Okonomiyaki: The Styles
Okononomiyaki, Kansai/ Osaka Style
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region.
Kansai (Osaka)-style okonomiyaki is the predominant style of the dish, found throughout most of Japan. The batter is made of flour, grated yam, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally pork or bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, kimchi, mochi or cheese.
In Osaka (the largest city in the Kansai region), where this dish is said to have originated, okonomiyaki is prepared much like a pancake. The batter and other ingredients are fried on both sides on either a hot plate (teppan) or a pan using metal spatulas that are later used to slice the dish when it has finished cooking. Cooked okonomiyaki is topped with ingredients that include okonomiyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter), aonori (seaweed flakes), katsuobushi (fish flakes), Japanese mayonnaise and pickled ginger (beni shoga).
In Hiroshima, the ingredients are layered rather than mixed together. The layers are typically batter, cabbage, pork, and optional items such as squid, octopus, and cheese. Noodles (yakisoba, udon) are also used as a topping with fried egg and a generous amount of okonomiyaki sauce. The amount of cabbage used is usually 3 to 4 times the amount used in the more common Osaka style. It starts out piled very high and is pushed down as the cabbage cooks. The order of the layers may vary slightly depending on the chef’s style and preference, and ingredients will vary depending on the preference of the customer. People from Hiroshima claim that this is the correct way to make okonomiyaki. This style is also called Hiroshima-yaki or Hiroshima-okonomi.
In Tokyo, Tsukishima town is popular for both Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki. Monjayaki is a liquid, runny variant of okonomiyaki. The main street of this town is called Monja Street.
In Hamamatsu City (Shizuoka Prefecture), takuan (pickled daikon) is mixed in okonomiyaki.
In Okinawa, okonomiyaki is called hirayachi (ヒラヤーチー) and is thinner than in other areas. People cook it at home, so there are no hirayachi restaurants in Okinawa, although okonomiyaki restaurants can be found in a few places.
Don’t worry, Friedzen, I’m coming up with a recipe soon!