Okonomiyaki Inspired Mess: Recipe

It might be impossible to take a good photo of this rather unattractive okonomiyaki inspired recipe but what it lacks in photogenicity it makes up for in taste. This okonomiyaki inspired mess was the result of a craving for some Japanese food and a need to use up the assorted ingredients left in the fridge at the end of the week. These things can go either way but on this occasion, the flavour and texture really worked, resulting in a recipe that’s worth sharing and making again.

okonomiyaki inspired recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes          /          Cooking Time: 15 minutes          /          Serves 2


  • 400g tin of lentils, drained
  • 1/2 cup (234g) plain flour
  • 100ml milk
  • 1/2 purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 14 katsuobushi/bonito flakes
  • 3 large (56g) eggs
  • Kewpie mayonnaise
  • Tonkatsu sauce
  • Ground sansho



  1. Mix together the drained lentils, plain flour, milk and 1 egg in a bowl.
  2. Pour half of the mixture into a hot fry pan (add a little bit of oil first if it’s not non-stick) and leave for about 5 minutes, until it becomes solid like a pancake and golden brown on the bottom.
  3. Flip the pancake over and crack an egg over the top.
  4. After about 2 minutes, once the egg has cooked onto the pancake, transfer the pancake onto a plate.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 with the remaining batter.
  6. Put the cabbage and onion into the fry pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the cabbage has wilted and the onion is translucent.
  7. Place the cabbage/onion onto the 2 pancakes.
  8. Place the katsuobushi/bonito flakes evenly on top of the cabbage/onion.
  9. Sprinkle the sancho and drizzle a good squeeze of Kewpie mayonnaise and Tonkatsu sauce over the top.



This isn’t one where you want to be playing around too much with the ingredients. Regular mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce are close, but won’t give you the real taste that you can only get by using Kewpie mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce. The easiest tonkatsu sauce to find outside of Japan is a brand called “Bulldog” – you want the one with the orange label, not the yellow or white label.

Ground sansho is not too common outside of Japan and while it has a very unique flavour you can get away without using it if you can’t find any.

Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.


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