Okonomiyaki: Hard To Pronounce, Easy To Love

I bought a new bottle of Japanese mayo over the weekend. (And the crowd goes wild!) This was cause for making something new to enjoy it with. The frozen takoyaki I impulse-bought along with the mayo was insufficient. Let's bastardize one Osakajin street food specialty at a time, shall we? I made okonomiyaki, a savory fried pancake sometimes referred to as Japanese pizza. Call it what you must, it makes an awesome lunch. Check out our recipe.

Other things I picked up at the Asian supermarket to create this surprisingly complicated dish: mountain yam (not mountain-specific, looks like this), dried tuna shavings (AKA: bonito flakes), okonomiyaki sauce (kind of tastes like teriyaki sauce), napa cabbage, eggs and flour. Fan of the Chinese or Korean scallion pancake? This is even better.

Grating the yam is kind of gross. This is no sweet potato. The resulting product is sticky, slimy and extremely unappetizing until it's mixed with eggs, cabbage and flour to make a crisp, chewy and very flavorful pancake. Before you top it with bonito, scallions, fried batter crispies and an oversized squiggle of kewpie mayo (love that precision squirting cap), mix whatever you like into the batter. It will become one with the pancake. Popular options include just about any meat, vegetables or seafood you'd fry with rice or yakisoba. Sliced into four wedges, okonomiyaki is portable, filling, cheap to make and tastes good at room temperature.

Break out the grater, get past how something referred to as a yam could possibly yield...well, you'll see, and again, can't emphasize this enough, do not buy frozen takoyaki. It didn't make sense in my head when I grabbed the bag and it doesn't make sense now. Some lessons you just have to learn yourself.

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