Okonomiyaki sauce is the sauce used on Okonomiyaki, which are like Japanese pancakes or frittatas made from eggs, flour, cabbage, slices of pork belly and scallions.
However, it’s the sauce that brings it all together, a condiment that is typically brought in a bottle and added to the pancakes to give it a sweet, tangy, umami flavor.
Typically Okonomiyaki sauce is available at most Asian supermarkets. Hiroshima-based brand Otafuku produce the most popular Okonomiyaki Sauce. But if your local one doesn’t stock it or you don’t have an Asian supermarket nearby, your Okonomiyaki could taste a little bland.
But fear not, this Okonomiyaki sauce recipe is for those who are missing that crucial sauce ingredient and need to make it from scratch.
History & Cultural Significance
The name Okonomiyaki is originally derived from two separate words; okonomi (meaning “how you like” or “what you like”) and yaki (meaning “cooked”). The name indicates that the dish can be customised with a wide variety of toppings or variations depending on preference.
Common toppings for Okonomiyaki include katsuobushi (bonito flakes), mayonnaise, aonori (dried seaweed flakes) and, of course, Okonomiyaki Sauce.
Ancient forms of this dish were available as early as 16th century whereas the modern form of okonomiyaki with chopped scallions originated in Kyoto during Taishō period (1912-1926).
It is cooked on a flat griddle known as teppan.
Japanese Okonomiyaki Sauce Recipe
- Worcestershire sauce - 3 1/2 tbsp
- Tomato ketchup - 4 tbsp
- Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
- Sugar - 1 1/2 tbsp
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together, mix well to obtain an even mixture.
- If the sugar is not completely dissolved, heat on the stove or in microwave oven for 30 seconds or 1 minute.
- Add straight away on the Okonomiyaki in a zigzag manner, you can also apply with a brush.
Soy and Worcestershire sauce are usually tangy and spicy in flavor so sugar is used to adjust the taste. Both brown and white sugar types can be added, in some cases sugar is replaced by golden syrup or honey. It depends on the choice.
Sauce can be added directly over different food items or can be stored in a jar or squeezed bottle for later use. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.