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Okonomiyaki and takoyaki are Japanese foods that are well known all over the world.
The green powder placed on top of those foods is called aonori flakes.
This flakes are made by drying and powdering aonori (or aosa) that is a type of seaweed in Japan.
Compared to nori (laver) which is black in color, aonori (aosa) is green in color, and has stronger savory smell that makes you hungry.
Interested in learning more about Aonori Flakes?
What Is Aonori Flakes and How Is It Used?
Since aonori flakes are used as topping for dishes such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki, ultimately you can still enjoy the taste of foods without aonori.
However, sprinkling aonori flakes on top of those foods makes them even more delicious and you can feel authentic Japanese culture from it.
Also, appearance of the foods topped with aonori flakes will be more beautiful and pleasant to the eye.
You can probably get aonori flakes at Japanese (or Asian) grocery stores or online.
However, what if you can’t find any of it?
Here, I would like to introduce 7 best substitutes for aonori flakes that you can use so easy at home.
Nori is also a type of seaweed, and can be good substitute for aonori flakes.
It’s essential material when making sushi rolls or rice balls, so you can probably find it at Asian grocery stores easy.
The flavor of nori is a little weaker than aonori, but the appearance of the dish will be similar to aonori flakes if you use the shredded nori.
Unlike aonori flakes, the shape of nori on the market is normally square. But if you can find the shredded nori at stores, please pick the one for topping. If you get the one with square shape, just tear it by your hands or shred it with scissors.
▲Yakisoba Topped with Shredded Nori
As you know, minced green onions are widely used as topping for all kinds of dishes. This is also perfect match with dishes that require aonori flakes: okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and yakisoba.
Although the flavor of green onion is totally different from aonori flakes, it matches so well with salty-sweet taste of Japanese Worcestershire sauce.
▲Okonomiyaki Topped with Minced Green Onion
Basil is probably essential material for making Italian foods. But it can be good substitute for aonori flakes as well.
If you substitute basil for aonori flakes, the dried basil powder is better to use. The green color and the shape of dried basil are similar to aonori flakes.
Although the basil has very unique scent, just a little bit of dried basil won’t ruin the Japanese dishes such as okonomiyaki.
Perhaps some of you always have dried parsley in your kitchen to use for pasta or pizza.
Dried parsley powder also looks like aonori flakes just like the dried basil. If you have the fresh parsley, just mince it with a knife, then use it as topping.
▲Takoyaki Topped with Dried Parsley
Shiso is called Japanese basil in English, and has very unique, amazing flavor which is totally different from normal basil. Since it has very refreshing aroma, it’s sometimes eaten with sashimi (sliced raw fish).
Japanese Worcestershire sauce has strong, thick taste, so this refreshing smell of shiso matches so well with the dishes with the sauce.
I recommend to use shredded shiso when you substitute it for aonori flakes. And if you want to make dried shiso powder, it’s better to use microwave: wash shiso well, pat dry, put the paper towel on top, and microwave it. Make sure to heat both sides of shiso to make it really dried.
▲Okonomiyaki Topped with Shredded Shioso
Yukari is a kind of Japanese furikake (rice seasoning) that is made from red shiso leaves. It has a sour-salty delicious flavor and is often eaten with rice and rice balls (onigiri).
It has unique smell of red shiso, and gives an exquisite flavor to the dishes.
Please be careful not to sprinkle yukari too much on the dishes because it has a little salty taste that is totally different from aonori flakes.
Other than yukari furikake, there are numerous types of furikake (rice seasoning) in Japan, for example, dried bonito flakes, dried egg flakes, and dried cod roe flakes. Any of them can be substitute for aonori flakes.
By the way, a lot of them contains shredded nori (laver) and sesame, and they are perfect match with yakisoba (stir-fried noodles).
▲Yakisoba Topped with Furikake
How was the 7 best substitutes for aonori flakes?
I think every one of them that I mentioned above can be found at Asian (Japanese) grocery stores or even at your neighborhood stores.
I hope you enjoy the new, different kind of toppings with delicious Japanese dishes!