ounces bay scallops
  • 3-4 ounces squid, cut into small pieces
  • 3-4 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp, cut in half lenthwise
  • An equal amount of shredded cabbage to the seafood
  • ¼ cup thin sliced green onions
  • 2 Tablespoons pickled ginger, chopped
  • 2 eggs

Put equal amounts of the ingredients into the two 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

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.


  • 2 Tablespoons toasted and crumbled nori
  • ¼ cup katsouobushi (bonito flakes)
  • mayonnaise


10 thoughts on “Seafood Okonomiyaki

  1. I’m so glad you posted the recipe for the sauce! I always see recipes that just list “Okonomiyaki sauce” as one of the ingredients. >:(

    • yes, I would think so.
      Maybe give the mixture a few minutes to absorb the liquid: the Japanese cake flour is very fine so it might take a bit longer for the liquid to become incorporated/absorbed into regular flour.

      ??? I don’t really know that it would, or not, make a lot of difference. Letting it sit a few minutes couldn’t hurt though.

  2. OOh such wonderful comfort food. Yours look mouth watering – in fact my mouth is watering. That sauce is addictive Tess! Did you serve some of your pickles with it?
    We found a tiny restaurant in Kyoto a few years back which specialised in okonomiyaki and went there three nights in a row. Last Easter we were back in Japan and wandered the tiny streets around a temple looking for it – it had been reincarnated as something else alas….
    Heartbreaking watching the news from Japan today!

  3. Yes, that sauce is addictive!

    I’m making Joan Nathan’s Mother’s Brisket which has a similar tangy/spicy marinade/sauce. It’s just beginning to smell amazing.

    2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
    1 tablespoon pepper
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 cup chili sauce: 1 cup ketchup, 1 TBS sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cayene, 1 dash allspice
    1 1/2 cups white vinegar

    The earthquake and tsunami in Japan is horrific. How fragile life is.

  4. Hi Dave!
    Glad you took a look here after the beginning of the discussion on Panos’ blog. As you can see, if you try categories here the excerpts work nicely.
    So how did you come to be in Osaka in 1986? and eating okonomiyaki?

  5. Mr. Tess was looking at the kitchen calendar with pictures of Japanese prints and poems. He noted that the image was quite suggestive yet still beautifully modest. I commented that many ukiyo-e prints depict male actors playing feminine parts. Upon closer inspection, the image is The Geisha Ichimaru, 1933 woodcut on paper by Kiyoshi.
    I recalled reading about geisha in the 1930’s preparing dondon-yaki for their guests as entertainment. (these pancakes were a precursor to the modern okonomiyaki)
    Seductive food.
    Innocent fun.

    In about 1932, the sixth year of the Showa era, dondon-yaki became very popular in Tokyo’s Geisha entertainment world. Dondon-yaki at that time was made on a 30 cm griddle placed over a charcoal fire. With the addition of more and more ingredients and seasonings, the present okonomi-yaki took shape.


  6. Pingback: Japanese Crepes « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s