Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Okonomiyaki, Monjayaki - as you like it!

Seafood okonomiyaki - topped with shrimps, scallops, cuttlefish, octopus

Some of you well-travelled or "well-fed" may have tried this but it was a first for me. :O Okonomiyaki - Japanese savory pancakes, 好吃 烧. Count ourselves lucky that an authentic grill-it-yourself okonomiyaki establishment can be found in central Taiwan. Okonomi means "as you like" - referring to the ingredients, typically. Various ingredients such as seafood, vegetables and meat can be mixed with the dough and placed on the okonomiyaki as topping.

Basics - flour, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage - the base batter; are mixed in a deep bowl and then the batter smoothed out evenly on a hot plate to be fried on both sides. Toppings such as meat and seafood can be placed on top(picture above), then continued to be pan-fried.

The other side, already fried to brown and crisp when flipped over (with the help of two metal spatulas) . The seafood-side down this time.

Ready and served!

After being cooked through, the same metal spatulas are used to slice the round okonomiyaki into quarter-size and served.

The texture and taste sensation was fabulous. You have the crisp on the outside alike potato rosti, while the inside of mainly cabbage and egg is warm and a little moist. The hint of sweetness of cabbage with the unami of seafood was a perfect match. I would sum the texture as... "almost like eating a chicken pie with the pie crust made from rosti and fillings that is moist and creamy"...

How about Monjayaki?

Monjayaki - 文字烧 - is a Kanto region specialty that is similar to Okonomiyaki, however, the batter used is much more liquid, runnier than the okonomiyaki batter.

Pool of shredded cabbage mixed with ground beef . It's wet!

The ingredients are finely chopped and mixed into the batter before frying. Let the flour batter simmer for a few minutes, and mix them with all the ingredients together. Some say it has a consistency comparable to a pool of melted cheese when cooked.

It is then eaten directly off the grill using a small metal spatula. Can you spot that metal spatula?:P

I prefer okonomiyaki to monjayaki as I felt the latter is a wetter version. The much preferred okonomiyaki had much more depth of textures to the taste buds. YUMMY!

We had our okonomiyaki and monjayaki at TEN屋- with several locations round Taiwan. More taiwan eating here and here.

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