Okonomi-yaki (Savoury pancake)

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Broadcast date:June 17, 2011

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Rice
  • Eggs
  • Beans & Tofu
  • Flour
  • Other

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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

・80 g squid 
・200 g cabbage 
・1 egg  
・100 g flour  
・½ cup water (100ml) 
・½ teaspoon salt (2.5g) 
・Pepper to taste 
・1 teaspoon soy sauce (5ml) 
・Vegetable oil for the frying

For the sauce
・2 tablespoons tomato ketchup (30ml) 
・1 tablespoon soy sauce (15ml) 
・Mayonnaise (optional)

Preparation

  1. Slice the squid into 1 cm pieces. Dice the cabbage into ½ cm pieces.
  2. Whisk the egg in a bowl. Add the water, then the seasonings of salt, soy sauce, and pepper. Work in the flour to form a batter.
  3. Add the squid and cabbage, mixing well to ensure they are well mixed with the batter.
  4. Heat the frying pan and lightly coat with oil. Add all of the batter mixture and spread it out into a round, flat shape about 2 cm thick. Put the lid on the pan and cook at low heat for 7-8 minutes. When the underside has turned golden brown, turn over, add a little more oil to the pan, and cook for another 7-8 minutes until done.
  5. Mix the tomato ketchup and soy sauce. Turn the cooked Okonomi-yaki on to a plate and generously top with the sauce. A further topping of mayonnaise can be added if wished.

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The Varieties of Okonomi-yaki

Okonomi-yaki  can be made with a whole variety of fillings.  Pork and cabbage is a standard ingredient, but fillings with octopus, mentaiko (hot and spicy cod roe), cheese, kimchi (hot and spicy Korean-style pickles), and mochi (Japanese rice cakes) are also popular.  Okonomi-yaki can also be served with a layer of fried noodles, in which case it is referred to as Modan-yaki.
There are two main styles of Okonomi-yaki: Kansai style and Hiroshima style.  The former mixes the fillings with the batter, while the latter spreads the batter in a crepe-like fashion and then layers it with cabbage, meat, fried noodles, egg or other fillings.
The origins of Okonomi-yaki can be traced to the dishes made from a flour and water batter that were served at the tea ceremonies of Sen no Rikyū, the 16th century figure who did so much to develop tea ceremony in Japan.  During the Meiji era from the late 19th century, roadside stalls sold Yōshoku-yaki (‘western-style crepes’), consisting of crepes topped with flaked bonito, Welsh onions and a sauce.  They were popular among the common folk.  It is said that the dishes subsequently evolved into the Okonomi-yaki that exist today.

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