Sunday Dinner Week #17: Okonomiyaki

In 1976, my mother took a teacher exchange position in Wakayama, and we headed off to Japan for a year. What I learned from living in Japan was that the Japanese culture in Hawaii is very Americanized and the "Japanese" food that we enjoy is not always authentic. Sometimes, I feel nostalgic (hisashiburi) for the kinds of food that I remember eating in Japan, so this Sunday, we made okonomiyaki, a regional food that's sometimes referred to as "Japanese pizza."

Okonomiyaki is made in Osaka and Wakayama with cabbage, pork, eggs, green onions and okonomiyaki flour that has the consistency of pancake batter. It's put on the grill then topped with mayo, furikake, okonomiyaki sauce (similar to tonkatsu sauce, just a little sweeter), and bonito flakes on top.

Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is served with yakisoba noodles. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to make this from scratch, so either get the okonomiyaki mix and add cabbage, egg, protein and green onions, or use the okonomiyaki flour.

We learned that if the protein is not cut thin enough (in this case, we used belly pork sliced by the butcher), then the meat has to be cooked on the side and added later. I like it without the pork. For me, the key is the bonito, mayo, sauce and furikake. Another thing, when frying the okonomiyaki, let it get crispy for a nice texture in your mouth. :-)


  1. One of my fond Japan memories is for Cathy and I to stop off at the neighborhood restaurant to eat Okonomiyaki after school. The restaurant was warm and cozy, the owners were friendly and kind. With our opu full, we happily walked to catch the train or bus to go back to our shataku (housing) in the middle of a rice field.
    We also enjoyed eating oden...truly a winter snack which has various components simmering in a light shoyu broth. Boiled egg, sausage, potato, fishcake, slices of beef...with some hot mustard or miso sauce...very delicious.
    Now our mochi forays? That story is for another day.


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