Okonomiyaki is one of Japan’s most popular comfort foods which literally translates into”whatever you like, grilled”. Early versions of okonomiyaki have existed hundreds of years. However, the modern version that we are familiar with today gained much popularity during WWII when there were many food shortages. Things like rice were no longer readily available. So what the Japanese have to make use of what was available, which included vegetables and wheat flour. So they developed pancake and added fillings in order to make a nutritious meal.
There are two main varieties of Okonomiyaki that are most popular. One is the Osaka style where most of the ingredients are mixed into the batter and then cooked on the griddle. A lot of people would refer to it as Japanese style cabbage pancake. The Hiroshima style is where many of the ingredients are cooked separately and then placed on top of each other in layers, including the stir-fry yakisoba noodles in the middle.
Yakisoba is yellow wheat-based noodles typically for stir-frying. You can buy the yakisoba in Asian grocery store either in the refrigerated and freezer aisle.
The Hiroshima style may seem complicated, but it’s actually very easy to make. Best of all, it’s delicious and hearty and you can add whatever ingredients you like to it. It’s a great way to get my kids to eat more vegetables 🙂
One of the key ingredients is the okonomi sauce. It’s a sweet and savory, fruit-based sauce that would be used on top of okonomiyaki, as well as to mix into yakisoba noodles. There’re many types of Okonomi sauces. Andy’s favorite brand is called OtaJoy Original sauce made by Otafuku. It’s hard to find the Original sauce for some reason, but you can buy the regular one made by the same brand online or grocery stores.
- 1/2 tsp dashi powder
- 65 g all-purpose flour (1/2 cup)
- 120 ml water or dashi
- 2 servings yakisoba
- 4 strips thinly sliced pork belly cut into about 3-inch long
- 6 shrimps optional
- 4 cups taiwanese cabbage chopped thinly
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsps tenkasu tempura flakes
Stir dashi, flour, and water until it's completely smooth. Heat your electric griddle to 450F, or two pans on the stove over medium-high heat.
Place a thin layer of oil on the pan, wipe out the excess with a paper towel. Ladle some of the batter and gently shape it into a thin crepe.
Sprinkle with some bonito powder. Take a large handle of cabbages on top of the crepe. Sprinkle on some tenkasu and add bean sprouts. Top it off with some green onions.
Carefully layer on some slices of pork belly. Spread a little bit of more batter on top to keep everything together. Allow it to cook a few minutes until the crepe is slightly brown on the bottom.
Take two spatulas to place under the crepe, and quickly flip it over. Gently press down the pancake.
As the pancake is cooking, add a little bit oil on the side of the griddle or the other pan. Toss the yakisobae on top and give it a stir.
Once the noodles become slightly crunchy, add 1 tbsp okonomi sauce on top and give it a good stir. After 2-3 minutes, shape it into a circle about the size of the crepe.
Add the shrimps or whatever ingredients you like. Once the vegetables finish cooking, take your spatulas and gently place the crepe on top of the yakisoba noodles.
Add a thin layer of the oil on the side, or the other pan, add an egg. Use your spatula to puncture the egg yolk and spread it around to get about the same size of the crepe.
Place the okonomiyaki on top of the egg and do one more flip so the egg is on top. Add a generous amount of okonomi sauce, mayonnaise, powdered seaweed and green onions. Serve immediately.