Okonomiyaki – sweet potato and cabbage pancakes

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Kate Doran serves up her delightfully crispy okonomiyaki recipe, filled with sweet potato, cabbage and toasted sesame. The beauty of these Japanese fritters is that they are endlessly adaptable, so feel free to include any ingredients you have to hand. If vegetarian, make sure you source an okonomiyaki flour without the traditional fish-based seasonings.

First published in 2016

These flavoursome, crisp little fritters are inspired by okonomiyaki, a type of savoury Japanese pancake. The name okonomiyaki roughly translates as ‘what you like, grilled’ and all sorts of exciting ingredients can be added depending on what you have in your fridge. Octopus, pork belly and shrimp are all traditional, but here I’ve kept things plant-based with a combination of sweet potato and cabbage.

Okonomiyaki are traditionally served with a Japanese sauce of the same name and mayonnaise, then sprinkled with bonito flakes or nori. To make a suitable (although possibly sacrilegious) substitute for this sauce, combine three parts ketchup to one part Worcestershire sauce with a dash of soy. Alternatively, a very British squirt of brown sauce and a fried egg work wonders if you’re eating these pancakes for breakfast.

Note that some okonomiyaki flours contain dried fish, so if you’re vegetarian you’ll want to seek out a suitable brand.




Sweet potato okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki sauce

  • 3 tbsp of ketchup
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash of soy sauce, to taste

To serve


In a medium saucepan, gently cook the spring onions, garlic and ginger in a little coconut oil until the onion is soft and translucent, for around 5 minutes. Set aside to cool
Mix together the okonomiyaki sauce ingredients until well-combined and set aside
In a medium bowl, combine the cooled spring onion mixture, cabbage and sweet potato. Stir in the egg, soy sauce and sesame seeds until combined
Add the flour and stir gently to combine. You want the vegetables to stick together with a fairly thick consistency, so add a little more flour if necessary
Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large saucepan then dollop in golf ball-sized rounds of pancake batter, allowing a few centimetres between each one
Flatten slightly with the back of a spatula and cook until crisp and golden on one side, for about 3 minutes, before flipping and cooking on the other side
Repeat in batches then serve immediately with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise and powdered seaweed, if you like
First published in 2016

Kate Doran is the blogger behind 'The Little Loaf', specialising in nostalgic baking recipes.

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