Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancakes) with Homemade Japanese Mayonnaise


I’ve been trying desperately to get on the kale bandwagon over the last year or so, but with no luck. I’ve tried it half a dozen ways but with no success. My brother kept telling me I needed to try it in Okonomiyaki but because of my earlier failed attempts at eating kale in any form, I kept pushing it off. .


That is, until he made some for me over the holidays, and let me tell you what, I am officially hooked. 20150106_173523

So whether you are already a kale fanatic, or you haven’t yet come to terms with the stuff, you need to go get yourself some kale and make up a batch of this. 20150106_171731

I adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen (great blog by the way, check it out). It’s a pretty simple recipe:


Chop up some veggies,


Toss with gluten free flour (I use GF Jules) and a few eggs,

and pan fry in a bit of oil.

We’ve tried it with and without the Japanese Mayonnaise and it’s good either way, but the mayonnaise definitely takes it up a notch. It is seriously delicious stuff. Seriously. It’s not like the Mayo you’re used to (and you might never go back).


I feel I need to make a disclaimer here, though. I have never actually had authentic Japanese mayonnaise. The popular stuff that everyone apparently eats (Kewpie), contains wheat and soy and all the rest, so I knew immediately that I would have to make our own. I combined just about every copycat recipe I found online (they are all surprisingly dissimilar) along with the ingredients list on the Kewpie package. So in reality, I’m not sure if it tastes anything like the real deal, but I do know that it tastes Amazing. So there you go. Just try it and let me know if it tastes like the real deal 😉 



(Japanese Pancakes)


adapted from Smitten Kitchen

*gluten-free *oat-free  *dairy free *soy free *nut free



  • Use a soy free mayonnaise to make the Japanese Mayo soy free. My hubby is allergic to soy but can tolerate soybean oil, so the one listed below worked fine for us.
  • Shredding the carrots is a bit tedious, so plan a little extra time to take care of that. You can use a vegetable peeler, the large side of a cheese grater, or some other kind of tool that juliennes vegetables.
  • You can shred the veggies hours ahead of time and store in separate containers in the fridge to make for a quick dinner.
  • These pancakes are best with the Japanese Mayonnaise and BBQ sauce below. You can also top with bacon or other meat if you want. We have eaten these with crumbled bacon, sliced pork chops, or thinly sliced steak which has been pan fried in olive oil, Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce, garlic, and pepper, and usually add a side of rice.
  • Simply omit the Japanese Mayonnaise for a dairy free version
  • I use GF Jules flour for this recipe every time because it always gives foods a smooth, non-gritty texture. If you choose to use another flour, be careful to use a starchy, rice based flour that won’t make your pancakes gritty (Cup4Cup might work).


For the Pancakes:

  • 8 cups shredded kale, packed (about 1 bunch, or 4 large leaves)
  • 5 cups shredded cabbage (about 1/2 small head)
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup green onions, cut diagonally in small slices, plus extra for garnishing
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup gluten free flour (I used GF Jules and recommend you do the same for the best texture. Using another flour might yield gritty pancakes-no good!)
  • 8 eggs, beaten

For the Japanese Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup gluten free mayonnaise (I used Best Foods w/ Olive Oil-it’s gluten free)
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard (be sure to check labels, not all are gluten free!)
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • salt to taste (we don’t eat much salt so I only added a dash)

For the Japanese BBQ:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 T worcestershire sauce (we always use Lea and Perrins reduced sodium)
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ginger


For the Pancakes:

  1. To shred kale, stack 2 leaves and first remove ribs as shown in the picture above, then slice widthwise to make thin, short, strips. Measure and put into a very large bowl.
  2. Shred cabbage by cutting a head of cabbage in half, then cutting one of the halves in 4 equal pieces, and finally slicing thinly in the other direction (refer to picture above). Measure and add to the large bowl.
  3. Shred carrots by peeling, or using large side of a cheese grater. If using grater, hold carrots at a slant so you get shreds of carrots that are about 3 inches in length. Measure and add to bowl.
  4. Add green onions, salt, and GF Jules flour and toss to coat veggies.
  5. Add eggs, and toss until all ingredients are evenly distributed. The batter will be mostly veggies, just coated in egg and flour.
  6. Heat a skillet with a thin layer of oil. I set mine just a bit below medium, you want it to be hot enough to sizzle, but not so hot that the pancakes burn before being done in the middle.
  7. You can make the pancakes any size you wish, we usually make them large so they take up most of the skillet. This takes about 1 1/2 cups of the ‘batter’, which you plop into the hot oil and then mash down and form with a spatula to make your pancake shape. Cook 1-2 minutes until fairly brown underneath, then flip and cook until the other side is browned as well. These are best served right out of the pan so they are crispy, but you can also put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or plate.
  8. Just before serving, drizzle pancakes with Japanese Mayonnaise and BBQ, and top with meat if desired.
  9. Best served with the Japanese Mayo and BBQ sauce, but in a pinch they are also good plain. Do not underestimate the Japanese Mayo though, you really must try it!

For the Japanese Mayonnaise:

  1. Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving. You can definitely make this a day ahead for easy dinner prep the next day! Leftovers store great in the fridge.

For the Japanese BBQ:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until warm and slightly thickened. This can also be done ahead and re-warmed.

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  • Reply
    Raia Torn (@RaiaTorn)
    June 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I have made okonomiyaki once before, but your version sounds SO much better than mine. 😉 I’m going to have to try it again! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Savoring Saturdays, Celeste. Hope to see you back this weekend! 🙂

    • Reply
      June 20, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      It’s a favorite at our house, I hope you get a chance to make it soon! I was MIA today but hopefully I’ll catch you next week. Thanks for stopping by!

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  • Reply
    Jules Shepard
    March 9, 2019 at 11:45 am

    This looks so yummy! Now here is a pancake I can get behind!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I would LOVE to see a video in this. Anything that is out-of-the-ordinary, would do nicely with a video, since others do not know what it’s supposed to look like during the process (you know, to show us what were doing right or wrong) 🙂

    • Reply
      March 30, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Danielle! I am working on adding videos to all posts, it’s a big project!

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