If you’ve never heard of okonomiyaki, then you are missing out. I’ve never been to Japan but I started playing around with the concept of this savory Japanese pancake in college, because it’s great dorm food: fun, filling, fast and simple to make (a tiny pan/skillet, spatula and a burner are all the equipment that is needed) while featuring whatever ingredients you have available.
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) means something like “whatever you want” or “as you like it” and that’s the beauty of it… so many fun flavor combinations to play with! Once you’ve sorted out a simple pancake batter made of eggs and coconut flour, then the experimentation can begin. In the recipe below I added tiny shrimp and bean sprouts to the pancake, plus a splash of coconut aminos to approximate the taste of soy sauce and a bit of salt. The result is an adorable single-serve pancake and you can leave it at that or load it up with toppings! *jazz hands* Toppings are the place to load on anything with complementary flavors. I did seafood in this rendition here, but all kinds of meat would be delicious, whether chopped, shredded, ground or cured. There are also delicious veggie version out there, and the addition of cabbage, mushrooms and onion would be a good choice. Personally, I started with more traditional Japanese ingredients but was soon incorporating such things as cilantro and jalapeño. On gloomy winter days like today, I enjoy doubling the heat with jalapeños and chili flakes for a fiery riot of flavor.
Okonomiyaki are traditional served criss-crossed with a generous squeeze of Japanese mayonnaise and a okonomiyaki sauce (a tangy-sweet-salty mixture I’d liken to Japanese barbecue sauce). I choose to skip a homemade approximation because
I’m lazy it adds another level of labor and complexity, but I’d love to know if anyone has good results experimenting with a paleo-friendly sauce. Next time I may choose to load this up with chili sauce like my jianbing or use tahini in place of the sesame seeds. Thinking outside the box! On that note, I’ve collected some of my favorite okonomiyaki (by various names) recipes from around the web in a list here for flavor inspiration. If you’re keeping it grain-free, simply use the basic batter below (3 eggs + 1 tablespoon coconut flour + ¼ teaspoon salt) as the foundation on which you build your okonomiyaki masterpiece.
- 101 Cookbooks’ Japanese Pizza Recipe
- Love and Lemons’ Veggie Okonomiyaki
- Closet Cooking’s Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake)
- Smitten Kitchen’s Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
- Food 52’s Okonomiyaki
- 1 tsp [url href=”https://heyrachelmarion.com/recommends/coconut-oil/” title=”coconut oil”]coconut oil[/url]
- ¼ lb shrimp (scant handful reserved)
- 1 handful of bean sprouts
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp [url href=”https://heyrachelmarion.com/recommends/coconut-flour/” title=”coconut flour”]coconut flour[/url]
- ½ tsp [url href=”https://heyrachelmarion.com/recommends/coconut-aminos/” title=”coconut aminos”]coconut aminos[/url]
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ lb cooked squid tentacles
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- ½ jalapeño, sliced
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- ¼ cup [url href=”https://heyrachelmarion.com/recommends/bonito-flakes/” title=”bonito flakes”]bonito flakes[/url]
- Heat the coconut oil a [url href=”https://heyrachelmarion.com/recommends/cast-iron-skillet/” title=”Cast-Iron Skillet”]skillet[/url] over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the shrimp for a few moments until pink and the water has cooked away. Add the handful of bean sprouts and toss to combine. Lower the heat to medium, and use a spoon or spatula to push the shrimp and sprouts into a circular pile in the center of the skillet.
- Whisk together the eggs, coconut flour, salt and coconut aminos until smooth. Pour the batter over the shrimp and sprouts, nudge any runny edges back into a tidy circle.
- Cook the pancake for approximately five minutes on each side until firm and fully cooked but not scorched. Transfer to a serving plate, and top with the squid, cilantro, jalapeno, sesame, chili flakes and bonito. Serve warm.