*Some actual cooking required

Okonomiyaki, a blend of cabbage, meat, and other stuff suspended in a pancake-like matrix, is one of the highlights of Japanese cuisine. However, it’s best enjoyed at the hands of a seasoned professional. Ingredient-wise it’s not terribly difficult to prepare, but the grilling requires keen cooking senses to not end up with either a gooey mess or brick of charcoal.

So it was with great surprise that our writer Takashi Harada stumbled upon the Cup-Made Okonomiyaki Set by Nisshin Flour Milling. This should not be confused with the separate company Nissin Food Products, the company that makes Cup Noodle, but it appeared to use their same one-cup preparation style (though both companies are written with the same kanji characters, 日清, and pronounced the same way in Japanese, Nisshin Flour Milling is actually the older company, having ben founded in 1907, while Nissin Food Products didn’t come into being until 1948).

If this were the case, than even a cereal-burning schlub like Takashi can create a fluffy, savory masterpiece. So, he took the 278-yen (US$2.66) plunge and picked up a pack, unbeknownst to him that he had just signed up to do something he had never intended to do…


After popping open the lid, Takashi found a bag of special okonomiyaki flour mix, little balls of deep-fried tempura batter sprinkled with shrimp powder, flakes of dried bonito, and grated sea lettuce.

These are all important parts of okonomiyaki, but our reporter noticed some crucial things missing – namely egg, cabbage, and meat. Those are, like, actual foods produced by nature and not something Takashi was ready to deal with.

After a quick trip to the store, he came back with the needed supplies. However, standing there with a knife in one hand and head of cabbage in the other, he realized he wasn’t totally sure how to go about cutting it.

He checked YouTube for some instructional videos but they were all showing expert techniques rather than how a normal person might cut up cabbage. So, he just improvised and started hacking away at it.

It turned out surprisingly well, although it’s pretty hard to screw up basic cutting as long as you don’t cut yourself. Next, he mixed the flour and water in the provided cup to make a batter, and then added the egg, flour balls, and cabbage.

Finally he mixed it all together. He was surprised at how much it looked like actual okonomiyaki mix that you might see in a restaurant, and not like a big bowl of failure.

However, next his biggest challenge awaited. He would have to fry this mixture into a somewhat solid disk of deliciousness.

First, he coated his pan with salad oil. Not knowing how much oil to use he just kind of winged it and put in an amount that felt right. Then he nervously introduced his mix to the heat.

After a few minutes…

It was a success!!!

Okay, it was a little black on top, but that was just singing caused by the oil. It actually wasn’t burnt too deeply overall and had a good level of cohesiveness. For a guy who would normally shy away from making toast, this was a phenomenal achievement.

He victoriously put all his toppings on which hid the charring and made it look like an okonomiyaki that could rival any you might find in a prison cafeteria. He was a little surprised that the cup didn’t contain mayo and sauce, but luckily condiments were the one thing his fridge had plenty of.

With the amount of supplies given, Takashi could make two okonoiyaki, but the best part was having very few dishes to wash afterward. As for the taste, he said it was fine, but he might also be partly tasting the self-satisfaction of having made it himself.

Considering his regular diet of pre-cooked food, Takashi probably never would have bought the Cup-Made Okonomiyaki Set had he known that amount of actual food preparation he’d have to do. However, he was glad that he did it and now feels like he might try to do some more dabbling in the culinary arts from here on out.

Maybe that was Nisshin Seifun’s plan all along…

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]