Okonomiyaki means “whatever you like, grilled” and is one of the most well-known Japanese dishes. It is commonly referred to as a Japanese pancake.
The base vegetable ingredients are white cabbage and carrot, but you can also any other vegetable, plus sources of protein such as prawns, lean bacon or chicken. In Japan there are Okonomiyaki restaurants where you can sit at a table with a grill plate, and cook your own okonomiyaki with your choice of ingredients!
Okonomiyaki is a nutritious dish consisting of vegetables and choice of protein – which can be embedded into the pancake itself or served on the side. It is a fun and different way of enjoying the not-so-commonly enjoyed cabbage, with some Japanese flavours.
Okonomiyaki is a flexible dish that can be customised to your liking, and for Rowie (who has made this dish multiple times before!), she actually likes hers with prawns.
On some days Rowie has lighter training sessions which means her energy expenditure and therefore energy requirements are lower. Okonomiyaki is perfect for her to have after lighter training days or rest days, because it is centred around vegetables and protein.
The fibre from the big serve of vegetables in the okonomiyaki plus protein increase satiety levels to help keep her full. On days where she has multiple or heavy training sessions and needs extra carbohydrates for recovery, she could serve the okonomiyaki with a bowl of rice on the side to make it a complete meal.
Some tips to make this dish a success and taste delicious would be to cook it on low so the cabbage softens, and cover it with a lid. You could also add a splash of cooking sake (Japanese cooking alcohol) for extra flavour. Don’t worry because the alcohol cooks off during the process!
Try not to make the pancake too big otherwise it may be a challenge to flip!
Check out the latest episode of our Tastes for Tokyo series which sees VIS water polo athlete Rowie Webster prepare Okonomiyaki:
About Tastes for Tokyo
TASTES for Tokyo is a pillar of the VIS’ Together for Tokyo campaign that focuses specifically on nutrition content.
The Tastes for Tokyo video series will consist of six cooking episodes and four feature episodes.
The cooking episodes will see VIS Dietitian match Japanese inspired recipes to the nutritional needs of VIS athletes striving to compete at the Tokyo Games.
Follow #Tastes4Tokyo for more Japanese inspired nutrition tips, cooking lessons and speciality recipes!