|Place of origin||Japan|
|Region or state||Japanese-speaking areas|
Okonomiyaki (, o-konomi-yaki) (listen (help·info)) is a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients in a wheat-flour-based batter; it is an example of Konamon (flour-based Japanese cuisine). The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "how you like" or "what you like", and yaki meaning "cooked" (usually fried). Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region. In Tokyo, there is a semi-liquid okonomiyaki called monjayaki.
Kansai- or Osaka-style okonomiyaki is the predominant version of the dish, found throughout most of Japan. The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally thin pork belly, often mistaken for bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, konjac, mochi or cheese. Okonomiyaki is sometimes compared to an omelette or a pancake and may be referred to as a "Japanese pizza" or "Osaka soul food".
Some okonomiyaki restaurants are grill-it-yourself establishments, where the server produces a bowl of raw ingredients that the customer mixes and grills at tables fitted with teppan, or special hotplates. They may also have a diner-style counter where the cook prepares the dish in front of the customers.
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 pan-fried on both sides on either a 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 otafuku/okonomiyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter), aonori (seaweed flakes), katsuobushi (bonito flakes), Japanese mayonnaise, and pickled ginger (beni sh?ga).
When served with a layer of fried noodles (either yakisoba or udon), the resulting dish is called modan-yaki (), the name of which may be derived from the English word "modern" or as a contraction of mori dakusan (), meaning "a lot" or "piled high" signifying the volume of food from having both noodles and okonomiyaki.
In Hiroshima, the ingredients are layered rather than mixed. 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 three to four times the amount used in the 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 vary depending on the preference of the customer. This style is also called Hiroshima-yaki or Hiroshima-okonomi.
Food researcher Tekish? Motoyama has pointed out that a sort of thin crepe-like confection called funoyaki (?) may be an early precursor, though it hardly includes the bare elements that makes it identifiable as okonomiyaki. Records of the word funoyaki occur as far back as the 16th century, and Sen no Riky? writes about it, but what it really was can only be speculated, and may have involved the use of fu (wheat gluten), though certainly by the late Edo period,funoyaki referred to a thin crepe baked on a cooking pot, with miso basted on one side.
This, Motoyama writes, was modified into a form using nerian () (sweet bean paste) and came to be called gintsuba () in Kyoto and Osaka, then moved to Edo (Tokyo) where it was named kintsuba (), of which Sukes?yaki (), a specialty of K?jimachi, was one variant.
In the Meiji Era, the confection was taken up by the dagashiya (?, "informal confection shop") trade, which called it mojiyaki (?). After the 1923 Great Kant? earthquake when people lacked amenities it became sort of a pastime to cook these crepes. This fad gained great popularity, and soon, besides the sweet types, savory types using fish, vegetables, and various meat began appearing.
A simpler version of okonomiyaki, made with readily available ingredients, became popular in Japan during World War II when there was a short supply of rice. The wheat pancake was nutritious, filling, and inexpensive and was often served as a snack to children.
Okonomiyaki and takoyaki are popular street fare in Asia, such as in Taipei, Bangkok and Jakarta.
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