Anyone who’s ever been to Osaka, Japan, knows and loves okonomiyaki.
No trip to the Land of the Rising Sun is complete without a bite of this street food favorite; a savory pancake of sorts made from cabbage, bean sprouts and onions that’s covered in an okonomi sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise, then topped with signature bonito flakes that seem to “dance” in the steam.
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New Yorkers who dine at Shalom Japan know this treat well. The Williamsburg eatery fuses the Jewish and Japanese culinary styles of its husband and wife owners, respectively, and the Kansai Style Okonomiyaki is a real crowd pleaser.
“Though I consider my hometown of Hiroshima to be the okonomiyaki capital of Japan (others say that it’s Osaka), at home, we like to make the Kansai-style okonomiyaki from the region that encompasses Osaka,” says Shalom Japan’s co-owner Sawako Okochi, alongside her husband, Aaron Israel. “The Kansai style is simpler; the ingredients are mixed together in a single batter, whereas Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki calls for more elaborate layering. Okonomi translates to ‘how you like it.’ Consider this recipe the most basic version.”
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Okochi says that “how you like it” bit translates to the toppings. Her family enjoys their okonomiyaki with bacon, egg and cheese toppings for a hearty breakfast vibe—they’re “riff on the classic New York bodega sandwich.”
“We lay a strip of raw bacon on top when we first put the batter in the pan,” she says. “When we flip it, the bacon renders and cooks into the top side of the pancake. Once the okonomiyaki is done cooking, we melt a slice of mild cheddar on top before adding the okonomi sauce and Kewpie mayo. Top with a sunny side up egg and sprinkle the remaining toppings to finish.”
However you like your okonomiyaki is up to you, but Sawako has lovingly shared her base recipe with us below, including the recipe for home-made okonomi sauce.
The sauce directions yield one cup, and the pancakes are set to serve four to six. It takes about five minutes to make the sauce and one hour to make the pancakes.
Enjoy, and itadakimasu!
Note: The dashi or water must be chilled. Otherwise, the liquid will cook the gluten and make the batter gummy.
Visit Shalom Japan in Brooklyn and online for more delicious dishes and inspiration.
Photography by: John Keon