Frequently listed in the top five foods to try in Japan and described to tourists as cabbage pancakes, okonomiyaki is one delicacy that creates competition between Hiroshima and Osaka for the title of the best.
Typically, okonomiyaki comes cooked with your choice of meat or veggies and cabbage mixed in pancake-esque batter, and topped with okonomi sauce, Japanese mayo, and green onions. Hiroshima style is cooked over soba or udon noodles. Okonomi sauce (a sweet Worcestershire type sauce) is to me what vegemite is to the Aussies. I could drink it straight from the bottle, if I were sure it wouldn’t kill me. Mayo is optional, but as you’ll see in the video below, it adds decoration to okonomiyaki before you post a picture to Instagram.
No matter the style, there isn’t any sacrifice in flavor. Most sit down places have you make your own or cook it right in front of you, Benihana style, which is an adventure in and of itself. Specialty restaurants may offer a wide variety of fixens so you can customize your own okonomiyaki. Though it’s not common, fresh okonomiyaki can be purchased at street markets, particularly in the Shinsaibashi neighborhood in Osaka. You can also find a slightly less fresh version in most convenience stores. Portions are usually too big for one person so take some friends and share!
Bare Bone Ingredients:
- 1 cup of okonomiyaki flour
- 3/4 cup of water
- Cabbage (guesstimate, the more the better)
- Green onion (add some in the mix, but mainly used for topping)
- 2 eggs
- Okonomi sauce
- Kewpie Japanese mayo
Again, you can mix and match with different meats, veggies, and noodles to your liking.
For more specific ingredients and preparation, watch the video below by JunsKitchen on Youtube. It takes less than 10 minutes to make so it’s easy to whip up for a quick dinner or snack on the go. I’ve tried making homemade okonomiyaki, but of course, it doesn’t taste nearly as delicious as it does in the restaurants in Japan. I think the secret is adding more veggies than batter and perhaps a special Japanese ingredient that I don’t possess.
If you try this recipe, share your end results with me in the comments below, and enjoy!