Foodie Friday Firsts: Okonomiyaki

I ate my first…

Okonomiyaki: Japanese savory pancakes, often filled with seafood

The name comes from blending together the words, okonomi (“favorite”) and yaki (“grilled”). These savory pancakes are often known as “Japanese pizza.” At restaurants, you can grill one yourself or have the chef make it in the kitchen:



The batter ingredients are simple: flour, dashi stock (or water), and egg.  (I’ve heard you can even buy boxes of the batter at Japanese markets.) Then you add in whatever seasonal vegetables or meat that you want. Extra toppings provide color to the dish, and choices include mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, seaweed flakes, and bonito shavings.

The taste is savory but too heavy-handed for me–all those extra garnishes! (I prefer a clean scallion taste à la Haemul Pajeon–Korean seafood pancake.) What I did enjoy was the monjayaki (“monja” for short), a derivative of okonomiyaki. A specialty of the Kanto region, it’s made with a more liquidy dough. Because of the texture, you need to watch it more while it’s cooking. The version I tried had mochi and cheese in it. Somehow the softer texture worked really well with the gooeyness of the cheese and mochi.

What’s your favorite type of pancake?

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  1. My favorite pancakes are called crepes! I like American pancakes and also Indian Naan, which to me is closer to crepes than bread, as well as the thin American Chinese Moo Shu.
    But I would lie if I pretended that French crepes, sweet or salty, aren’t my favorites.
    My mom made the best – I only realized that when I moved to the US – and we ate them sweetened for dessert. Jams, Nutella, plain granulated sugar, fruits cut in slices…Everything goes well with crepes.
    The best crepes for me are made in Brittany. Your recipe sounds good too, and I just feel like preparing a crepe batter!

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      Crepes are delicious! We used to have date nights planned around crepe outings. (I also like roti canai, dipped in curry.)

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