Weeknight CookingWhat to CookJapanese Cooking

The Bacon-y, Tempura-Studded Pancake That's Your Dinner Tonight

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There are a couple things to know about okonomiyaki:

  1. You might not be able to pronounce it, but that's okay.

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  2. It's a very savory breakfast-for-dinner kind of Japanese pancake.

  3. There's bacon. There's a green onion-, tempura bits-studded batter. There's mayonnaise.

And I think that about covers it. It might require a trip to your local Japanese market (or some online shopping), but the result is well worth any extra shopping. It's a huge, crispy pancake. Is there any question about it?

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Okonomiyaki (Savory Japanese Cabbage Pancake)
Okonomiyaki (Savory Japanese Cabbage Pancake)

First thing's first, head to the store and throw these into your shopping cart (we organized them by area of the market):

  • 2 cups cabbage, chopped into thin strips
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 to 4 strips bacon, chopped into 2 to 3-inch long pieces
  • 1/3 teaspoon dashi stock powder
  • 3 tablespoons tenkasu (tempura bits)
  • Kewpie mayo (or regular mayo!)
  • Okonomi sauce (or make your own by whisking together 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon honey)
  • Aonori (seaweed flakes)
  • Sesame seeds

We're assuming you already have 2/3 cup water (this is kind of a given), 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, and 1 egg. If not, add these to your list, too!

About 30 minutes before dinner (depending on how fast of a pancake-maker you are), mix the dashi stock powder into the water until it dissolves. Add the flour, egg, and tenkasu and whisk whisk whisk to make a batter. Add the cabbage and most of the green onion (reserve a pinch!) and fold them into the batter.

Heat a large greased pan over medium heat. Pour all of the batter into the pan, using a spatula to flatten the tops and corral the edges to make a round pancake. (As the recipe says, "the less craggy the edges of the pancake, the easier it is to flip.")

Cover the top of the pancake with the bacon pieces in a single layer. Cook the pancake for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip so it's bacon-side down. Cook until the bacon is all nice and crispy, about 5 minutes, flip again, and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, bacon-side up.

Slide the pancake onto a plate. You can either put your mayo and okonomi sauce into squeeze bottles or add a spoonful of each to separate plastics bags, snipping the corners to allow for precise squirting. Now, like a sauce artist, zig-zag the okonomi sauce over the top of the pancake in one direction, and the mayo in another. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions, aonori, and sesame seeds over the sauce. Cut into wedges or devour bite by bite. That's your choice. No one's judging.

See the full recipe here.


Tags: dinner tonight