I was over the moon to find out that Reiko included okonomiyaki on her home cookery course and even more delighted to find out how simple it was to make.
The beauty is, the quantities don't need to be too precise and you can use whatever toppings you fancy. In fact, the name okonomiyaki means 'what you like'. I've made versions using squid, prawns and mushrooms. Meat eaters might want to add ham or bacon. You can read more about regional variations in the Wikipedia entry
What really makes this dish is the okonomiyaki sauce and the bonito flakes, which are both very distinctive flavours. If you can't find an Asian supermarket near you, you can buy them online.
Ingredients (Makes 2 pancakes):
125g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon dashi powder (you can leave this out if you don't have any)
4 leaves from a pointed cabbage (also known as sweetheart cabbage), chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Your choice of squid, prawns, mushrooms, ham
Mix the flour with the dashi powder in a large bowl. Add the eggs and water and mix to a smooth batter.
Add the cabbage and mix.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Spoon in half the mixture into the pan and gently flatten to about 1cm thickness. Repeat with the remaining mixture (If your frying pan is big enough, cook both in the same pan).
Lay the squid/prawns/bacon on top of the pancakes.
Cook for about 10 minutes on a medium-low heat, until lightly browned on the underside.
Flip over and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
Transfer the pancakes to plates. Spread with okonomiyaki sauce, sprinkle with the spring onion, drizzle with Japanese mayonnaise and top with bonito flakes.
Okonomiyaki - how I like it!