As soon as I heard about these Japanese pancakes I knew that I had to try them. They sounded perfect for using up small amounts of ingredients and filling enough for a tasty lunch.
Sad to say my first attempts were very disappointing. The recipes I came across, although flavoursome, used wholemeal flour which produced heavy, stodgy pancakes. Even using a mix of half wholemeal and white flour didn’t add much improvement.
Determined as ever, I carried on researching and eventually came to the conclusion that it was perfectly acceptable to use only white flour and that it produced the kind of texture that was dense enough to fill a rumbling tummy yet light enough to not give you indigestion.
The recipe below is a combination of the best bits of all the recipes. You can change the meat for fish, chicken or chopped vegetables and enhance the pancakes even further by adding strips of thinly sliced bacon or belly pork to the uncooked layer before turning it over to cook.
They are traditionally served with a drizzle of okonomiyaki sauce (see recipe below ) and Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise but you can substitute ordinary mayo if kewpie is difficult to obtain.
OKONOMIYAKI WITH PORK
4 spring onions, thinly sliced lengthways or half a small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
150 g pork mince
200 g self-raising flour
215 ml light chicken stock or Dashi broth
2 eggs, lightly whisked
75 g napa cabbage or any firm cabbage, finely shredded
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce + a little extra for glazing
dash fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and black pepper to taste
Okonomiyaki style sauce:
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
3 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Kewpie Mayonnaise or regular mayo, finely shredded napa cabbage, shredded spring onion
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the mince for a few minutes, until cooked through, stirring to break up any lumps. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
Whisk the stock and eggs together. Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the egg mixture, stirring continuosly to make a smooth batter.
Add the pork, cabbage, onion, ground ginger, Worcestershire, fish, soy and oyster sauces to the batter. Season to taste and stir to combine.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Ladle in 1/4 of the batter, spreading it out to make a thickish pancake.Fry for 2-3 mins or until little bubbles appear on surface. Using a spatula or fish slice carefully turn it over to cook the other side.
Brush cooked surface with a little Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 2 mins or until cooked through then turn again and cook for 1 min more or until the underside is lightly caramelized. Remove from the pan and keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Serve on individual plates, drizzle with a little okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise and decorate with cabbage and spring onion.