Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a popular local dish in Japan, a simple savory go-to food for most Japanese. As simple as it may look but when it comes to cooking okonomiyaki, it becomes a little tricky for first-timers. Below we broke down the steps on how to properly cook okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is a type of savory Japanese pancake made of batter, cabbage and a few toppings of choice. The toppings can be meat, seafood, cheese or even kimchi, it usually depends on the restaurant’s menu. “Okonomi” literally means in English, “to one’s liking”, so you can choose any toppings that you want to add on your okonomiyaki!
How does it taste like?
Okonomiyaki nearly resembles the taste that you get when you eat Takoyaki (たこ焼き). While this may be true, Okonomiyaki consists more vegetable ingredients compared to a Takoyaki.
The same sauce is also used for Okonomiyaki, smoked bonito flakes and dried seaweeds are also sprinkled on top.
Where to eat Okonomiyaki?
Normally, people in Japan eat Okonomiyaki at restaurants whose specialty is the dish such as “もんじゃや 紋” / Monjaya in Ueno-Okachimachi. They also have English menu available.
This kind of restaurant has dining tables that are equipped with an iron griddle or “teppan” and customers are served with ingredients to cook the dish by themselves.
While this maybe a little intimidating at first, most restaurants have illustrated the steps on how to properly cook okonomiyaki. Below are the steps on how to properly cook okonomiyaki.
If you are not into cooking your own Okonomiyaki, you can ask the restaurants staff to cook it for you.
Steps on how to properly cook okonomiyaki
The Okonomiyaki batter and other ingredients are served in a bowl so the customers can see all the fresh ingredients that go into the Okonomiyaki.
Mix the batter and ingredients thoroughly, make sure the everything is distributed evenly.
Once the iron griddle or “teppan” is hot enough for cooking, add some cooking oil and spread evenly. Pour the Okonomiyaki mixture onto the teppan and use spatulas to shape the Okonomiyaki into a pancake shape.
Wait for the first side to cook thoroughly, DON’T forcibly flip the Okonomiyaki when the batter is not yet cooked or firm enough to flip.
Once the first side is properly cooked, use both spatulas provided to carefully flip the Okonomiyaki.
When both sides of the Okonomiyaki are cooked, you can now add the toppings! First, brush the sauce onto the okonomiyaki.
Mayonnaise! If you prefer to add some mayonnaise you can squeeze it onto the Okonomiyaki, usually in a zigzag direction.
Bonito flakes! Sprinkle some bonito flakes onto the Okonomiyaki, use the wooden pincers and avoid directly scooping the bonito flakes using your fingers.
Dried seaweeds! To finish off the dish, sprinkle some dried seaweed onto the Okonomiyaki. At this point, you will already see the resemblance between Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki, they only differ in shape!
After adding all the toppings, use the spatulas to slice or break off the Okonomiyaki. Use chopsticks to get a slice of the Okonomiyaki.
Enjoy every bite of your Okonomiyaki!
If you just have a limited time in Japan and you just want to try Okonomiyaki, you can find street food style Okonomiyaki being sold at weekend food parks around Tokyo. It normally costs 500-600 yen for street food style Okonomiyaki.
Hope you enjoy your Okonomiyaki experience!