Monday, October 6, 2014


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I've worked on this recipe on-and-off for a little while. Besides making them vegan, I wanted to use ingredients that most North Americans would be able to obtain easily. These vegan savory omelets or pancakes, however you choose to think of them, are so simple, cheap and quick to make, but absolutely addictive!  They originated as frugal street food and were eaten often in the days of reconstruction after WWII. 

According to the book "Let's Cook Japanese Food!" by Amy Kaneko, "Okonomiyaki' means "grilled as you like it". (Update: This is a nice little book of Japanese home cooking; now out of print, but I notice that there is a snazzy new 2017 version.) And that's true-- you can add all sorts of odds and sods, leftovers, etc.-- use your imagination and use what you like!

The batter traditionally contains egg, but I've used some chickpea flour, vegan egg replacers and nutritional yeast, with excellent results. This is definitely the new go-to quick anytime-of-the-day meal in our house! (DH is very enthusiastic!)  

Serves 2
For the egg replacer in the batter, you can use any number of egg subs. I recommend:
1/4 cup of blended silken tofu or plain soy yogurt; OR 1 teaspoon VEGG egg yolk sub (NOT the new VEGG baking mix) mixed with 3 tablespoons water; OR 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax seed (preferably golden flax) blended with 3 tablespoons water until “gloppy”; OR 1 tablespoon Ener-G or Orgran egg replacer powder whisked with 3 tablespoons water.

Once you have everything assembled, the cooking will take less than 10 minutes!

3/4 cup cake & pastry flour (use white, or use white whole wheat pastry flour) OR a baking-ready GF flour mix
NOTE: If you have no cake flour, you can make your own with 7/8 cup (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) unbleached white flour whisked well with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
1/4 cup chickpea flour or soy flour (This adds color, a slightly “eggy” flavor, and good nutrition.)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup liquid egg replacer (IMPORTANT: See text above in recipe intro for a number of possibilities.)
1 tablespoon dry to medium sherry, or Japanese rice wine
2 cups thinly sliced and chopped cabbage, with any tough parts discarded (I prefer Savoy cabbage.)
2 large green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped or sliced seitan, baked tofu, or commercial vegan meat or chicken sub, OR chopped vegan “ham” or “bacon”, OR reconstituted Soy Curls or textured soy protein chunks, chopped, OR chopped vegetarian "shrimp"
Optional: 1 tablespoon vegan “bacon bits” of your choice
1 to 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
My version of Okonomiyaki Sauce:
Note: Most recipes call for Worcestershire sauce, but Japanese Worcestershire sauce is made with pureed fruits and vegetables, rather than fermented anchovies, and I didn’t have any vegan Worcestershire sauce anyway—thus, this version:
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons spicy fruit chutney (If it’s really chunky, mash it with a fork or break up with an immersion blender. This is the chutney I used.)
Sriracha Mayo:
1/2 cup vegan mayo (I use my homemade lowfat variety.)
1 tablespoon dry to medium sherry or Japanese rice wine
1 tablespoon Sriracha (Vietnamese hot sauce)
Note: Japanese mayo is sweeter than ours (more like Miracle Whip), so add a pinch of sugar if you like.

Optional Garnishes:
Chopped green onions
Toasted sesame seeds
Nori (seaweed) flakes
pickled ginger
Serve with:
I served it with some warmed-up leftover rice.  In Hiroshima, evidently they often serve it on Yakisoba noodles (my recipe for these noodles is in my book "World Vegan Feast"). But it’s good all by itself!


You’ll need 2 nonstick skillets, at least 8-inch size. (If you only have one, you’ll have to make one omelet at a time and keep the first one hot in a warm oven.) If you don’t have nonstick skillets, use well-seasoned cast iron or hard-anodized skillets, but you may need a bit more oil. If you have a large griddle, electric or stovetop, you can make two at a time on that.

Whisk together the cake flour, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in water, egg replacer and sherry or rice wine and whisk in until smooth. Stir in the chopped cabbage, green onions, meat sub of choice, and optional vegan “bacon bits”, if using, mixing well.

Heat the skillets over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil to each skillet (you may need a bit more if your skillets are not non-stick). Pour half of the mixture into each skillet and pat out with the back of a soup spoon into a round 8-inch pancake. Cover the skillets and cook for 2 minutes. 

Flip the pancakes over. If they are browning too quickly, turn the heat down a little. If they need a bit more oil, dribble just a bit around the edges. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Flip them over again, lower the heat a bit if necessary, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Brush the tops of the omelets with Okonomiyaki Sauce and dribble artistically with the Sriracha Mayo.  Serve immediately with as-is or with desired garnishes and dig in!



Lucille said...

A beautiful recipe, Bryanna! I will try it on a day that I reserve for cooking. Thank you for sharing this!

Nezumi said...

I love okonomiyaki! I can't wait to try your recipe, it looks delicious.

Corrin Radd said...

Made these for dinner and enjoyed them.

Unknown said...

My doctor recently asked me to start eating mostly plant based for health issues. I wondered if I would be able to make okonomiyaki, then I found your recipe. This was really good! I do add 1/4 cup grated potato to the batter and also 1/4 cup chopped, pickled ginger.

Nannette said...

Thank you again for this Bryanna. Once again, your lovely site makes me look like I know what I'm doing even though I didn't even have half a plan when I got home today. <3

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Aww... thanks, Nanette!