Let’s be honest, I could eat sweet potatoes nearly every day. I could also (and usually do) put bonito flakes on almost anything. And these sautéed Brussels sprouts? Don’t even get me started…
We’ll get back to the stuffed sweet potato version in a moment, but for those who aren’t aware, Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake — a savoury one, and more akin to huge fritter if we’re being properly descriptive. It’s found all over Japan and, not surprisingly, interpreted differently depending on what city you’re eating in.
The common thread, regardless of location, is cabbage (and often noodles) mixed into a pancake-esque batter, topped with squiggles of Japanese mayo and bbq sauce, a sprinkle of nori flakes or furikake, and a generous pinch of bonito shavings and green onions. We always add a fried egg (because fried egg) and pile on extra bonito.
We hunt out Okonomiyaki whenever we’re in Japan, however we didn’t go in March this year (don’t worry, we’ll be there in the end of May, haha) and the hearty pancakes have been on my mind since I came across a recipe for a sweet potato Okonomiyaki a few months back. Of course my desire for the dish was greater than my desire to grate a pile of sweet potato and, if I’m being honest, I was after the toppings more than the pancake when this creation was born!
I’ll get to the recipe in a moment but first, these Brussels sprouts — good lord they’re good and they’ve been toping all sorts of things recently because they’re stunningly simple to make. Thinly shaved sprouts, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper, hot pan, done.
Of course you could always make roasted sweet potato fries instead and use the same toppings — or grate the potato, mix it with the shaved Brussles and fold into a thin batter for anything from bitesize to pansized savoury panckaes — but that’s another one for another day!
All the toppings of Okonomiyaki, stuffed into a baked sweet potato. Perfect.
- 1 sweet potato
- handful Brussels sprouts (approx 5 large)
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 2 tsp olive oil
- sea salt & cracked pepper
- bonito flakes
- shredded nori or furikake
- mayo (or alternative)
- bbq sauce
- thinly sliced green onion (spring onion) tops
- fried egg, optional but highly encouraged
Scrub sweet potato and prick three or four times with a fork. Enclose in a baking paper and foil packet (or place on rimmed a baking paper lined tray and cover well with foil) and bake at 180ºC (350ºF) oven for an hour until beginning to soften. Uncover/unwrap potato and bake a further 15 - 20 mins until tender.
When the potato is almost done, thinly shave the Brussels sprouts and garlic using a mandoline (or ninja knife skills). Place a skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, sprouts and garlic and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute 3 - 5 minutes until shaved sprouts are soft with a few slightly charred bits.
To serve, cut sweet potato open and use a fork gently mash flesh. Fill with sauteed Brussels sprouts and top with a fried egg. Be as generous or restrained as you wish with the bonito, nori, onions, mayo and bbq sauce.
- Mayo: I'm not a mayo person (never have been) so I used thick natural Greek yoghurt instead. Unsweetened coconut yoghurt or even cashew aioli would work well too.
- Bonito flakes: called Katsuobushi, bonito flakes are made by shaving dried tuna or bonito. You can find them in most Asian grocery stores or online. Simply leave them off for a vegan version!
- BBQ sauce: we don't really have this around so I whipped up a quick version by simmering some tomato passata with a spoonful of molasses and a bit of dijon mustard until thickened.
- Sweet potato baking times will vary -- with the age and type of sweet potato as well as the size. I often bake as per above then leave it in the oven as it cools if it needs a bit more time.
dairy-free // gluten-free // vegan option // soy-free // nut-free