Back in mid 2020, cabbage went from being the most underrated veggie there was to the most sought after. The sudden influx of cabbage love came from a multitude of reasons, one being that cabbage is super cheap. You could buy a huge head of green cabbage for about .60 cents a pound. Two, cabbage is super versatile. Its subtle sweetness and crunchy texture make it possible for cabbage to be the star of the meal like in a raw and refreshing cole slaw or the side piece like in a stew or soup. However, throughout cabbages rise to fame I never saw my favorite cabbage recipe being showcased so today I’d like to introduce to you my favorite cabbage recipe - okonomiyaki!
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese street food favorite made up of thinly sliced green cabbage and scallion tossed in a miniscule amount of batter and fried on one side until golden. Right before it gets flipped, it gets topped with thinly sliced pork and right before it gets served a healthy squeeze of kewpie mayo and a thick smokey japanese BBQ-esque sauce gets spread on top. Final garnishes of bonito flakes and crushed seaweed flakes sprinkled on top and there you have an iconic street food in japan.
Fun fact about the word okonomiyaki is that okonomi means “how you like it” and yaki means “cooked”. So despite the original one I described above there have been many different variations made but the one ingredient that I deem absolutely necessary is called nagaimo which is a type of mountain yam. Its light brown in color, hard, and hairy but once grated turns into a white gooey paste. This mixture when cooked turns the okonomiyaki from a flat slightly dense cabbage pancake into a light, fluffy, and tender cabbage cake. You'll be able to find nagaimo at your local japanese grocery store so I would suggest making your way over to grab one in order to make your okonomiyaki custardy & light.
1/2 cup of flour
1 tablespoons of cornstarch or potato starch
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of dashi broth or water
2 tablespoons of grated mountain yam, optional (I grate mine using a microplane)
2 cups of shredded cabbage
2 scallions, diced finely
2 tablespoons of cubed or shredded carrot
4 slices of thinly sliced pork or bacon
Okonomiyaki sauce to serve
Kewpie mayo to serve
Bonito flakes to serve
Dried seaweed to serve
Get a 10 - 12 inch cast iron skillet or non stick skillet and set it to medium heat.
Next, in a bowl combine the flour, cornstarch/potato starch, baking powder, salt, and dashi broth/water. Whisk just until you have a homogenous mixture. A few small lumps are totally okay.
To the bowl, add in the grated mountain yam, shredded cabbage, finely diced scallion, corn, and carrots. Crack in the egg and give everything a good mix.
Spray the skillet with a little bit of oil and then dump out the entire batch of okonomiyaki batter. Spread it out leaving a one inch border from the sides of the pan.
While the okonomiyaki cooks, lay down 4 strips of pork/bacon across the top. After 3 minutes pass, use a large spatula to flip it. Or if you are too scared, you can flip it onto a plate and slide it back onto the pan. Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.
Transfer the okonomiyaki out of the skillet and place it on the serving plate of your choosing.
Drizzle over the okonomiyaki sauce and using the back of a spoon spread it out evenly. Then squeeze over the kewpie mayo in a zigzag pattern. Top with bonito flakes and dried seaweed. Slice it up how you like and enjoy!