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Okonomiyaki Style & Technique [Split from L.A. board]

pleasurepalate Mar 22, 2007 05:00 PM

Ooops, I think I should have explained something better. You're right in that the difference isn't the size. From what I read, the Kansai-version mixes the batter together along with the veggies while the Hiroshima-version lays the batter first and than layers the meat, veggies, noodles, etc. before adding more batter to the top. Hopefully, that's more clarification.

  1. OCAnn Mar 23, 2007 08:08 AM

    I read about the layering v mixed on Wikipedia, but my experience in Japan was different. Some places brought out the batter pre-mixed; the places that didn't, had all the ingredients in one bowl and you were supposed to mix it before it was placed on the grill.

    8 Replies
    1. re: OCAnn
      pleasurepalate Mar 23, 2007 08:35 AM

      What was interesting about my experience at Gaja is that those who were going to cooked were actually given printed instructions on how to do it and I'm assuming that those in my group were following the directions to the T, but who knows? :)

      1. re: pleasurepalate
        Mattapoisett in LA Mar 23, 2007 12:56 PM

        As the person who was doing the cooking in the photos the instructions were not all they were cracked up to be. The first pancake was a learning experience. The first batter instruction said lay they batter down, not half the batter as it should have said and I realized when I got to the second instance of laying batter down. Next time I will mix the ingredients with the batter then laying it down on the grill.

        Take Care

        - P.

        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
          c
          clearskies0810 Apr 3, 2007 01:18 AM

          hmm, maybe i'm reading this wrong, (and I've never been to Gaja as I don't live in LA), but when I make okonomiyaki (osaka style) at home, i don't pour another layer of batter on top... Instead, I spread out the protien (i like shrimp) and press them into the batter a bit so that when it is flipped, the uncooked batter just fills in the gaps and under the shrimp. It's usually worked out well that way for me. Good luck to you!

          1. re: clearskies0810
            Mattapoisett in LA Apr 3, 2007 01:40 PM

            I was reading the instructions as I was going along and the batter firmed up too much to have it drip through when flipped. The other issue was; sitting at a large table and reaching over a griddle is not the easiest way to cook. I did learn alot from the attempt and the responses to this post so I can't wait to try again.

            Take care

            - P.

      2. re: OCAnn
        b
        bulavinaka Mar 23, 2007 10:20 PM

        Following directions should be more or less viewed as guidelines, or suggestions. Even in Hiroshima, the ways that one will find okonomiyaki (the okonomiyaki that I'm most familiar with) can vary. I spent a fair amount of time in the Furuichi section of Hiroshima, and the method of the place I used to frequent was as follows. Poor a thin layer of batter on a well-seasoned oiled griddle that isn't too hot - smooth it out circularly to about the size of the plate that you are going to eat it on (7-9 inches), with the thickness between a crepe and a normal pancake. Before the top sets, sprinkle on some vegetables, trying to put the green onions and bean sprouts on top. Drizzle just enough batter on top of the vegetables to hold them together. Next you can lay on the meat - preferably thin slices of pork - and season the pork with just a little salt. Again, drizzle just enough batter on the pork so it will hold to the rest of the assembly of ingredients. If provided, sprinkle on some sesame seeds, shaved bonito, dried seaweed, etc. By this time, the vegetables should be cooking down some - at this point, use two spatulas - one to slide under the okonomiyaki and one to hold the top of the okonomiyaki and gently flip it over to cook the top. Don't worry if it slightly disassembles - you can tuck the ingredients back under the okonomiyaki and it will cook into the top. Ultimately, after slightly pressing down on the bottom of the okonomiyaki, it will flatten down to the approximate thickness of two pancakes. Flip it over again to relieve to bottom of some moisture, and also check to make sure the meat is browned with a nice crust on it. If not, flip it over again to finish it. Slide the spatula under the okonomiyaki that should be relatively firm and place it on your dish. Now you just need to decide how much of the sauces you want to squirt on, and enjoy your hard-earned meal...

        1. re: bulavinaka
          Mattapoisett in LA Mar 24, 2007 06:42 PM

          Thank you! I will print this out the next time I head to Gaja. This was only my second experience with Okonomiyaki and first time making it. I hope to do much better next time.

          for those wanting to see the pics which were linked in the original post they can be found here:
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_addic...

          Take Care

          - P.

          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
            b
            bulavinaka Apr 3, 2007 12:09 AM

            P. I forget to mention a few small details. Often times small dried shrimps are offered as well. depending on what kind and the thickness and density (small ones with the heads on tend to be lighter - you can sprinkle these in anywhere from the bottom to the top; headless ones tend to be much harder - probably better in the batter or mixed in with the veggies to soften them up a bit and let the flavors mingle) of the shrimps, you can sprinkle these into the batter before, or after pouring it on the grill to form your "pancake" base. After that, shredded bonito, various dried seaweeds, sesame seeds, even fried tempura batter pieces are sprinkled onto the top of the batter. Once you start to see the bonito shavings start to "dance" or curl (which shouldn't be long), it's time to add the subsequent layer of veggies which you can also season with the same ingredients as well. Again, it's pretty loose as to how you do it, but I have a strong trust in your intuition as a MCH(Master ChowHounder) to make an extraordinary oko yourself!

            1. re: bulavinaka
              Mattapoisett in LA Apr 3, 2007 01:49 PM

              Thanks again. I can't wait to try again. Dommy! and I have so many places on our list it may be a while before we get back to Gaja.

              Take Care

              - Patrick

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