I spent a few weeks in Japan when I was 15. I stayed in the suburbs of Osaka with a lovely host family, who introduced me to Okonomiyaki. In train stations and little restaurants all over the place, you can point to a bowl of ingredients displayed in a glass case, and then take your seat around a table with a frying surface embedded in the top. Servers bring your ingredients to the table and add an egg, and then you fry up your own and top it as you like with sauces and cheese.
While my host mom insisted that this was a form of pizza, the actual base of this treat is cabbage and other veggies, in a thin batter. There are some traditional Japanese ingredients that give real okonomiyaki a distinct flavor. For my family, I tend to just clean out the produce drawer, adding whatever leftover meats or cheeses we have on hand.
Around here, it’s called Garbage Pizza. And it is delish.
1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
6 button mushrooms, chopped
This is what I had on hand, but you can absolutely add whatever floats your boat. Just chop it up. Squashes and shredded sweet potato are really yummy in this.
Okay, then I decided to add some of that fake crab meat, because my kids like it for some reason. I’m lukewarm on it, but figured what the hay.
Okay, here’s where it all went wrong. I’ve made this hundreds of times, and yet the one time I’m taking pictures, I get all distracted and screw up a step. What you want to do is toss the chopped veggies and meats with about 1/2 cup of flour per 1 cup of chopped ingredients and then add one egg for every 1 cup of chopped ingredients.
Do not mix the egg and flour together first. Which is what I did to take a photo and then it made my life way harder. In summary, toss the chopped ingredients with the flour to coat, and THEN add the eggs. You are welcome.
Once you have all the ingredients mixed and tossed and looking good, you can heat up your skillet. I used olive oil to prevent sticking and get a nice crispy crust on the patties.
You want to fry these in patties, about 5 minutes on a side. Once you flip them over, you can top them with some shredded cheese if you like. Another popular topping is worchestershire sauce or catsup.
We served ours with barbecue sauce and mayo, but the kids like to eat them straight, too.
The kids all love these, which is the power of things fried into patties. Total success!