Tofu Okonomiyaki (Japanese-style savory pancake)


Lately I’ve been substituting tofu (soybean curd, not soy milk) for water or other liquids in various standard recipes, and I find that there is invariably an improvement in flavor and texture. My experiments started when I used silken tofu (kinugoshi) instead of water to make the rice-flour dough for my shiratama dango desserts. Since then my experiments have spread to various savory dishes, both those based on traditional recipes and those that I’ve made up.

By using silken tofu instead of the water called for in a traditional Japanese okonomiyaki, I ended up with a fluffy pancake that stayed tender even when it was chilled. I started with a store-bought okonomiyaki flour product, added one egg and enough silken tofu to make a soft (not fluid) batter. Then I stirred in whatever colorful leftover veggies I had in the refrigerator (chopped green beans, carrots, onion, and kernels of corn), not the shredded cabbage that is usual for okonomiyaki. But, of course, you can use cabbage if you have it.

If you have some bacon or thin-sliced pork belly, first lay that in a lightly-oiled, heated frying pan. After the meat is nearly cooked, spoon the batter into the pan on top of the meat. My batter is thick enough that I have to pat it into a circle with the back of the spoon. Drizzle just a little dark sesame oil around the edge of the pancake and jiggle the pan a bit, to keep the pancake from sticking and to give it a yummy smell.

When the bottom of the pancake gets deliciously browned, and the top starts looking dry-ish, flip it over and cook a a couple minutes more till the other side is also browned. I cut this pancake into squares and served it with a dipping sauce made by mixing soy sauce, tart citrus juice (such as yuzu or lemon), and dark sesame oil.

Because it stays tender when cold, it makes a great addition to bentos.

One Response to “Tofu Okonomiyaki (Japanese-style savory pancake)”

  1. This looks so good I want to take it right off that plate and eat it all up! 😀 I have to try to make it like this, and I have to stop reading food blogs before I eat breakdast! 🙂

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