July 2018

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Okonomiyaki at CelebrAsian was a great hit and received so much good feedback, so I’d like to share little more about this yummy dish with you this month. 
 
What is Okonomiyaki? (お好み焼き)….   It's a traditional Japanese food that is often explained as "Japanese Pancake" or "Japanese Pizza".  It's a savory dish that is a bit more like an omelet or frittata than a pancake and it's made with okonomiyaki dough, eggs, cabbage, pork (bacon), shrimp or other seafood, and topped with a variety of condiments like sweet sauce (Okonomi Sauce), mayonnaise, dried seaweed and dried fish flakes.   If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend you to try one; it’s an incredibly delicious dish, crispy on the outside and soft inside.
 
History – “Yaki” means grilled or cooked & “Okonomi” means “what you want” or “what you like” meaning that there is no “one” way to make Okonomyaki and no “one” recipe that defines it.  Okonomiyaki was invented in Japan prior to World War II and evolved and became popular during and after the war.  The earliest origins of a basic crepe-like pancake date back to the Edo period (1683-1868) where these were a special desert served at Buddhist ceremonies called Funoyaki. This then evolved during the Meiji period (1868-1912) into a sweeter dish called Sukesoyaki. During the 20's and 30's the dish continued to evolve with more emphasis put on the sauces added and the name Yoshokuyaki began to be used. The name Okonomiyaki started in the late 30's in Osaka. In Hiroshima at this time a similar crepe-like food was popular - it was topped with onions, folded over, and served to children as a snack item. Okonomiyaki, in it's different variations, started to become more popular during the war when rice became scarce and residents had to be creative in using other more readily available ingredients. The simple wheat pancake fit the bill and during and after the war, people started to add more ingredients such as eggs, pork, and cabbage. A restaurant from Osaka claims to have been the first to add Mayonnaise in 1946.  
 
There are two significantly different types of Okonomiyaki.  First, the Kansai or Osaka style, in which the ingredients are all mixed into a batter and then grilled.  Second, the Hiroshima style, in which a small crepe-like pancake is grilled and then other ingredients are layered on top.  Whichever the style you use, the most important parts of Okonomiyaki is in mixed flour and sauce.  The mixed flour contains wheat flour and dried, ground Yamaimo powder in it as an added starch for additional binding power, and flavor.  Some already mixed flour contains powdered bonito as well.
 
We have a few Okinomiyaki ingredients at discounted prices for JASI members, so if you’d like them, please contact: info@japaniowa.org

Discounted ingredients, as follows:
 
Ajinomoto Bonito Soup Stock, NET WT 4.23oz - $3
*Only 1 available and usually $5+ through Amazon or local Asian store
 
Shimaya Bonito Soup Stock, NET WT 1.4oz - $2
*2 available and usually $5+ through Amazon or local Asian store
 
Kewpie Mayonnaise, NET 17.64 oz – $4
*18 available and usually $8+ through Amazon or local Asian store
 
Otajoy (by Otafuku) Okonomi Sauce, NET WT 78.7oz - $10
*9 available and usually $40+ through Amazon or local Asian store

Have wonderful month and stay cool,
Chié Schiller
Board Chair / Executive President