Okonomiyaki, which literally means “grilled how you like it,” is a popular Japanese savory pancake. It's available all over Japan, and the toppings and fillings vary depending on the country’s region.
These pancakes are a classic comfort food, and with good reason: The combination of grilled carbs mixed with vegetables and an assortment of toppings delivers the perfect symphony of crunchy and creamy textures packed with sweet, spicy, and umami flavors. A basic recipe for okonomiyaki calls for a pancake batter with shredded cabbage and Kewpie mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, nori flakes, pickled ginger, and bonito flakes on top.
But okonomiyaki is infinitely customizable. Below, we take a spin on this classic dish, bypassing the flour pancake base to make it even simpler.
Choose your favorite seasonal vegetables, or use up those leftovers in the fridge, stock your pantry with a few staple Japanese toppings (or try making your own), and you’re set to riff on okonomiyaki anytime.
Starchy vegetables work best, especially those that get crispy when cooked. Or make it a medley for a variety of textures!
Make it a meal with the addition of protein or some leftovers on top of your crispy vegetables.
The traditional combination of mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, nori, bonito, and pickled ginger is always a winner, but experiment with what you have on hand too!
How do you like to okonomiyaki? Tell us about your combinations below.
Photos by Emily Dryden