It’s hard to find anyone, whether Japanese or not, who doesn’t like okonomiyaki! Best described as a sort of hybrid omelette and pizza, the name of the dish translates as “Whatever you like, grilled” and this hearty and hugely popular dish can be found all over Japan although it is mainly associated with the Kansai and Hiroshima regions, both of which have their own style of preparation.
The basic ingredients for the batter are okonomiyaki flour, eggs & cabbage. The flour itself contains wheat flour and Japanese yam powder as starch added for binding power and flavour. Further ingredients and toppings vary according to region and personal preference but common items are spring onions, meat (usually thin slices of pork belly), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables and even cheese.
In Osaka and the Kansai region, the ingredients are all mixed together before being cooked on griddle plates, while in Hiroshima, the ingredients are usually layered on top of each other, with fried noodles and fried eggs also commonly used as additional toppings.
Cooked okonomiyaki is then topped with ingredients that include a special okonomiyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter), dried seaweed flakes, bonito flakes and Japanese mayonnaise.
At some okonomiyaki restaurants, the ingredients are brought to the diners, who sit at griddle tables and then cook the dish themselves, while at others, the staff prepare the dish for you and bring it to the table.