In Saitama, I joined Ricky and his wife, Tomoko’s, family for dinner at a local restaurant. We were seated on cushions on the floor with a hotplate in front of us. We made okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) – think pancake batter with stirfried veggies – and monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き) – think a much thinner pancake batter with stirfried veggies.
At home in Sydney, okonomiyaki and monjayaki are usually prepared for you – but it was a great experience to be able to mix it all up ourselves and throw it onto the hot plate! Food tastes better when its prepared together – I guess that’s why barbecues are always so much fun!
Yaki means to fry, so there were a few ‘fried’ dishes to cook.
I then had the honour to flip the thing over – man that was hard!
We had a veggie stir fry to start off with, so we cooked that first on the hotplate.
Next we had to mix up the batter for the okonomiyaki. All the toppings were overflowing in the tiny bowl they provided, so we had to be super careful and mix it slowly.
Then it was poured onto the hotplate and let to cook in a circular shape for a few minutes.
I then had the honour to flip the thing over – man that was hard! All eyes on me, the pressure was on.
Once it has cooked on both sides, then you pour on some okonomiyaki sauce, which is kinda sweet, then the bonito flakes go on top, then mayonnaise to finish.
For the monjayaki, the tiny bowl was again overflowing with toppings.
This time the batter was much thinner, very runny. When the mixture is poured onto the hotplate, its stirred for a few minutes and then flattened as thin as possible. We then take our little spatulas and scrape the food directly from the hotplate and eat it like that.
And to finish the meal, we made a yakisoba noodle stirfry, (using soba noodles).