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Okonomiyaki and Mayuko’s little kitchen cooking class

Okonomiyaki and Mayuko’s little kitchen cooking class

The most delicious pancake, Japanese style

Mayuko’s little kitchen cooking class – Shibuya, Tokyo

Spending any amount of time in Japan and it inspires multiple stories. The longer you’re there, the more stories to tell. This being food blog week, I wanted to tell you about the cooking class I took in Tokyo where I learned to make simple, every day Japanese food, including Okonomiyaki. Referred to as a Japanese pancake, to me, it’s more like a delicious, stuffed, almost breakfast sandwich type, but not as heavy because the base is cabbage. Normally not a cabbage fan. or vegetables in general, to be honest, but when vegetables are prepared Asian style, I cannot get enough.

When I met Mayuko, the award winning cooking instructor, at the Sendagaya train station in the Shibuya Tokyo prefecture, I was early and had decided to get a coffee at a local shop and wait for her and the rest of the group. Showing up perfectly on time, she’s a lovely lady who appeared to be quite young, as most Japanese people do. She politely informed me that there would be 5 others joining us, but they had text her that they were running late. “They are from Brazil,” she said and in my mind, having given tours for years to Brazilians, I said “No shock there.” In my experience, clocks are secondary in Brazil, the good life always first. You can imagine my face as I watched these young women come running up, out of breath, all speaking English and Portuguese at the same time with the volume turned way up. Mayuko greeted them and it was a short walk to her apartment to begin our 5 hour class.

Mayuko’s little kitchen cooking class is far more than just a cooking class. The most gracious host in the world takes you into her home and instructs, while at the same time shares stories about her life, Japanese culture and language. It was a magical experience. Japanese cooking is really very simple and I hope you make this. Most ingredients can be found in the grocery store, including the aonori, seaweed flakes, which I found in the ethnic foods aisle at my local store. Bonito flakes, dried, fermented and smoked fish, are easy to order online, or if you live close to a Japanese food market, which we are blessed to have all over Los Angeles, are easily found there. Japanese mayonnaise, or Kew Pie, is delicious and different than the America’s version. I’ll add the recipe and if you have a food processor, it’s easy to make too.

Huge regrets that I don’t have a clear photo of Mayuko. I do, however have lots of video that the Brazilian girls took and sent to me through whatsapp, but, my editing skills are still lacking, so, not yet, hopefully soon. These pandemic weeks go by very quickly when you have a weekly blog with 2 segments due every wednesday. Not complaining, I feel blessed to have it and I love sharing all these incredible experiences I’ve had. I’ve altered Mayuko’s recipe slightly, just to add a little more spice. Pork belly, or Bacon is the standard but you can use any thin cut meat that you like, or even leave it out if you’re vegetarian. Enjoy!

Itadaki ma su! (let’s eat!)



For 3 pancakes

2 eggs

1 cup (100g) all purpose flour

1 tsp dashi stock powder (optional)

1/2 cup of water

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

black pepper

2 cups (200g) cabbage, thinly julienned

8 slices of bacon or pork belly

1 Tbsp cooking oil (vegetable, canola)

1/4 cup okonomiyaki sauce

Japanese Mayonnaisse or Kew Pie (recipe below)

Bonito flakes

Aonori flakes (seaweed)

dash hot sauce

  1. Mix hot water and dashi powder, let cool to room temp
  2. mix flour, baking powder, salt and dashi stock (using only water is fine) in a bowl
  3. add eggs, cover and let rest 15-30 minutes
  4. add cabbage and mix or fold thoroughly
  5. pour oil in pan over medium-low heat. add about 1 1/2 cups mix to pan. use spatula to form pancake
  6. place 3 strips of bacon, cut in half, over top of pancake
  7. cover, cook for 5 minutes
  8. flip over and cook 5 minutes
  9. Remove from pan. Brush top with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise and bonito flakes
  10. serve warm

Kew Pie Mayonnaise

250 ml (1 1/4 cup) canola or grape seed oil

75 ml (1/3 cup) warm Dashi stock

2 egg yolks

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp lemon (or yuzu) juice

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp mustard (preferably Japanese karashi, but I used dijon)

1 tbsp sugar

Put one Tbsp of sugar in a glass mixing bowl, with 2 Tbsp lemon juice and salt. add rice vinegar. Combine until sugar and salt dissolves

Add 1/2 tsp mustard, combine in food processor until well mixed

switch on the processor again add egg yolks, blend at full speed for 20 to 30 seconds

with the processor on low speed, gradually add the oil a little at a time, in a continuous stream, allowing it to be gradually incorporated into the mixture

now gradually add the dashi stock until the correct consistency is achieved. more stock = thinner


The Herb Garden update – week 4

4 weeks and the basils and dill are totally out of control. I prune and the next day it’s bigger! The parsley, thyme and mint are fighting for their lives with the ever growing jungle of herbs. Making pesto and dips, herb pizza is next.


What’s your favorite Japanese food?







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  1. Helen Muci says:

    Hi Chris! It sounds delicious, but my cooking days are over.

    Whenever I hear the word Brazilian, my ears perk up. As you probably know, I was born in Brazil. I lived there with my missionary parents & my 2 siblings until I was almost 16. During that time we did return to the U.S. for a couple of furloughs. After we returned to Brazil, I attended H.S., and graduated from the Colegio Londrinense at the end of 1952. Soon after we came back to the U.S., I attended Pasadena Nazarene College ( now Point Loma University in San Diego). After I completed some education courses, I began teaching in East L.A. There I met Stan & eventually we
    married. We moved to La Habra & began attending E. W. Methodist Church where we met your parents. You know the rest of the story.

    I have a copy of the Daily Guidepost 2020 for you. Is there any way I can get it to you? It’s extremely difficult getting to the P.O. because Emerald Court, during this shut-down, only provides transportation to medical appointments.

    So much for now.

    Love & blessings,
    Helen M


    • CB says:

      What a nice story Mrs Muci thanks so much. Thanks also for the guide posts book, however, I think we’ll have to wait until the pandemic is over before I can go to get it from you personally. I look forward that time when I can give you a hug!

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