Learn how to make street food classic Hiroshima style okonomiyaki in your own kitchen with this delicious recipe! Layers of meat, egg, vegetables, noodles and thin pancake batter topped with a sweet homemade sauce and chopped spring onion, this dish is a taste adventure in every bite!
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Okonomiyaki 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, there are two main ways to make it. "Osaka style" and "Hiroshima style".
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 people.
The differences between Osaka and Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki
However, it is interesting to point out the differences between Hiroshima style and Osaka style. Here are the main differences:
|Batter||Thin and crepe-like||Thick|
|Cabbage||Finely sliced||Roughly cut|
|Ingredients||Layers||Mixed in the batter|
|Toppings||Sweet sauce, spring onions, egg yolk||Savory/fruity sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes, aonori|
Osaka style okonomiyaki contains less water and more flour so the batter is relatively 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. 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 (almost shredded) cabbage is 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.
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 basically a "layered" okonomiyaki.
On the other hand, people in Hiroshima tend to opt for sweet sauce and sprinkle the okonomiyaki with chopped spring onion (scallions) and sometimes even a raw egg yolk.
Ingredient layers in Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki
As I mentioned earlier, Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is layered. The structure of standard okonomiyaki from top to bottom goes:
- Spring onion
- Crepe-like batter
The crepe-like batter is poured out into a thin circular shape on a pan and fried. You can then start adding layers of the ingredients and steam cook them.
Making Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki in a Frying Pan
Regardless of which okonomiyaki you make, it's usually made on iron plate (teppan) if it's in restaurants or an electric hot plate if it's 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.
But don't you think it's easier and more convenient if you can make it in a normal frying pan? That way, we don't have to buy extra kitchenware just for this.
This recipe is fully optimised for making Hiroshima style okonomiyaki in a frying pan!
To do that, we need to change the procedure a bit by cooking some ingredients separately and steaming others. Here is what we need to do:
- Fry yakisoba, set aside
- Make a a thin crepe-like base
- Stack up cabbage, tenkasu, beansprouts, and pork belly
- Place a lid on top and let them steam cook
- Flip over so pork fries at the bottom while the rest of the ingredients steam again
- Move to a plate and wipe out the pan
- Cook a thin layer of egg then add yakisoba on top
- Return the first part back to the pan and flip
- Apply sauce and toppings
This is just a rough blueprint for the dish, but for details, please see the full recipe below.
3 ingredients that are commonly used for Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki
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.
There might be something that blows your mind!
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.
- Layer 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.
- Layer to add: Below yakisoba
- Amount: A handful
- 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.
- Layer to add: Under pork belly
- Amount: 3-4 leaves
- Recommended: Someone who likes complex flavour
7 Tips and tricks to make Hiroshima style okonomiyaki at home
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, I list tips and tricks that everyone can use to make the perfect Hiroshima style okonomiyaki at home!
Check if the cabbage is moist
In this dish, cabbage is cooked by steaming so it's important to check if the cabbage is moist enough beforehand.
If it feels too dry when you touch it, sprinkle it with a tiny bit of water!
Thinly slice the cabbage
In Osaka style okonomiyaki, they prefer to cut the cabbage into small rough pieces. It makes sense because the cabbage will be in mixed into the batter there.
On the other hand, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is made in layers, so if the cabbage is too small, it will spill out between the layers of dough and become messy and difficult to eat.
To make it easier to cook and eat, it is best to cut the cabbage into long, thin shreds.
Cook yakisoba until crispy
The beauty of layered okonomiyaki is the fact that you can enjoy all the different textures at once. Being able to appreciate each particular texture really makes the dish.
For the yakisoba layer, I prefer when the noodles are crispy!
Yakisoba is not the focus of this dish, but it's one of the best parts about Hiroshima style okonomiyaki in my opinion. I recommend making it crispier than usual to make it perfect!
Make a thin crepe
Pour the batter into a heated pan and spread it out quickly with back of a ladle to an area of just over 20 cm.
At this point, the heat shouldn't be too high otherwise the crepe can easily be burnt.
The ideal temperature at this point is 160°C to 170°C.
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 (いか天). People in Hiroshima actually prefer to use the snack!
It not only gives the okonomiyaki a deeper flavour, but also provides great crunchy texture too.
If you wanna try more authentic Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, you should give it a try!
Save batter for binding
Unlike Osaka style okonomiyaki, Hiroshima style has multiple layers. Because of this, it's a lot easier for the whole thing to collapse and end up becoming a mess of ingredients.
To avoid this disaster, we leave tiny bit of batter (just a tsp or so) and drizzle it over after you add the pork belly.
That way, the batter acts as a binder and it makes slightly easier to flip.
The perfect flip isn't essential
Flipping over Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is far from easy, the ingredients are not bound together and they might come out when you flip it.
But that's okay, don't worry! The beauty of Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is that you can easily fix the small mishaps. Just tuck the escaped ingredients back into the dome and it's all fine, no-one will be the wiser!
It's actually important not to be a perfectionist on this, but be bold.Print