Japan Australia Pages

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Okonomiyaki Japanese Savoury Pancake

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake based on a batter containing a variety of ingredients and cooked on a hot plate. The name “okonomiyaki” is derived from the Japanese word “okonomi” meaning “what you like” or “what you want” and “yaki” meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. The history of okonomiyaki goes back about 500 years. It was originally made by spreading a thin layer of flour paste on a hot plate then adding miso for flavouring and rolling into a thin pancake. Later toppings such as chopped green onion and sliced dried fish were added and miso paste replaced by a special sauce. In modern okonomiyaki, a wide variety of ingredients are used such as shrimp, squid, octopus, pork, cabbage and vegetables. The finished pancake is served with a special sauce, mayonnaise and seasonings such as green powdered seaweed (aonori) and dried fish flakes (katsuobushi).


In Japan, it is popular to eat okonomiayki at restaurants that specialise in the dish. In an okonomiyaki restaurant you can sit around the hot iron griddle (teppan) while the food is cooked in front of you. Some restaurants have dining tables equipped with these hot plates and customers order the ingredients, mix and cook the okonomiyaki themselves. This is usually a lot of fun and many different types of okonomiyaki can be ordered and tried.

Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai and Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is popular all over the country with toppings and batters varying according to each region. In Osaka where okonomiyaki is believed to have originated from, it is often called “Osaka Soul Food”.

Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is a variety where the ingredients are sandwiched between the batter rather than mixed together. The batter is cooked like a thin pancake and the ingredients cooked separately before being placed on the pancake. The okonomiyaki is served on top of yakisoba noodles and sometimes served with a fried egg.

Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki

I highly recommend Okonomiyaki as a must try Japanese dish when in Japan.

Okonomiyaki is also a popular dish to make at home with the whole family. Here is a step by step guide to making Japanese Okonomiyaki

20 comments:

  1. I remember so well: I had my first okonomiyaki during my first visit to an izakaya, many years ago. Fell in love then, still love it now. :D

    I've got my own recipe/s, but I'm going to try yours. Hmmm. Maybe tonight? Yes. Tonight. ^^

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    1. Thanks Rurousha, Yeah, I still remember my first time like it was yesterday. A day I will never forget! There seem to be quite a few recipes out there as well as variations. Let me know how you go with mine and I'd love to see yours as well :)

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    2. I've come to report back. Great success! ^^

      Before I tried yours, I used a recipe I found in ... wait for it! ... the Australian Women's Weekly Cookbooks Series. It's this book, which I recommend to all culinarily challenged people. :D

      I prefer your recipe, though, because it's so simple and so delicious. It will be made again. Thanks!

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    3. Great news Rurousha and very glad to hear it was a success. The Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks are great and we have used quite a few recipes from them in Australia. I'll have to check out their version of Okonomiyaki :)

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  2. Okonomiyaki is great snack food!

    Ops! You sure are making me hungry now. ;)

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    1. Thanks Lina, It is a great snack food or main dish with a few sides. I love how you can make it your own by adding the ingredients you want to have. A great meal around the table with the family :)

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  3. Words cannot express my love of okonomiyaki! I love the okonomiyaki kits you can by in supermarkets in Japan: makes for a quick easy meal when you get home from work and are too tired to cook a big complicated meal. Okonomiyaki is so simple it would be pretty easy to replicate in most countries outside of Japan. :D

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    1. Thanks Sarah, It is definitely one of the great Japanese dishes and like you said, so quick and easy to make at home. It is quite simple to make here in Australia. Probably the hardest thing is the special sauce and additional toppings, but most of these can be found at a local Asian Supermarket :)

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  4. Without doubt, one of the greatest foods in the world. Simple to prepare and cook. Great eating with family or friends - eating it straight off the hotplate. And I eat it a lot, especially in winter. Actually, if I ate any more of this, I'd probably look like one!

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    1. Thanks Rohan, It truly is and is a great family meal or party dish with friends around the table. We usually make several with different ingredients, so there is always something for everyone and the kids love them as well. It has to be something that you can never get enough of and we eat probably twice a month :)

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  5. Hi J-A, had my first taste of Okonomiyaki on Miyajimi in a great little family restaurant in the main shopping street, father and daughter working side by side on a huge grill. Sooo full when we finished. Loved it then and has become a firm family favourite at our place. Will try your recipe next time I get the urge to make some savoury pancakey goodness.

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    1. Hi rObfOs, thanks for the comment. I've yet to try one in Miyajima, but I bet it was good. It is a perfect complete meal and something that can be enjoyed by the whole family. I'd love to hear from you after giving my recipe a try and any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again and take care :)

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  6. Nice post..! A lot of people say it's the cheapest and healthiest thing you can makes to eat at home. I've yet to make a really good one at home though D:

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    1. Thanks Alyse, It's been one of my favourites and well researched after many years of eating Okonomiyaki all over Japan. It is a great cheap meal that contains pretty much everything from all the food groups, so I guess it is quite healthy. It is a family favourite for us and pretty easy to make at home, so hope you give this one a try :)

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  7. This made me hungry... When I was in Nara during Golden Week a few years back all the walkways were lined with takoyaki and okonomiyaki... I think cabbage is probably the number one ingredient nowadays...tabetai..

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  8. Thanks Benjamin, Yes, some great Kansai food there and love those little street vendors selling takoyaki and okonomiyaki. Cabbage is the main ingredient but lots of little goodies all go in to make the perfect okonomiyaki :)

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  9. A unique Pancake there :). But does it taste good?

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    1. Thanks Thristhan, Yes, very unique and not your typical pancake but one of the best dishes in Japan and worth trying over and over again :)

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  10. I'm going to osaka during Golden Week. I hear that Osaka is famous for it. Can't wait to see how good it is.

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    1. Thanks Ben, Okonomiyaki is a must try dish in Osaka and is also known as "Osaka Soul Food". Also try the Takoyaki, which is amazing :)

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