Donbei isn’t just instant udon, it’s an okonomiyaki building block.

Noodle maker Nissin is most famous for their Cup Noodle instant ramen, but the company also produces Donbei, one of Japan’s favorite brands of instant udon noodles.

Except recently Donbei has become popular not just among people wanting instant noodes, but also among people wanting a quick, easy way to make okonomiyaki.

Sometimes called “Japanese pizza” or “Japanese savory pancakes,” okonomiyaki is a flat-grilled mixture of flour, cabbage, and whatever else you want to put in it (okonomiyaki translates literally to “grilled things you like”). Since noodles are one of the most popular additions to okonomiyaki, Nissin itself figured out you could use a pack of Donbei instant udon as a starting point from which to cook okonomiyaki, and even put up a recipe for doing so on its official website.

Intrigued, and hungry, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma decided to try it out, and gathered the necessary ingredients.

● Ingredients
Donbei Kitsune Udon (one pack)
Egg (1)
Cabbage (80 grams [2.8 ounces])
Flour (3 tablespoons)
Water (100 milliliters/3.4 ounces)
Cooking oil

Step 1: Open the Donbei cup and transfer everything (the noodles, tofu, and other toppings) into a plastic bag. Also open up the broth base packet and pout it in.

Step 2: Close up the bag and crush the contents. You can use a rolling pin if you’re feeling fancy or you can do what Masanuki did and just use your fists.

Step 3: Open up the bag and transfer the crushed contents to a bowl. Add the egg, cabbage, flour, and water, then mix well.

Step 4: Put a small amount of cooking oil in a frying pan, then pour in the contents of the bowl and cook until the bottom of the mixture starts to get just a little crisp.

Step 5: After the bottom becomes crisp, turn the mixture over and cook the other side. Once both sides are lightly crisp, place a cover over the frying pan and cook on low heat for five more minutes to ensure a fluffy center.

And with that, you’re ready to eat!

The recipe’s quantities cook up a surpassingly big okonomiyaki, and you might even have enough to share with someone if neither or you is a particularly big eater.

For a few finishing touches, Masanuki gave his Donbei okonomiyaki a few squeezes of mayonnaise (a common okonomiyaki condiment) and a sprinkling of bonito flakes, but these are both optional extras.

Taking his first bite, Masanuki was instantly impressed with how tasty it was, and also by the excellent texture. After just a quick bit of crispiness, it quickly gives way to a soft and fluffy mouthfeel, with the chewy noodles adding yet another interesting element. Flavor-wise, you’ve got the familiar comfort-food taste of udon broth, a salty soy base with bonito stock accents.

And again, since pretty much any topping is permissible for okonomiyaki, you can spruce this recipe up with whatever else you happen to have on hand (strips of pork, shrimp, cheese, etc.). Just remember, though, that covering the frying pan with a lid for the final part of the cooking phase is a must, in order to get the texture right.

So thanks for the recipe, Nissin, and we’ll be sure to cook up another the next time we’re craving okonomiyaki or just don’t want Final Fantasy’s Sephiroth to be angry with us.

Reference: Nissin
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