What Is Okonomiyaki Sauce and Easiest Recipe

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style pancake made from shredded cabbage, egg, flour, water and various type of toppings (meat, seafoods, cod roe, cheese, rice cake, etc).

One of the most important item for making the best okonomiyaki is the sauce. Here, I would like to focus on this seriously delicious brown sauce, Okonomiyaki sauce!

What Is Okonomiyaki Sauce Called?

The brown thick sauce that is exclusively for okonomiyaki is generally called “okonomi sauce”.

What Does Okonomi Mean?

Okonomi is Japanese term for “preference”.

The ingredients of okonomiyaki can be anything, and you can make original one to suit your taste. That is why this Japanese-style pancake is called Okonomiyaki. Okonomi means “preference”, and yaki means “grilled” or “baked”.

Interested in learning more about Japanese Pancakes?
The Mystery of Japanese “Pancake”

What is Okonomiyaki Sauce Made of?

Although there are so many kinds of okonomi sauce in Japan, the sauce brand otafuku has been extremely popular and widely used all over Japan.
Here, I would like to introduce the ingredient lists of this otafuku okonomi sauce:

tomatoes, dates, onions, other vegetables and fruits, sugar, vinegar, amino acid, salt, sake spirit, soy sauce, spices, oyster extract, meat extract, kombu (kelp), yeast extract, shiitake mushrooms, and caramel color.

What Does Okonomiyaki Sauce Taste Like?

You will taste sweetness, saltiness, and a little sourness from okonomi sauce. The great sweetness comes from the paste of many of vegetables and fruits. Unlike other type of Japanese brown color sauce, okonomi sauce contains several kinds of stock (oyster, kombu, meat, and shiitake mushrooms), so it has complex and deep delicious taste.

How Do You Make Okonomiyaki and Its Sauce from Scratch?

Recipe for Okonomiyaki:
Best Fluffy Okonomiyaki Recipe

Recipe for Okonomiyaki Sauce:
The Easiest 1 Minute Okonomiyaki Sauce (Recipe)

What’s A Good Substitute for Okonomiyaki Sauce?

7 Best Okonomiyaki Sauce Substitutes

Is Tonkatsu Sauce the Same as Okonomiyaki Sauce?

Those are not the same, but both of them are categorized into “thick Worcestershire sauce” in Japan.
The thickness and very sweet taste are two main characteristics of both tonkatsu and okonomi sauce.

However, the big difference is that okonomi sauce often contains several kinds of stock (oyster, meat, kombu, and shiitake mushrooms), while tonkatsu sauce doesn’t contain those. Those ingredients can produce amazing umami component that matches so well with okonomiyaki.

Although some ingredients are not contained in tonkatsu sauce, it can be good substitute for okonomi sauce.

Is Takoyaki Sauce the Same as Okonomiyaki Sauce?

They are different, but really similar sauce. According to the lists of ingredients of otafuku takoyaki sauce, it contains almost the same ingredients as otafuku okonomi sauce.
But I found some difference between them as followings.

・Ingredients that are only contained in takoyaki sauce: extract of fish and scallops, Worcestershire sauce
・Ingredients that are only contained in okonomi sauce: shiitake mushrooms

As you can see, there is no big difference between them.
Obviously you can substitute takoyaki sauce for okonomi sauce since takoyaki and okonomiyaki are very similar foods.

Interested in learning more about Japanese “Sauce”?
[Ultimate Guide] Different Types of Japanese Sauce (Worcestershire, Chuno, Tonkatsu, and Okonomi Sauce)

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