“These savoury pancakes called okonomiyaki (okonomi meaning ‘as you like it’ and yaki meaning ‘grilled’) are a true signature dish of Osaka. Wheat flour pancakes are topped with whatever you like – usually cabbage and some kind of meat or seafood, sometimes even cheese, then finished with mayonnaise, a sweet brown sauce called okonomi, bonito flakes and seaweed. Watching the chefs making the pancakes right in front of you, you soon realise that in Japan there’s an art to cooking even the simplest of dishes.” Ainsley Harriott, Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food
- 350 g piece white cabbage, core removed and finely shredded
- sunflower oil, for frying
- 6 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
- 1½ tbsp pickled red ginger, finely chopped
- 300 g piece boneless cod, skin on, cut into 12 even slices
- 100 g kimchi
- 100 ml okonomi sauce (see Note)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) kewpi (Japanese) mayonnaise
- 300 g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp dashi powder or granules
- 1 good pinch celery salt
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
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.
Place the cabbage in a bowl and bruise it by gently squeezing it in your hands, which helps to soften it. Set aside until needed.
To make the pancake batter, combine the flour,dashi powder and celery salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the egg and gradually whisk in enough water (about 450 ml) to make a smooth batter the consistency of pouring cream. Pour into a jug.
Preheat a large flat barbecue hotplate or heavy-based non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add a drizzle of oil, then pour a thin layer of batter to make a 23 cm round pancake. Pile one quarter of the cabbage and spring onions on top. Sprinkle with a little pickled ginger, then drizzle over a little more batter to help enclose the filling when turned. Cook for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to flip the pancake over and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
While the pancake is cooking, heat another large frying pan over high heat. Drizzle in a little oil and when hot, cook the fish, flesh-side down, for 1-2 minutes or until nearly cooked through. Turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the skin in crisp, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Transfer the pancake to a serving plate, top with 3 pieces cooked fish, then scatter with a little kimchi. Drizzle with okonomi sauce, then drizzle generously with mayonnaise. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 pancakes in total.
• Okonomi sauce is a sweet thick brown sauce with a flavour similar to Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce combined. It is mostly used to spread over okonomiyaki but if you can’t find it, use tonkatsu sauce instead. Both are available from Asian supermarkets.
Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food starts Thursday 6 August 2015 at 8.30pm on SBS and finishes 1 October 2015. Visit the Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food program page to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes and read our interview with Ainsley.