A friend of mine really likes okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake) but always makes it with egg. I don't eat eggs, so I'd like to make an adaptation that we can share and eat together.

Okonomiyaki is normally made from shredded cabbage, flour, eggs, and water. I know there are a wide variety of alternatives for eggs, but I don't know how they compare in terms of flavour and texture so I don't know which one to use.

What would work best as an egg substitute in okonomiyaki? Are there some substitutes that wouldn't work at all? I'm mainly concerned about taste and appearance, not nutritional value.

1 Answer 1


I have a recipe for okonomiyaki from the book Cooking with Soy by Yoshiko Takeuchi

It suggests using ground flaxseed as a substitute for egg. I find ground and beaten flaxseed an effective replacement for egg in baking. I like to whip it with soymilk, but this recipe uses water.

The recipe incorporates okara, which gives it a more substantial, less dense texture, but might encourage it to fall apart more easily. Omit the okara if you don't have any.

Here is the recipe, slightly simplified

Okara Okonomiyaki

makes 4 pancakes

  • 30g ground flaxseed1
  • 40g rice flour2
  • 80g potato flour2
  • 100g finely chopped cabbage
  • 100g okara3 (optional)
  • salt
  • neutral oil

  1. Put the ground flaxseed in a blender with 90ml water and process until creamy (if you don't have a blender, you can whisk it), then mix in 200ml water and transfer to a bowl
  2. Whisk all the other ingredients (except cabbage) into the mixture. You can add any extra flavourings you like. Stir in the cabbage
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and when hot add the pancake mixture. When possible, turn it over and cook the other side.

1 You can grind flaxseeds in a spice grinder if you can't get ground flaxseed. It is very tedious to grind them without one though.
2 You can use wheat flour instead of these. Other flours such as buckwheat would probably also work.
3 Okara is the solid byproduct of making soymilk. It is bland in flavour and has a nice, crumbly-soft texture. In my country (the UK), as far as I know okara cannot be purchased anywhere. You can make your own okara from dried soybeans if you have a blender and muslin/cheesecloth/tofu-making cloth as follows:

  • Wash 1/2 cup soybeans and soak in 1 cup water for at least 8 hours (I aim for 20 hours in a cool climate)
  • Drain the soybeans and grind them very well in a blender with 2 cups water.
  • Transfer the mixture to a pan and heat until it boils, stirring constantly. Turn the heat down and cook, stirring, for 10 more minutes. Cooking improves the taste of the soymilk.
  • Strain the mixture through muslin. When cool, squeeze as much soymilk out of the cloth as possible. The solid part retained in the cloth is okara.

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