I don’t like omelettes and I don’t like cabbage. I once had this dish at a Japanese restaurant in London and I didn’t particularly like it. So I had rather dismissed okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake omelette, as ‘not for me’.
But after Christmas I had lots of eggs and a big sweet cabbage. I’d also made dashi, the classic Japanese stock, which is a component of this recipe so I thought I’d give it another go. My version was so much better than what I had eaten in the restaurant, it was just gorgeous to eat. It’s terribly simple to make, fairly healthy and a great user upper of leftovers. It also looks rather pretty don’t you think?
Recently all of my posts are just of recipes. I feel underwhelmed by my life and overwhelmed by events in the world to the point that I am rendered silent. I feel helpless. Perhaps I have too much to say or too little. I don’t know.
All I can do is cook nice things. Cooking is what it always is for me, soothing, rhythmic, practical, therapeutic, healing.
Serves 4 as a filling lunch or early supper
200g plain flour
300ml Dashi (this can be bought in sachets or you can make it yourself)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 fresh cabbage, finely sliced
Groundnut oil for frying
3 spring onions, green part only, sliced thinly
120g pink pickled ginger (or pink pickled turnip, grated)
A squirty bottle of okonomiyaki sauce or brown sauce
A squirty bottle of Kewpie mayonnaise or ordinary mayonnaise
Mix the flour, dashi, eggs, salt together in a large bowl. Then add the baking powder and sliced cabbage. Reserve a little cabbage to put on top of the omelette.
Heat up a non-stick or cast iron frying pan with some groundnut oil, on a medium heat.
Add 1/4 of the contents of your bowl, spreading the mixture with a fish slice so that it forms an omelette/pancake of about 12cm (8 inches) and 2cm (3/4 inch) in depth.
Cook on a medium to low heat for a few minutes until the underside is well set then flip it over and add a little more cabbage on top.
When golden, transfer it to a plate and start on the next one.
With the one on the plate, take the brown sauce and squirt it in a spiral on top of the omelette/pancake. Then with the mayonnaise, squirt it in a zigzag pattern over the top. Then add some spring onions, some pickled ginger.
Makes about 1 litre
In a medium saucepan, add the kombu to the water. Simmer for 10 minutes until the kombu floats. Remove the seaweed. Bring to the boil then add another 150ml of cold water to cool it down. Add the bonito flakes if using and let them steep for a few minutes. Strain through a sieve. Use within three days.