Arguably one of the best snacks to accompany a cold beer, okonomiyaki is a time-honoured favourite in Japan. This recipe combines prawn and pork, crispy noodles, caramelised onions and Japanese barbecue sauce – need I say more?
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 2 brown onions, sliced
- 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp instant dashi powder (see note)
- 220 g cabbage, finely sliced
- 8 spring onions, finely sliced, plus extra to serve
- 1 carrot, coarsely grated
- 2 tbsp pickled ginger, plus extra to serve
- salt and white pepper
- 10 peeled green prawns
- 100 g pork belly (see note), thinly sliced
- 200 g cooked yaki soba noodles (see note)
- okonomiyaki or tonkatsu sauce (see note), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown onions, stir to coat and cover the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, remove the lid and season with a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20–25 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the flour, eggs, dashi powder and 225 ml water and whisk until smooth. The batter should be thin but not watery. Add the cabbage, spring onions, carrot and pickled ginger. Season to taste and mix until well combined.
Heat two large non-stick frying pans over medium-high heat. Rub the surface of each frying pan with an oiled piece of paper towel. Divide the cabbage mixture between the two frying pans. Shape into rounds then, using a spatula, flatten each round, pushing any escaping mixture back against the edges. Cook for 4 minutes. Divide the prawns between the 2 pancakes and push gently into batter. Cover the prawns with the pork belly. Carefully flip the pancakes over and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the pancake again, reduce the heat to medium and cook for a further 3–4 minutes until cooked through to the centre.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Add half the noodles, toss to coat in the oil then shape the noodles into a round the same size as the pancake. Allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1½–2 minutes until the underside is crisp. Carefully flip the noodle cake over and cook the other side for 1½–2 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining noodles.
To serve, place a pancake on a small chopping board and cover generously with okonomiyaki sauce. Top with a noodle cake, caramelised onions, extra spring onions and pickled ginger.
Cut into squares, drizzle with extra sauce and share each pancake between two people.
• Instant dashi powder, okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce can all be purchased at Japanese food stores and some Asian grocers.
• Thinly sliced pork belly is available fresh and frozen from select Asian food stores.
• Yaki soba noodles are thin, yellow egg noodles. Cook according to packet directions.