The Mystery of Japanese “Pancake”

How many kinds of Japanese pancakes have you known or tasted?

Dorayaki, Okonomiyaki, Monjayaki, etc… There are various types of delicious pancakes in Japan. Some are very sweet dessert, others are salty delicious dishes.

Some of you might get confused about the difference among those pancakes in Japan.

Here, I would like to introduce 6 different types of Japanese pancakes.

I hope you can enjoy learning the difference among those, and get to know well about amazing Japanese foods!

Just for your information, some of foods below have the name “— yaki”, and “yaki” means “grilled” or “caked” in Japanese.

What Is Fluffy Japanese Pancake (スフレパンケーキ)?

It’s called “souffle pancake” in Japan, and has been very popular in Japan in recent years.
As the name suggests, this is extremely fluffy pancake compared to normal pancake. It feels like it melts when you put it in your mouth.

The term “souffle” is French for “inflated”. It often refers to the lightly swelled and fluffy dish made by mixing the ingredients in the meringue, and baking it in the oven.

Fluffy Japanese pancake is exactly the pancake made with the meringue just like the “souffle”. The remaining egg yolk is also contained in the dough.

There are various types of sauce and toppings (chocolate, green tea, various fruits, coconut cream, etc) for this super fluffy soft pancakes.

By the way, the normal type of pancake that is made from flour, egg, baking powder, sugar and salt is also popular in Japan. Sometimes it’s called “hot cake” (ホットケーキ).

What Is Dorayaki (どら焼き)?

Dorayaki is two small pancakes with bean jam (sweet bean paste) in between.
The dough is usually thin because the bean paste is sandwiched between them. It is made into a moist delicious dough by adding honey and baking it.

Dorayaki is also famous as that in the anime “Doraemon”, his favorite food is dorayaki.

The contents of dorayaki is often sweet bean paste, and sometimes whipped cream is added.
Other than that, there are also dorayaki with some fruits + whipped cream, green tea cream, or chocolate cream in between.

Some tourist spot have their original dorayaki as a local food. If you have a chance to visit Japan, you may want to look for it.

What Is Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)?

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style pancake made from shredded cabbage, egg, flour and water with lots of toppings. Toppings can be pork, shrimp, squid, cod roe, cheese, rice cake and so on. People make their own okonomiyaki using their favorite ingredients.

The brown thick sauce called okonomi sauce and mayonnaise are essential when eating okonomiyaki. Finally aonori flakes and dried bonito shavings are sprinkled on top of the pancake.

By the way, okonomiyaki can be roughly divided into two types:

1. Kansai-style Okonomiyaki (Kansai is the area around Osaka prefecture.)
2. Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki (Hiroshima is the name of a prefecture in Japan that is located in Western part of Japan.)

Let me show you the difference between those two by explaining what exactly is Hiroshimayaki below.

What Is Hiroshimayaki (広島焼き)?

This is a type of okonomiyaki, and also called Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. The main ingredients of Hiroshimayaki is very similar to okonomiyaki, but the big difference is that it uses Chinese noodles.

Kansai-style okonomiyaki is usually made by mixing all of ingredients (cabbage, flour, egg, meat, and seafood) before baking it*, while Hiroshimayaki is made by spreading the very thin flour dough first (it looks like a crepe dough), then putting cabbage and other ingredients on top. After they are cooked, turn it over and transfer it on top of Chinese noodles.
The sauce and toppings are the same as okonomiyaki.

Since it uses a single serving of noodles, it’s more filling than Kansai-style okonomiyaki.

Chinese noodles are moist and chewy, but some part of them are crunchy. You can enjoy the texture, and this noodles match so well with the brown sauce.

*For Kansai-style okonomiyaki, people also make it by spreading the very thin flour dough first, then putting other ingredients on top in some cases. Again it doesn’t use noodles.

What Is Negiyaki (ネギ焼き)?

Negiyaki is similar dish to okonomiyaki. Negi is Japanese term for “green onion”.
Instead of shredded cabbage in okonomiyaki, it uses minced green onion as a main ingredient.

Generally there are two types of negiyaki:

Traditional Kansai-style

For the traditional negiyaki, the ingredients other than green onions are stewed beef tendon and konjac (sometimes egg is added).
After spreading the very thin flour dough, minced green onion and those ingredients are put on the dough.
The sauce for negiyaki is not the thick okonomi sauce, it’s normally soy sauce based watery sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

Pancake-style (Tokyo-style)

Some negiyaki is made by mixing all of ingredients (flour, water, and minced green onion) first, and baking the dough just like a pancake. In Tokyo, the white part of Japanese green onion are often used for the main ingredient.

What Is Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き)?

Monjayaki is a local cuisine of Tokyo, and also called just “Monja”.
It’s a dish in which flour is dissolved in water, poured on an iron plate and baked.
The ingredients can be anything you like. Normally similar ingredients to okonomiyaki (vegetables, seafoods, corn, cheese etc) are used for monjayaki as well.

The big difference between monjayaki and okonomiyaki is that monjayaki is much more watery, and it won’t be like the shape of pancake. So you can’t really cut it, but can eat it by pressing the thick liquid against the iron plate using a small metal spatula, and scooping the monja.
Just like the picture below, the surface of the monja gets a little burned, and so delicious.

Another difference is that the thick liquid already include the seasonings well, so you don’t have to put any sauce before eating.

The name “Monja” came from “Moji” which is Japanese term for “letter”. In ancient Japan, people used to call this food “Moji-yaki” because they played with writing some letters using the thick liquid of monjayaki.
It’s said that “Moji-yaki” had been changed to “Monjayaki” gradually.

That’s all for 6 different types of Japanese pancakes!

How was that!? I think the best way to understand those well is tasting them in Japan! or you can also make it at home (*^^*)

Best Fluffy Okonomiyaki Recipe

Please enjoy Japanese foods!

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