The basic recipe for okonomiyaki, is wheat flour, egg and cabbage.
Chefs prepare okonomiyaki on a teppan, a sort of hotplate, grilling, flipping, and cutting with their spatulas!
A Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is indulgently topped with soba or udon noodles too!
A little more liquid, monjayaki is the Tokyo version of okonomiyaki.
A cross between a pancake and pizza, cooked with numerous ingredients and drizzled with a thick, savoury sauce. Okonomiyaki is a typical treat of Osaka, Hiroshima and Tokyo.
Today the okonomiyaki is a fun and social dish, enjoyed with friends directly from the teppan (hotplate) it's cooked on, but this has not always been the case: made of inexpensive ingredients and easy to prepare, it was a dish for times of crisis, for example after the Kanto earthquake in 1923, or just after the Second World War.
Endless toppingsOkonomiyaki literally means "cooked as you like": egg, tenkasu (tempura batter scraps), mochi, spring onion, pork, dried seaweed, shrimp, cheese, squid or other seafood, anything goes when it comes to the okonomiyaki!
But any self-respecting okonomiyaki is still made up of a basic unalterable mixture: a wheat flour blend, mixed with eggs and white cabbage. This paste is then mixed with ingredients of your choice, poured onto a teppan, grilled, and then coated with a Worcestershire-like sauce (often mixed with ketchup), mayonnaise and sprinkled katsuobushi flakes (dried bonito fish).
- In the Kansai style okonomiyaki, the tororo (grated yam, which gives a very sticky dough) is added to the basic mix. Sometimes grilled soba noodles (buckwheat) or udon (wheat) are also added, to make a modanyaki.
- The Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is quite unique: the ingredients are not mixed but cooked on top of each other, layer upon layer. Noodles and eggs top it all off. The people of Hiroshima are very proud of their recipe!
- In the Kanto region, it is called monjayaki rather than okonomiyaki - a more liquid consistency of mixture is prepared and poured on the griddle. While the other okonomiyaki are eaten with chopsticks, this version is eaten using a small spatula.