Okonomiyaki Is A Japanese Savoury Pancake

A delicate little dim sum is set to be huge for 2018. Okonomiyaki which is a Japanese savoury pancake could well be the hit of the year. These literally translate as ‘what you like, grilled’.

Okonomiyaki are seasoned batter dishes which vary regionally around Japan. These dim sum originated in Hiroshima and Kansai but have been translated throughout Japan and to South Korea. It is often served with shredded cabbage which makes it highly distinctive, topped with some seafood, usually tuna (bonita) or pork, squid or octopus.

The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “grill”.

In the USA, they call Okononmiyaki, Japanese Pizza because the toppings can be almost everything. Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai, Osaka or Hiroshima areas of Japan.

The garnish is exceptionally important. A fine topping is bonito which are fish flakes that are like parmesan-thin flakes that shaved off dried, fermented tuna. Apparently, the heat that comes off a freshly cooked okonomiyaki is supposed to make the flakes jiggle on this pancake. Bonito flakes also lend an umami sensory hit.

Cooking requires some care. The pan cannot be too hot but searing enough to cook the pancake. Any cabbage will burn and charcoal readily which sometimes produces a crispy, dark outside with a horribly undercooked centre. Apparently, keeping the pan on a moderate heat with a lid to keep heat in as with a wok helps cooking on all sides.


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