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Gluten free/Vegetarian Okonomiyaki

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

Makes 1 large pancake. Serves 2. Takes 20 minutes.

Here's my recipe for an extremely simple take on Okonomiyaki - a savoury Japanese pancake. If you've never had Okonomiyaki before, its a cabbage, egg, flour and water base, and then pretty much anything you like either in or on top. It's then covered in Japanese mayo, bonito flakes, seaweed, and ginger. That's the beautiful thing about this meal, it's incredibly customisable to your tastes "okonomi" literally means "to one's liking". I have popped some suggestions down below on what you could use in your Okonomiyaki.

There are different traditional Okonomiyaki flavours in different regions of Japan. The two main types come from Hiroshima and Kansai. In Hiroshima prefecture, it is made with yakisoba noodles and often includes a fried egg on top. In Kansai, its quite common to be topped with sliced beef or pork, with grated Yamaimo (taro root), beni shouga (red pickle), and Tenkasu (bits of fried batter).

Some common ingredients for the Okonomiyaki batter are:

  • Shrimp

  • Octopus

  • Spring Onions

  • Squid

  • Mochi

  • Corn

  • Cheese

  • Shiso leaves

  • Yakisoba noodles

  • Blanched potatoes

  • Bean sprouts

  • Mushrooms

  • Kimchi

And can be topped with:

  • Japanese mayo

  • Fried egg

  • Katsuoboshi (dried bonito flakes)

  • Okonomiyaki sauce

  • Ginger

  • Aonori (green dried seaweed) Tenkasu (Fried bits of batter)

My recipe will be both gluten free and vegetarian which means there are a couple of ingredients that I've had to swap from a traditional Okonomiyaki such as Dashi, Okonomiyaki sauce, and katsuobushi.

Traditional dashi is a stock that forms the base for miso soup, however is usually made from fish and therefore not vegetarian. You can also buy it as a powder and there are variations that are made from shiitake mushrooms, but I haven't been able to find a gluten free version yet. I will update this blog if I do!

Okonomiyaki sauce is made from oyster sauce, Worcestershire, and ketchup and honey. I am working on a version that is both gluten free and vegetarian but for now I have used my sweet teriyaki sauce in place.

Katsuobushi is dried, fermented fish flakes, traditionally made from smoked skipjack tuna, or the less expensive bonito. To get a similar flavour/texture, I'm using seaweed flakes.

Here is my recipe:


For the Okonomiyaki batter

  • 100 grams of gluten free flour

  • 120 ml water

  • 1 packed cup of shredded cabbage

  • 2 spring onions

  • 1 Tbsp of Seaweed sprinkles

  • 2 eggs

For the top

  • Mayonaise

  • Sticky teriyaki sauce or Vegetarian Okonomiyaki sauce (see below for recipes).

  • Seaweed flakes (or seaweed sheets cut up into small flakes)

  • 1 Spring onion


  1. Shred the cabbage to about 1 cm thick and 3 cm in length, slice the spring onions finely.

  2. Combine the flour and water in a large bowl

  3. Add 1 cup of shredded cabbage, the sliced spring onions, and seaweed sprinkles to the batter and mix to combine. Crack 2 eggs into the bowl and mix again, making sure the cabbage is coated in batter.

  4. Heat a large frying pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil to a medium high heat.

  5. Once the frying pan is hot, pour the batter into the pan, spreading the batter evenly. Don't press the batter down, we want it to rise.

  6. After 5 minutes the bottom should be nicely browned. Gently edge a spatula around the bass, prepping it to be flipped.

  7. With extreme skill, flip the pancake in one go. You can do this using a spatula on each side of the pancake and flip simultaneously. If it breaks, don't worry - so many topping go on top that you won't even notice.

  8. Fry for a further 5 minutes, until the bottom it browned and then transfer to your serving plate. Cover in teriyaki/okonomiyaki sauce, then a lot of mayonnaise, seaweed flakes and spring onions.

  9. Enjoy! If you don finish it all, you can keep it for left overs the next day.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp water

  • 1 tsp corn flour/corn starch

  • 1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

  • 1 Tbsp mirin

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • A heaped teaspoon of finely chopped garlic

  • A heaped teaspoon of finely chopped ginger

  1. In a sauce pan, combine the water and cornflour and mix until the cornflour has dissolved.

  2. The add the soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and mix again.

  3. Turn the stove to a high heat and bring the sauce to a boil.

  4. Reduce to a low-medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a thick and sticky liquid.

Vegetarian Okonomiyaki Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of Lee Kum Kee's Mushroom Vegetarian Stir Fry Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of gluten free Worcester sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Mix all of the ingredients together to create you gluten free and vegetarian Okonomiyaki Sauce!


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