Okonomiyaki – Japanese savory pancakes; is a dish made by mixing ingredients like finely sliced squid, shrimp, pork, beef, and cabbage into a batter made from flour & grilling on a flat iron grill.
The name Okonomiyaki comes from the Japanese phrase “okonomi de yaku”, meaning grill the ingredients you like in the way that you like. Many places let customers grill their own Okonomiyaki on large flat iron grills set on top of the table. It is a lot of fun to grill up your own Okonomiyaki with a group of friends or family.
Okonomiyaki styles are generally categorized in two styles: the “Kansai style” from Osaka and the “Hiroshima style” out of Hiroshima.
For the Kansai style, the flour batter is poured into a bowl along with all of the other ingredients, mixed together, and then poured onto the iron grill.
While grilling, spread the batter to form circular shapes…like pancakes.
When shaping the batter, if you slap it repeatedly with the utensil provided, called a “Kote” (an Okonomiyaki spatula) to expand it, you won’t get a fluffy texture.
After one side is grilled, turn it over with the Kote and grill the other side.
After both sides are done, spread on lots of sauce, sprinkle on Aonori, also known as “laver” in English; to taste, and cut nice sized pieces with the Kote.
Most often, mayonnaise would be added to finish off.
In the Kansai region, eating piping hot pieces straight off the grill with the Kote instead of using chopsticks is considered the style for a true connoisseur.
Give this method a try! Just make sure you’re careful not to burn your mouth.
The Hiroshimastyle, on the other hand, is to layer the ingredients and batter onto the flat iron grill WITHOUT mixing them first. Because this style requires some technique, many shops have the staff grill the Okonomiyaki instead of the customers.
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