Cook This: Pork Floss Okonomiyaki, A Japanese Pancake with Chinese Flavors

June 20, 2017

In a world that jumps at the thought of outrageous dishes that has 15 things going on at the same time, something pared down is a breath of fresh air. A milkshake doesn’t need one whole chicken dinner, a medium sized pickle, a slice of triple chocolate cake, and a fist-sized dollop of whipped cream precariously set on top of it (and let’s face it, adding that pickle was just overkill). Pork floss, while an addition to many dishes, is an example of restraint. It offers flavor while allowing the other flavors and textures to shine through—a necessary characteristic in an okonomiyaki where harmony between ingredients is key for a great pancake—which is why we tossed it into this week’s okonomiyaki recipe.

A quick scan of the ingredient list proves that a few key substitutions have been made from the traditional style of okonomiyaki. Instead of using film-thin katsuobushi or umami-rich aonori, the pancake depends on the pork floss for meatiness and umami. The pork floss contributes to the okonomiyaki through not only its umami and meaty flavor, but also the the spices it’s infused with during cooking. For the sauce, hoisin takes the place of okonomiyaki sauce, with their similar flavor profiles making hoisin a shoo in as a substitute. Okonomiyaki and hoisin sauce are both sweet, though hoisin has more of a pungent spice compared to the original. Grated cassava is added to the batter, which helps the pancake to stay custardy and soft in the middle once cooked. In authentic Japanese recipes, the yamaimo root vegetable is used to achieve this texture.

Similar to preparing a frittata or a pancake, the okonomiyaki is an easy recipe for any home cook. The batter and toppings requires no special treatment or additional process, all it requires is mixing, frying, and laying all the toppings—basics any aspiring cook will know how to do. During frying flipping the thick disc can prove to be a challenge for anyone, especially if you use a large pan. Take a page from Kenji Lopez-Alt’s recipe and use a plate or a pan lid to help you flip the pancake. Whether you’re dealing with a pork floss surplus or you’re looking for alternative styles of okonomiyaki, get your fix from this pork floss okonomiyaki.

Pork Floss Okonomiyaki

Yield: 2 pancakes
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients: Batter

  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 120g cassava, grated finely
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp dashi powder
  • 3 eggs
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Ingredients: Toppings

  • ½ cabbage, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 4 slices processed cheese
  • 3 slices bacon, sliced in half across
  • hoisin, to taste
  • japanese mayonnaise, to taste
  • pork floss, to taste
  • sesame seeds, to taste
  • green onions,  to taste


  1. Mix all batter ingredients together and whisk until well combined.
  2. Mix in sliced cabbage.
  3. Heat up a large non-stick pan or cast iron griddle.
  4. Add oil in to the pan or griddle.
  5. Place half the batter on the hot pan. And scrape the side of the pancake to control the spread of the batter.
  6. Bring down heat and lay 3 slices of bacon on the batter.
  7. Continue to cook until batter is firm on the sides.
  8. Turn okonomiyaki over with two spatulas.
  9. Place sliced cheese on the still hot surface of the pancake.
  10. Cook until cabbage is cooked through.
  11. Transfer on serving plate.
  12. Brush with hoisin and top with floss.
  13. Use a squeeze bottle to put mayonnaise on floss.
  14. Garnish with sesame seeds and spring onions.
Bernice Escobar SEE AUTHOR Bernice Escobar

Bernice loves to get nerdy about food and making people hungry. In her free time, she attempts to play with her anti-social cat and fantasizes about all things sweet.

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