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At the start of the year it was predicted that 2020 would be the moment we’d pick up our chopsticks and get stuck into Japanese cooking. But whilst there’s no less thirst for Japan’s healthy, umami-packed food, it’s not been as easy as we might has hoped to get to know our sushi from our soba. But whilst restaurants are closed and planes remain grounded, we can bring a taste of Japan to our kitchens with some simple home-cooking.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to serving up some Osaka soul-food – Japan’s famous okonomiyaki pancakes.

Held together with a thick batter, hunger-busting okonomiyaki are a Japanese comfort food well worth frying up at home. A savoury pancake with extra bite, okonomiyaki are a mainstay of the Kansai region, with Osaka the crispy-pancake capital of Japan. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started.




Plain flour, 100g

Egg, 1, beaten

Chicken stock, 125ml, made up and cooled

White cabbage, 250g, finely shredded

Raw king prawns, 100g, chopped

Spring onions, 2, white and green bits separated and shredded

Streaky bacon, 5 strips

Pickled ginger, drained and chopped to make 1 tbsp

Sesame seeds

Vegetable oil for frying

Okonomiyaki sauce:

Tomato ketchup, 6 tbsp

Worcestershire Sauce, 2 tbsp

Soy sauce, 1 tbsp

Mirin, 1 tbsp

Caster Sugar, 1 tbsp

Dijon Mustard, 1 tsp

Garlic powder, a good pinch



Step 1:

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and put to one side. Put the plain flour in a large bowl, whisk in the egg and the cooled chicken stock to make a batter. Season.

Step 2:

Stir in the cabbage, prawns and white spring onion. Heat a good coating of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan, tip in the batter mix and press down with a spatula so that it fills the pan.

Step 3:

Cook on a medium heat until the underside is golden and the pancake has set enough to turn. Slide it onto a plate, uncooked side up, then add the strips of bacon to the top. Put the frying pan over the plate and use the plate to turn the pancake, uncooked side down, back into the pan.

Step 4:

Serve bacon-side up, drizzled with sauce and topped with ginger, sesame seeds and the remaining green spring onions.


There are endless variations of this Japanese favourite and you can easily experiment with your own by switching the meat and fish for alternative proteins or removing them altogether and using vegetable stock for a vegetarian pancake. You can also play around with toppings – other favourites include mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes and aonori seaweed.

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