Okonomiyaki Nachos

published Feb 8, 2022
Okonomiyaki Nachos Recipe

This snack-based take on the Japanese pancake dish layers tortilla chips, cheese, and classic okonomiyaki ingredients like cabbage, shrimp, and a zigzag of Bulldog sauce and Kewpie mayo.

Serves6 to 8

Prep15 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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sheetpan of nachos at table
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

At first glance, it might not seem like nachos and okonomiyaki, the savory grilled Japanese pancake, have much in common. But once you know that okonomiyaki translates to “as you like it,” the connection gets a little bit clearer. Both dishes encourage creativity and customization by the cook, giving you a framework but inviting you to make the recipe your own.

Normally, the customizable aspects of okonomiyaki come via the mishmash of fillings (different meats, veggies, noodles) and toppings that are added to the pancake. But what if we flipped the playbook and used a bed of tortilla chips as a base instead of pancake batter? Enter: Okonomiyaki nachos, a crunchy, cheesy, game-day recipe that’s layered with umami. 

Making Okonomiyaki Nachos

Having a Korean mom who spent part of her childhood in Japan always puts me at an advantage when it comes to making at-home okonomiyaki, but this riff on the dish is easy enough for anyone to pull off. You start by sautéing cabbage and shrimp, a classic okonomiyaki combination. Set the shrimp and cabbage aside and then start building your nachos.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Start with a bed of chips, then add some Monterey Jack and cheddar. Half of the shrimp and cabbage mixture comes next, followed by a sprinkling of shichimi togarashi. Repeat that process, then bake until the melty cheeses mingle with the warm cabbage and shrimp. When the nachos are hot from the oven, it’s time to add the toppings. In classic okonomiyaki fashion, do a diagonal drizzle of tonkatsu sauce (you could sub in okonomiyaki sauce) all over the chips, followed by zigzags of Kewpie mayo. Add another sprinkling of shichimi togarashi, then some bonito flakes for a punch of smoky, briny flavor — and drama. When you add the paper-thin fish flakes to the warm pan of chips, they’ll dance and sway, which is a sign of a nice hot platter of okonomiyaki — or, in this case, nachos!

Okonomiyaki Nachos Recipe

This snack-based take on the Japanese pancake dish layers tortilla chips, cheese, and classic okonomiyaki ingredients like cabbage, shrimp, and a zigzag of Bulldog sauce and Kewpie mayo.

Prep time 15 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Olive oil or cooking spray

  • 2

    medium scallions

  • 5 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese

  • 4 ounces

    Monterey Jack cheese

  • 1/2 head

    medium green cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)

  • 6 ounces

    raw peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed if frozen

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1 (14-ounce) bag

    restaurant-style tortilla chips, preferably unsalted corn

  • 3 teaspoons

    shichimi togarashi, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    tonkatsu sauce, such as Bull Dog

  • Kewpie mayonnaise, for drizzling

  • 2 (.176-ounce) packets

    bonito fish flakes (about 2/3 cup)

  • Sliced pickled jalapeños, for serving

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Brush the foil with olive oil or coat with cooking spray.

  2. Thinly slice 2 medium scallions and set aside for garnish. Grate 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 1/2 cups). Grate 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese on the large holes of the grater (about 1 cup). Cut the core from 1/2 medium head green cabbage, then cut into thin shreds. Cut 6 ounces raw peeled and deveined shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

  4. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and return it to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and cabbage to the pan. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is wilted and lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

  5. Add the shrimp and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and stir until combined. Remove the pan from the heat.

  6. Assemble the nachos: Arrange half of a 14-ounce bag of tortilla chips on the baking sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with half the Monterey Jack cheese, half the cheddar cheese, and half of the shrimp and cabbage mixture. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the shichimi togarashi. Repeat layering the remaining chips, cheeses, and shrimp and cabbage mixture.

  7. Bake until the cheeses are completely melted and the edges of the tortilla chips start to blister, 5 to 6 minutes.

  8. Drizzle about 1/4 cup tonkatsu sauce over the nachos. Squeeze Kewpie mayonnaise over the nachos on a slight diagonal in zigzagging lines. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons shichimi togarashi and 2 (.176-ounce) packets bonito flakes. (Don’t be alarmed when they start to move around! That’s the sign of a nice hot platter of okonomiyaki or, in this case, nachos!.) Garnish with the scallions and a light scattering of sliced pickled jalapeños if using.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions

  • Tonkatsu sauce: Use okonomiyaki sauce instead of tonkatsu sauce.
  • Kewpie mayonnaise: Use regular mayonnaise or for the full flavor effect of Kewpie, mix regular mayo, rice vinegar, and granulated sugar together to taste.
  • Scallions: Finely chopped fresh cilantro can be used in place of the scallions.
  • Pickled jalapeño slices: Use quick pickled onions in place of the pickled jalapeño slices.

Make ahead: The cabbage and shrimp can be cooked up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warm before assembling the nachos.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 350ºF oven or toaster oven until warmed through, about 5 minutes.