Okonomiyaki (Japanese Omelette)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of rice or other flour
1/3 cup of water
1 large egg
1 square of cotton (firm) tofu cubed
or 1 boneless chicken breast
a handful of various greens
1/4 of a medium onion
1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil

Sauce:
shoyu soy sauce
thinly sliced ginger
thinly torn shiso leaf or green basil

What to do:
Add seasonings to shoyu to taste. Start with just a pinch of each. Perhaps add some saké. Yay!
In a bowl, mix flour, water, and egg. Chop all vegetables and meat. Sauté the tofu or the chicken pieces in 1 tablespoon of hot grapeseed oil. Then mix the vegetables and tofu into the mixing bowl batter. Reheat the pan and cook small amounts about the size of pancakes until golden brown on each side.

Plate the okonomiyaki by divided into slices, drizzle sauce on top and serve.

Okonomiyaki, japanese omelette/pizza, is the most addictive substance known to man. It's especially good with tako (octopus), I think, but people make it with chicken, beef, pork, bacon, squid, corn, whole gyoza, various kinds of fish, and especially tofu. The basic recipe is egg, flour and water in roughly equal proportions, fried up with meat or tofu, with greens (usually cabbage) added midway through cooking. "Modern" okonomiyaki makes this already hearty meal even more filling by adding soba or udon noodles. It's topped with a thick brown soy-based sauce and many people like to add japanese mayonnaise, fish flakes, or seaweed flakes.

The particular kind of sauce that tops the okonomiyaki is a matter of great import. It seems that it is traditionally a kind of thick sweet dark sauce, probably of early modern Javanese origin, transmitted by the Dutch traders, along with the fighting kite (see Thomas Pynchon on ketjup in Mason & Dixon), that the Japanese serve with tonkatsu. However, in two restaurants at Japan Center in San Francisco, I have had okonomiyaki with a sauce that seems to be equal parts mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce, swirled in an (un)appetizing spiral.

sekicho points out In Osaka, the mayo/sauce combination is much more common, so I would venture that it's the "right" way to eat okonomiyaki.

As Mission Burritos are to San Francisco or bagels are to New York, okonomiyaki is to Osaka. Osaka is best known for its okonomiyaki. The name literally means "grill as you like". It originated in Osaka shortly after World War II.

While many places in Osaka have chefs preparing the okonomiyaki, popular variations let you grill your own at table side. The "as you like" part implies one of okonomiyaki's strengths, it's a wonderful edible vehicle for a large number of fixin', ranging from seafood to bacon to green onions. Japanese tend to bill it as "Japanese pizza" but its heavy use of eggs makes it seem more like an omelet to Western diners. However, much like how you really have to work to find a combination of toppings that don't work with pizza, the same basically goes for okonomiyaki. So maybe that's the pizza connection. If it cooks up on a hot grill, it will go well as a topping or filling for okonomiyaki. Sometimes fixin's are sandwiched between two thinner okonomiyakis.

While Osaka's major claim to fame is its okonomiyaki, Hiroshima is Japan's Second City of okonomiyaki.

Osaka's main okonomiyaki district seems to be crowded around the Hankyu railway's Umeda station depot. Also one can find some on Osaka's south or Minami side, in the seemingly endless Dotombori street of crab, fugu, pachinko, and okonomiyaki joints.

While the original poster's recipe appears like it will make an acceptable okonomiyaki, it's important to note that the true okonomiyaki experience is best captured with the addition of the brown okonomiyaki sauce. I believe you can buy a jar of this premade at your local Japanese grocer. However, for those of you living in Kentucky, below is a recipe that will make an approximation of the sauce:

4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sweet sake
a pinch of pepper

Look, I love sensei's stuff, and お好み焼き does mean "cooked as you like", but these descriptions are unlike any okonomiyaki I've ever had, whether Hiroshiman or Osakan.
1a. Osaka base
Get half a Chinese yam or less (nagaimo; check wikipedia), peel if desired, then grate with a ginger/wasabi grater to make snot. Shred cabbage, finely. One egg. Mix! This is Osaka Base.
1b. Hiroshima base
Put shredded cabbage on your stainless cheesesteak grill (griddle) and cover, then top with cooked noodles and cover some more. Maybe some chopped scallions. The eventual serve is flipped; it's a noodle-bottom dish. Other than that, I invite elaboration. I'm not a Hiroshima Base expert; I've only had it once, and it was a little weird for me. Let's go back to Osaka.
2. Put stuff in yer base. Squid? Cooked ground beef? Cheddar? Scallions? Pig's intestine? Da's cool. Just chop it up fine, and Mix.
3. Cook low on your stainless cheesesteak grill or seasoned or no-longer-teflon skillet. Takes a few minutes. Hold on.
4. Flip when solid. As the new side cooks, spread mayonnaise, then お好みサース (yes, very important, and different from とんかつサース, but so is the mayo. And it's really called "okonomi-sauce", which is just awesome). Then remove to your plate, and sprinkle with seaweed flakes 青海苔 (not the big-sheet nori but a kind that tastes ...fresher?) and katsuobushi, which is called bonito, but it makes no difference because bonito does not exist outside of katsuo, while still hot so the planed fishy flakes dance with the convection of your kitchen.
5. Now that you know what you're doing, make the next one for your guest. His/hers will be hotter and better looking than yours, and it won't have fallen apart (cf. Law of Pancakes), and the bonito dance will still be going on.

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