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Food Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a thick and savoury pancake with various ingredients that are cooked on a teppanyaki (flat iron skillet).
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a thick and savoury pancake with various ingredients that are cooked on a teppanyaki (flat iron skillet). It usually has cabbage, meat, and seafood in the batter or as toppings. It is also served with a special sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce, dried seaweed flakes, bonito flakes, mayonnaise, and pickled ginger.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake that can be customized with different ingredients and cooked on a flat iron grill. It has two main styles: one from Hiroshima and one from Kansai, which differ in the batter and toppings. The name comes from okonomi, which means "what you like", and yaki, which means "grilled". It belongs to the konamono, or flour-based dishes, in Japanese cuisine.

It is also known as "Okono" for short, with an O as a respectful prefix and Kono as a word for favourite. Another kind of okonomiyaki, which is more liquid and popular in Tokyo, is called monjayaki or "monja" for short.

Kansai variant

The Kansai variation is baked on both sides, flipped, and cut on the Teppan with spatulas. The pieces are decorated with nori, katsuobushi, mayonnaise or ginger. In Kyōto , darker vegetables are usually used. With noodles, it is also called modanyaki (モダン焼き).

Kansai okonomiyaki

Kansai-style okonomiyaki



Hiroshima variant

In the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (広島風お好み焼き "hiroshima-fū okonomiyaki "), also called Hiroshima-yaki (広島焼き), a kind of crêpe is first prepared on the Teppan. The cabbage is cut into fine strips, and the spices are layered on top of finely chopped meat and seafood (in contrast to the Kansai version) and cooked together. Meanwhile, cooked soba (buckwheat noodles) are fried separately on the teppan and then spread on the patty. The whole thing is turned over on the plate and baked further with the noodles facing down. Then, the okonomiyaki is placed on a specially prepared egg, fried and then turned over again. Portions are scooped off with a spatula set on their utensils and eaten with okonomiyaki sauce.

Hiroshima okomiyaki

Hiroshima-style okomiyaki


The most likely ancestor of okonomiyaki may be funoyaki (麩の焼き), a type of pancake used in Buddhist ceremonies. However, it isn't easy to define the characteristic elements of today's okonomiyaki—the first references to funoyaki date back to the 16th century. Although mentioned by Sen no Rikyū, their composition remains pure speculation; funoyaki may have contained wheat gluten. At the end of the Edo period, funoyaki was probably a thin pancake prepared in a pot and covered with miso on one side.

A variant of this dish containing nerian (練餡, red bean paste) called gintsuba (銀つば) appeared in Kyōto and Osaka, then was renamed kintsuba (金つば) in Edo. Sukesōyaki (助惚焼), a speciality of Kōjimachi, is a modified version of this dish.

During the Meiji era, the production of the dish moved from the monasteries to the dagashiya (駄菓子屋, small candy store). They were then called mojiyaki (文字焼き). After the 1923 Kantō earthquake, people lacked cooking equipment, and it became customary to prepare these pancakes, as they did not require much equipment. The dish gained popularity, and soon savoury rather than sweet versions appeared, containing fish, vegetables and various meats.

A fusion of this dish and Western cuisine resulted in okonomiyaki's ancestor, issen yōshoku (一銭洋食, "Western food for one sen"). It uses Worcestershire sauce and minced shallot, created in Kyōto around the Taishō era. However, the dish was more of a snack, comparable to the Chinese cong you bing (葱油饼, oil and spring onion cake). These cakes became customary: they made it possible to make up a meal without using rice by adding more solid ingredients.

Forum discussion:

Kanji: お好み焼き, 御好み焼き
Kana: おこのみやき
Romaji: Okonomiyaki

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