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Home cooking: Okonomiyaki

Easy Japanese recipes for beginners

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a popular and affordable dish in Japan, and especially so in Osaka and Hiroshima where the two cities have their own distinct okonomiyaki styles known as Kansai-fu and Hiroshima-fu respectively. Kansai-style okonomiyaki is probably the most basic style of okonomiyaki with cabbage as its main ingredient, while the Hiroshima-style has a thin crepe layer at the bottom and includes noodles.

There are many okonomiyaki specialty restaurants in Japan, and they typically have tables equipped with an iron griddle for customers who prefer to fry their own okonomiyaki. The dish is simple enough to recreate at home, but it is more common for Japanese to go to an okonomiyaki restaurant as it is more convenient and easily accessible.

Read on to find out how to make Kansai-style okonomiyaki.

Ingredient list for okonomiyaki

(Makes 3-4 medium-sized pancakes)

For the batter

  • 100 grams of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 grams of stock powder (vegetable, fish or meat)
  • 200 milliliters of water

For the okonomiyaki

  • 200 grams or half a small head of cabbage cut into thirds and thinly sliced
  • Any kind of thinly sliced meat, seafood or vegetables
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying

Toppings for okonomiyaki

  • Okonomiyaki sauce, which can be made with equal parts Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and some sugar
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Aonori, fine seaweed
  • Katsuobushi shavings

Directions for making okonomiyaki

  1. Prepare the batter by adding stock powder to the flour, then continue with the eggs and water. Whisk everything together until the batter is smooth and runny.
  2. Add the sliced cabbage to the batter and mix to ensure that all of the cabbage is coated with some batter.
  3. Transfer about a quarter of the cabbage batter mix into a separate bowl and combine the additional okonomiyaki ingredients like meat, seafood or vegetables with it. Those who are using sliced meat can choose to layer the meat on the pan first when we reach the pan frying step.
  4. Get a medium-sized frying pan, and heat it on medium. Pour a bit of oil into the pan and use a piece of kitchen paper to spread the oil evenly.
  5. Add the mix from Step 2 in two parts. First, take about half of the mixture and arrange it so that it forms a medium-sized circle. Then, add the remaining mix on top. If you are using sliced meat, layer it on the pan first for a few minutes before adding the mix. Use a spatula to push the edges in a little to help the runny batter maintain its circular shape. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  6. It is time to flip the okonomiyaki over after the bottom develops a nice golden crust. If some stray cabbage falls out during the flipping process, simply tuck them back underneath the okonomiyaki. Continue cooking on medium heat for another 5 minutes.
  7. The okonomiyaki is cooked when the bottom gets a nice char. Remove from the pan and put on a plate. Drizzle mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce over the okonomiyaki, then sprinkle some aonori and add the katsuobushi shavings on top. Itadakimasu!
Home Delivery by japan-guide.com is a series of articles on Japanese culture, life and travel for all of us who are currently staying home to flatten the curve. Many travel plans, including our own, have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. While we aren't able to share new content from the road, we hope this collection from our travel archive helps you explore a bit of Japan from your own home.