Hiroshima Pizza? I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the captain of the Japanese boat told us that’s what he would be making for the potluck with the American boat I was crewing on. When I tried the actual dish I immediately fell in love with the delicious dish.
A year later I was crewing on the same Japanese boat making okonomiyaki myself.
The captain, Sato San’s “Hiroshima Pizza,” is actually called okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a popular Japanese food, often described as “Japanese pizza.” He called it Hiroshima pizza because he hails from Hiroshima and makes Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is really more of a crepe than a pizza. To be totally fair it’s a unique dish. The crepe steams a mountain of vegetables and the other side is sealed with egg, seafood, and bacon. Well, really whatever you want. Okonomiyaki, means whatever you like baked or grilled a combination of the Japanese words okanomi, however you like and yaki, baked or grilled. Versions vary widely, I learned Hiroshima style, but I never use bacon or sliced pork for mine. Traditionally squid is used, but around the world we have substituted squid, conch, and on one special occasion lobster.
When writing this recipe I realized how complicated it seemed. It’s a lot of preparation but making okonomiyaki really isn’t difficult. You just have to follow the steps.
This is a video Globe Hackers made of an Okonomiyaki Party we had in Cuba
Makes 6 okonomiyaki
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- ½ head cabbage very thinly sliced
- ¾ cup spring onions, in 5 mm slices
- 1 cup squid
- 2 Tablespoons sake (optional)
- 4 packs ramen noodles
- 4 slices Bacon (or thin sliced pork if available)
- 4 slices cheese (I use individually wrapped Mozzarella or Swiss cheese slices)
- 12 eggs
- Squid chips (or crunchy tempura bits)
- Fish powder
- Aonori (ground seaweed)
- Kewpie mayonnaise
- 3 c flour
- 3 c water
- 1 large, flat griddle. This is integral for making okonomiyaki. A pancake griddle can be used
- 2 spatulas
- 1 soup ladle
- Whisk flour and water together into a thin crepe-like batter and set aside
- Cut the cabbage into quarters. Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible. Place in large bowl, set aside
- Chop spring onions into 5 mm sections. Place in bowl , set aside
- Cut squid or seafood into ⅛ strips, pour sake over to kill the smell, set aside
- Cut bacon slices into thirds, arrange on plate, set aside
- Boil ramen noodles in water with 1 T oil (to prevent sticking) for 2 minutes (slightly al dente) pour into colander and run cold water over to prevent cooking too long, and set aside
- Heat griddle over medium heat and oil
- Put ½ pack of ramen noodles on griddle. Let cook 30 seconds to release moisture
- Season with black pepper and okonomi sauce and mix together and move to side of griddle
- Oil griddle and pour 1 ladle-full of batter smoothing it into thin circle
- When edges of crepe start to lift, sprinkle with fish powder
- Using spatulas lift noodles onto top of crepe
- Place one slice of cheese over noodles
- Arrange large handful of cabbage over cheese
- Layer bean sprouts, spring onions, and squid (or tempura)chips on top
- Lay bacon on top of heap
- Drizzle ½ ladle full of batter over top
- Allow to cook about 2 minutes or until the bottom browns slightly
- Slide spatulas under either side of the crepe bottom and flip okonomiyaki quickly. Be sure to flip towards you.
- Cook for about 5 minutes allowing the inside to steam and until the bacon to cook to a golden brown. Slide okonomiyaki to one side of the griddle
- Oil center of griddle and place about ⅙ of squid in middle cooking for about 30 seconds
- Arrange squid into a barrier ring and crack 2 eggs inside.
- Mix eggs together and lift okonomiyaki on top
- Cook another 2 minutes, until eggs are golden brown
- Flip onto plate and squirt okonomiyaki sauce and kewpie mayonnaise on top in whatever pretty pattern you like
- Finally sprinkle aonori on top. Serve and enjoy!
Don’t be too upset of you can’t finish your okonomiyaki dinner. I love fresh okonomiyaki, but leftovers are almost as good. Better, some would say.