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Wed, 16 May ’12

Midweek Munchies: Open Wide for Okonomiyaki

Save big with this savory treat.

Contrary to popular belief, there is so much more to Japanese cuisine than California rolls and the insulation-like bricks we call “ramen noodles.” As you may have guessed from our bento round-up, we’re pretty into food ourselves. Chances are that, unless you live on the West Coast, you may not have heard of okonomiyaki (lit. “what you want”), the savory pancake that has been dubbed “Japanese pizza” in some circles. While your favorite Italian treat is in no danger or being overthrown, okonomiyaki is a quick, cheap, delicious way to have a taste of Japanese culture at home in your own kitchen.

Although some recipes call for hard-to-find ingredients (which can usually be found at a local Japanese grocer), the essential ingredients are cabbage, eggs, flour, dashi (fish stock) and the aptly-named okonomiyaki sauce. Trust us – you’re definitely going to want plenty of this addictive sauce. There are two basic styles – Osaka style, in which all the ingredients are mixed together, and Hiroshima style, in which all the ingredients are carefully layered. Although most okonomiyaki recipes are easy to follow, we found Emmymade’s YouTube tutorial to be very easy to follow. Harder to follow is the comments section, but it’s generally better to pretend that YouTube commenters don’t exist.

The beauty of okonomiyaki lies in its name – it’s very much “what you want” because thanks to its simple omelette-like base of egg, cabbage and flour, you can add whatever ingredients you’d like to fill out the dish. The sky (well, the top of your fridge) is the limit when it comes to okonomiyaki. Plus it’s cheap to make. Have you seen cabbage prices recently? We didn’t think so. Next time, skip the asbestos-grade instant ramen and pull up a seat at the big kids’ table. To paraphrase 300‘s King Leonidas, tonight we dine in style.

What would you put in your okonomiyaki? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus