Okonimiyaki, a dish whose name literally means "how you like", can contain any number of fillings. But as depicted in Sweetness & Lightning, it can contain a great deal more: childlike wonder, paternal bonding, and squid. Follow along this week as we recreate this essential Japanese comfort food, and maybe learn a thing or two about growing up in the process.



Okonomiyaki Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 Tbsp ketchup
  • 3 ½ Tbsp worcestershire sauce


Japanese Mayo

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar



  • ¼ cup pickled red ginger
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • ½ head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup dashi broth
  • 1 Japanese mountain yam, grated (if you can’t find this, you can use ½ cup of milk combined with 1 tsp baking powder)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup tenkasu (fried tempura scraps)
  • Slices of pork belly (or bacon)
  • Dried bonito flakes (for garnish)
  • Aonori (dried green seaweed, for garnish)
  • Any toppings/fillings you desire


  1. Start by roughly chopping your pickled red ginger, scallions and ½ head of cabbage. To shred the cabbage, start by cutting the half in half and removing the core. Slice into thin ribbons and then slice the ribbons crosswise into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. For the batter, combine 1 cup cake flour with 1 ½ tsp of baking powder. Grate 1 Japanese mountain yam (or combine ½ a cup of milk with 1 tsp of baking powder) into the dry ingredients and then add 1 cup dashi broth. Whisk to combine and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Lightly beat 4 large eggs and add into the mixture once you remove if from the fridge. Then add ¼ cup pickled red ginger, about ¾ of your chopped scallions, ½ a cup of tenkasu, and about ¾ of your chopped cabbage. Fold in and mix together until everything is combined. Then add your remaining cabbage and mix that in as well.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat. Add ½ of your mixture to the pan, and using 2 rubber spatulas, coax it into the proper shape, about 1 inch thick and about 8 inches around. Top with pork belly (or bacon) and cover for 5 minutes.
  5. After 5 minutes remove top and using either one big spatula or two small ones, flip and let cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Brush the top with a generous layer of Okonomiyaki sauce, and then stripe it with the Japanese mayonnaise, then using a wooden skewer, create a zig-zag pattern.
  7. Optionally top with dried bonito flakes, aonori, and scallions, serve and enjoy!