Okonomiyaki and tonkatsu sauces are among the most popular Japanese sauces alongside Worcestershire sauce and chuno sauce.
Tonkatsu’s taste is very similar to Worcestershire sauce and chuno sauce and they sometimes can be used interchangeably.
Okonomiyaki sauce, on the other hand, tastes very different.
At First Glance – Okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce may look alike and may even have a similar taste. However, the two are very different.
For one, okonomiyaki sauce is watery and comparatively sweeter, while tonkatsu sauce is thicker and richer.
Table of Contents
What Is Okonomiyaki Sauce?
Okonomiyaki sauce, also known as okonomi sauce, is a sweet, umami-tasting sauce that is typically served with okonomiyaki pancakes. The sauce is made with fruits, vegetables, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce.
At times, kelp and shiitake mushrooms are added to the list of ingredients.
The ingredients give the sauce a mixture of a sour and a sweet taste.
While okonomiyaki sauce is thick with a dense viscosity, it is more watery compared to tonkatsu sauce.
The addition of various stocks in the puree makes the sauce unique.
Bottled okonomiyaki is readily available in stores around Japan. You can also opt for homemade okonomiyaki sauce, which is also quite easy to make.
How To Make Okonomiyaki Sauce
Making okonomiyaki sauce to use with your okonomiyaki pancakes or noodles is a process that should only take about 5 minutes.
- 2 portions of Japanese Worcestershire sauce
- 2 portions of ketchup
- 1 portion of soy sauce
- 1 portion of oyster sauce
- 1 portion of sugar
- Mix the ingredients in a bowl.
- Taste to see if it is satisfactory, or if some seasoning is required.
- You can use it immediately or store it in the refrigerator for later use.
What Is Tonkatsu Sauce?
Tonkatsu sauce is a Japanese sauce that is based on Worcestershire sauce. It is most suitable for deep-fried dishes such as fried pork that is coated in breadcrumbs.
This sauce has a salty flavor that comes after an initial tang of sweetness.
The flavor makes tonkatsu sauce perfect for meat dishes, especially when used alongside tomato sauce.
Its thickness also ensures it does not interfere with the crispiness of fried pork.
How To Make Tonkatsu Sauce
Not only is tonkatsu sauce easy to make, but its ingredients are also staples at home.
In many cases, you will not even have to go to the store to get them.
- Soy sauce
- Sesame seeds
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot mustard
- Tomato sauce
- Dry roast sesame seeds over low heat for not more than 3 minutes until they turn golden brown.
- Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle or suribachi, and grind until they are fine.
- Transfer the ground sesame seeds into a small bowl and add soy sauce, tomato sauce, sugar, hot mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Mix until it forms a paste.
- You can use it immediately or keep it in the fridge for later use.
Differences Between Okonomiyaki Sauce and Tonkatsu Sauce
Okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce can be confusing for a rookie.
They have several similar characteristics such as their appearance. The tastes of the two sauces may also seem identical to someone with an inexperienced tongue.
However, the sauces can’t be more different from each other. The following are the main differences between the two.
Use of the Sauces
Tonkatsu sauce is best for deep-fried dishes such as Japanese-style pork cutlets.
You can also put it in shredded cabbage, or use it as seasoning for noodle dishes.
The sauce also does well as a dipping sauce for delicacies like tsukune meatballs, air fryer popcorn chicken, chicken nanban, and Japanese hamburgers.
On the other hand, okonomiyaki sauce is specifically made for okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake.
The pancake’s dough is mixed with things like vegetables, seafood, and slices of pork belly. Besides okonomiyaki pancakes, the sauce is also good as a seasoning for noodle dishes and curry.
The two sauces are produced by different brands.
Okonomiyaki sauce is popularly produced by the Otafuku brand, while Bull-Dog is the most popular brand that produces tonkatsu sauce.
Home-made tonkatsu sauce, as discussed above, is made with:
- soy sauce
- sesame seeds
- Worcestershire sauce
- hot mustard
- tomato sauce
Other ingredients commonly used include lemon, syrup, yeast extract, apples, sugar, and salt.
Home-made okonomiyaki sauce is made with:
- soy sauce
- Japanese Worcestershire sauce
- oyster sauce
Extra ingredients that you can use to improve the flavor of the sauce include dates, alcohol, syrup, mushroom, yeast extract, and caramel pigment.
Tonkatsu sauce tastes a lot like Worcestershire sauce, although it is comparatively thicker with a taste of umami.
Generally, it is a little sweet with a degree of spiciness. Okonomiyaki sauce is sweeter and hardly spicy.
Can You Substitute Okonomiyaki Sauce and Tonkatsu Sauce For Each Other?
It is best to match a dish with its proper sauce.
For instance, okonomiyaki tastes so much better with okonomiyaki sauce. Similarly, tonkatsu sauce does a much better job with deep-fried foods such as pork cutlets.
That Said – There is nothing wrong with substituting one sauce for another. Both okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce are easily available in Japan.
If you feel like experimenting with the sauces and substituting them, it is perfectly fine.
Besides, they are both condiments of Worcestershire sauce, and as we mentioned earlier in the article, their tastes can be identical.
Furthermore, there are foods that are compatible with both sauces.
An example is yakisoba noodles. You can use both okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce with these noodles.
Sauces complement foods and enhance the overall flavor.
Okonomiyaki and tonkatsu sauces are among the popular sauces used in Japanese cuisines.
The former is mostly used with the okonomiyaki pancakes, while the latter is used mainly for deep-fried foods such as pork cutlets.
That is the main difference between the two sauces. Other differences between okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce are their tastes, ingredients, and brands.
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