Learn how to make street food classic Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki in your own kitchen with this delicious recipe! Layers of pork, vegetables and noodles encased in a thin crepe-like batter topped with a sweet homemade sauce, chopped spring onion and egg, this dish is a taste adventure in every bite!
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What is Okonomiyaki?
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a type of Japanese savory pancake, often filled with meat or seafood, vegetables and topped with a sweet and fruity okonomiyaki sauce.
The word "okonomi" (お好み) means "as you like", which is why there are so many variations using different ingredients, it's a dish that is literally made to be customized! While you can basically add any ingredients you like, the two most famous types of okonomiyaki are "Osaka style" and "Hiroshima style".
- Authentic Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki
- A recipe dedicated to making okonomiyaki in a frying pan
- Sweeter version of Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki sauce
What is Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki?
As the name suggests, Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is a variation of an okonomiyaki from Hiroshima prefecture in Western Japan.
There are often arguments about which is the "real" okonomiyaki, Osaka style or Hiroshima style, but there's really no answer for that. If anything, you shouldn't really talk about it if you want to avoid serious arguments with proud foodies from the rivaling areas.
As a neutral point of view (as I'm not from either of these areas), I tend to think them as simply different ways to make okonomiyaki. Sometimes we call them Hiroshimayaki and Osakayaki so that word "okonomiyaki" is not used and we can avoid upsetting anyone.
The difference between Osaka and Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki
Despite the shared name, it is interesting that there are distinct differences between Hiroshima style and Osaka style. Here are the main differences between the two:
|Batter||Thin and crepe-like||Thick and filling|
|Cabbage||Finely sliced||Roughly cut|
|Ingredients||Layers||Mixed into the batter|
|Toppings||Sweet sauce, spring onions, egg yolk||Savory/fruity sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes, aonori|
Let's go over each element in more detail.
Osaka style okonomiyaki contains less water and more flour so the batter is thick. Because the ingredients are mixed in, the batter needs to have good stability to hold everything together.
On the other hand, Hiroshima style okonomiyaki contains more water and the batter is extremely thin. The ingredients are piled on top of the batter rather than mixed in. Thin crepe-like batter is one of the defining characteristics of Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.
Both kinds of okonomiyaki contain white cabbage as an ingredient, but the way cabbage is cut is different.
Osaka style goes for small, roughly cut pieces, whereas long thin strips of shredded cabbage are used for Hiroshima style.
Osaka style generally doesn't contain noodles and if you eat it in a restaurant, you would usually have to order extra noodles on the side. On the other hand, Hiroshima style pretty much always contains yakisoba style noodles and in restaurants, comes with noodles by default.
4. Ingredient arrangement
Osaka style okonomiyaki has a thicker dough and most of the ingredients are mixed in before cooking. This results in quite a uniform pancake because all of the ingredients are cooked in the batter which stops them from falling out.
On the other hand, the ingredients are not mixed into the batter for Hiroshima style. First, a thin crepe-like layer is made using the runny batter, then the other ingredients are piled on top of the crepe. Hiroshima style is essentially a "layered" okonomiyaki.
On the other hand, Hiroshima style is usually topped with a sweet sauce and sprinkled with chopped spring onion (scallions) and sometimes even a raw egg yolk.
How is Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki usually cooked?
Regardless of which type of okonomiyaki you make, they are usually made on iron plate (teppan) if it's in restaurants or food stands, and an electric hot plate if it's made at home.
With Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, using a teppan is very convenient because you have more space. You can cook the ingredients separately at the same time on a wide surface and then pile them up.
However, if you don't have a teppan or hot plate at home, do not fear as I've put this recipe together with home cooking in mind! All you will need is a large frying pan with a lid to cook the okonomiyaki and a smaller frying pan or wok to cook the noodles.
Before I explain the recipe step by step, lets look at what ingredients we will need to make Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.
Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki Ingredients
When making Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki using my recipe, it can be roughly divided into four parts. Here I will explain each element one by one so that it is easier to follow.
Living in Japan makes it easy to make yakisoba using store-bought kits or sauces, but making it from scratch is also easy. Here are the ingredients you'll need for the yakisoba:
- Oyster sauce
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Black pepper
- Sesame oil
- Vegetable oil
- Yakisoba noodles
This is essentially a simplified version of yakisoba without any additional ingredients since the meat and vegetables will make the other layers.
Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki batter is known for its crepe-like thinness. However, it's not just water and flour that create its unique flavor. Here's a list of ingredients you'll need for the batter:
- Cake flour - keeps it light and prevents gluten forming
- Dashi stock - adds umami and depth of flavour (but you can use water instead if it's more convenient)
- Sugar - for subtle sweetness
- Mirin (optional) - additional sweetness and umami
- Katsuobushi (bonito flakes) - for a more authentic Japanese flavour
Layers and order of ingredients
One of the characteristics of Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is its layers. The structure of standard okonomiyaki from bottom to top goes:
- Crepe-like batter
- Shredded cabbage
- Tenkasu or fried squid snack (ikaten)
- Thinly sliced pork
- Yakisoba noodles
- Egg crepe
- Toppings (okonomi sauce, spring onions and egg yolk)
The batter is poured out into a thin circular shape on a pan and fried. You can then start adding layers of the ingredients and place a lid over it so that the ingredients cook in the steam.
Sauce and toppings
This is the final and crucial step! While the ingredients for the sauce are more or less the same as Osaka-style, the ratios are different to create a sweeter okonomi sauce that perfectly complements Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. It also has simpler toppings than Osaka-style.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Soy sauce
- Chopped spring onion to garnish
- Egg yolk (optional)
4 common alternative ingredients
As a word okonomi (as you like) suggests, there are no strict rules for what to add or not. Being creative is the spirit of okonomiyaki.
Here I will list 3 common ingredients that you can find at restaurants for Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.
Squid flavoured tenkasu / squid snack
One popular ingredient we often use in okonomiyaki is called "tenkasu" (天かす). These are small pieces of crispy cooked tempura batter and usually, if we make tempura we will save these little bits for other dishes. In fact, they're so popular that you can buy bags of tenkasu in supermarkets!
While there's no problem of using regular tenkasu, I personally recommend squid flavoured tenkasu or even deep fried ground squid snack called "ikaten" (いか天). People in Hiroshima actually prefer to use this snack!
It not only gives the okonomiyaki a deeper flavour, but also provides great crunchy texture too.
If you want to try more authentic Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, you should give it a try!
This variation is made using minced meat instead of pork belly, also known as "Fuchuyaki" (府中焼き).
FYI, Fuchu is a city that is located within Hiroshima prefecture. So you could say it's a regional version of the dish specifically from Fuchu city.
The fat from the mince meat makes the outside crispy and the inside fluffy.
- Where to add: Pork belly layer
- Amount: Same amount as pork belly
- Recommended: Someone who wants to prefer mince meat to pork belly or someone who lives in a place where thinly sliced pork belly is not easily accessible.
Okonomiyaki and cheese are considered to be a golden combination.
You can find this combo not only in Hiroshima style but also Osaka style okonomiyaki. By adding melty cheese, you can enjoy another texture and flavour within the dish.
- Where to add: Below yakisoba noodles
- Amount: A generous sprinkle (depending on preference)
- Recommended: Someone who likes cheesy flavour/texture
Who says cheese and okonomiyaki are the number one match? Perilla leaves (known as shiso/ooba leaves in Japanese) are also a popular ingredient to use in Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.
Hiroshima style is usually a bit sweeter than Osaka style but by adding shiso leaves, they will give the dish the whole new level of complexity.
- Where to add: Under pork belly
- Amount: 3-4 leaves
- Recommended: Someone who likes complex flavour
How to make Hiroshima style okonomiyaki in a frying pan
Making Hiroshima style okonomiyaki contains a lot of steps, but they're all pretty quick and easy to do. I recommend cutting and measuring all of your ingredients in advance. Here is my step by step guide on how to make Hiroshima style okonomiyaki at home in a frying pan!
Mix the yakisoba sauce ingredients in a bowl. This is made with oyster sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, sake, sugar, black pepper and sesame oil.
Fry pre-cooked ramen noodles with a drizzle of vegetable oil until slightly crispy and then add the sauce.
Stir fry until the noodles are evenly coated, then turn off the stove and set the noodles aside for later.
Mix the cake flour, dashi stock (or water), sugar and mirin in a jug.
Heat a large frying pan on low/medium low, add a drizzle and wipe away the excess with kitchen paper. Pour ¾ of the batter into the middle of the pan and spread it out using a ladle.
For extra umami, sprinkle some bonito flakes while the batter is still wet!
Next, add the ingredients one layer at a time, starting with the shredded cabbage.
Then the squid snack (ikaten) or tenkasu.
Next add the beansprouts and drizzle the leftover batter over the top. The batter will drip down and help bind the ingredients together slightly.
Finally, lay the pork slices over the top.
Add a lid and leave to cook for 5 minutes.
Carefully flip it over, add the lid once more and continue to cook on the other side for 5 minutes.
If you're not confident in your pancake flipping skills, you can slide it onto a large plate, place the pan on top and then flip it with less risk of breaking it!
While the okonomiyaki is cooking, take a small bowl and mix Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, honey and soy sauce to make the okonomi sauce.
In another bowl, whisk the egg until the white and yolk have combined.
Once 5 minutes are up and the pork is cooked through, transfer the okonomiyaki to a plate and set it aside. Wipe the pan clean, add a drizzle of oil and spread it evenly using kitchen paper. Pour the whisked egg into the pan and swirl it around to make an thin, even layer.
Once the egg is 80% cooked, place the yakisoba noodles on top.
Next, add the other half of the okonomiyaki with the crepe side facing up.
Use a spatula to peel up the edges of the egg crepe to loosen it, then flip the whole okonomiyaki onto a serving plate. The egg crepe should be on top.
Coat the top generously with your homemade okonomi sauce.
Add toppings of your choice.
Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is typically topped with chopped spring onion and an egg yolk.
Cut into easy to pick up pieces and enjoy!
8 Tips and tricks to make the perfect Hiroshima okonomiyaki
Arguably, it's harder to make Hiroshima style than Osaka style because it has more steps and the structure is not so stable. So here is a list of tips and tricks that everyone can use to make the perfect Hiroshima style okonomiyaki at home!
- Shred the cabbage - Shredded cabbage tends to tangle together which helps keep it together as a layer in Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.
- Use fresh cabbage - If it's slightly dried out, sprinkle with a little bit of water after shredding.
- Use cooked noodles for yakisoba - If using dry noodles, boil them for a 1-2 minutes less than the time stated on the packaging and drain thoroughly before frying.
- Make crispy yakisoba - Fry the noodles more than you would usually, preferably until slightly crispy, this will help them stand out amongst the other layers.
- Use a medium low heat to make the crepe - This will prevent burning. The ideal temperature is about 160°C to 170°C.
- Add some crispy ingredients - Whether it's Japanese style tenkasu or ikaten (squid snack) or regular potato chips, adding a crispy layer is recommended for texture and extra umami!
- Save batter for binding - Since Hiroshima okonomiyaki is made up of layers, it's common to use a bit of batter and drizzle it over the last layer (I personally add it before the pork). This won't bind it completely, but will add a bit of stability for when you have to flip it.
- The perfect flip isn't essential - Don't worry if you can't flip it perfectly! The beauty of Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is that you can easily fix the small mishaps. Just tuck any escaped ingredients back in and it's all fine, no-one will be the wiser!
We love to hear from you! Let us know your favourite okonomiyaki ingredients and what you thought of the recipe in the comments below!
Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki (in a frying pan)
- ½ tbsp oyster sauce
- ½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp tomato ketchup
- ¼ tbsp sake - or white wine
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 1 pinch black pepper
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1½ tsp cooking oil - neutral flavor
- 1 portion ramen noodles - precooked and drained
- 50 g green cabbage - shredded
- 4 tbsp fried squid snack (ikaten) - or tempura bits (tenkasu)
- 50 g beansprouts
- 100 g pork belly - thinly sliced
- 1 medium egg(s)
- 1 pinch salt
- Make a simple yakisoba sauce by mixing ½ tbsp oyster sauce, ½ tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp tomato ketchup, ¼ tbsp sake, ¼ tsp sugar, 1 pinch black pepper and ½ tsp sesame oil in a small bowl.
- Heat a frying pan on medium-high and once hot, add 1½ tsp cooking oil. Fry the yakisoba noodles until slightly crispy.
- Pour the yakisoba sauce over the noodles and stir fry until they're evenly coated. Remove from the stove and set aside for later.
- Take a large frying pan and heat on medium-low. Add 1½ tsp cooking oil and wipe it around the pan with kitchen paper to remove the excess.
- While the pan is heating up, make the crepe batter by whisking the 30 g cake flour, 60 ml dashi stock, 1 pinch of sugar and 1 dash mirin in a small jug until smooth.
- Pour ¾ of the mixture into the center of the pan and spread it out using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle 1 tbsp bonito flakes over the batter while it's still wet.
- Add 50 g green cabbage, 4 tbsp fried squid snack (ikaten) and 50 g beansprouts one layer at a time, then drizzle the leftover batter over the top.
- Place the 100 g pork belly slices over the top and add a lid. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Flip it over and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes, again with the lid.
- While it's cooking, make the okonomi sauce by mixing the ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ½ tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp tomato ketchup, ½ tbsp honey and ½ tsp soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside for the end.
- Crack 1 medium egg(s) into a separate bowl with a pinch of salt and whisk until the yolk and white have combined.
- Once 5 minutes have passed and the pork is cooked through, transfer the okonomiyaki to a large plate.
- Use kitchen paper to wipe the pan clean, then add a drizzle of oil and spread it around using kitchen paper to remove the excess. Pour the whisked egg into the pan and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Once it's about 80% cooked, place the cooked yakisoba and the other half of the okonomiyaki on top so the crepe side is on top.
- Use a spatula to peel the edges of the egg and loosen it from the pan and carefully flip the whole thing onto a plate (so the egg is on top). and
- Generously coat with the homemade okonomi sauce, 1 tbsp finely chopped green onion(s) and an 1 pasteurized egg yolk (optional).