Do you know the Japanese traditional food Monjayaki?
It is a popular and affordable type of DIY cooking, where you prepare the food at the table.
The base ingredient is the wheat flour, which is added to vegetables, seafood and/or meat on a hotplate. The ingredients can usually be customized so it is a good choice for vegetarians.
Until around 80 years ago, it was commonplace for families to have hotplates in their home, but this is becoming less common. Now, it is more popular to make monjayaki at a restaurant as a meal or snack.
Although it is often compared to okonomiyaki (famous in Hiroshima and Osaka), monjayaki has more of a liquid consistency and is known as one of the traditional foods of Tokyo.
The area where it is said to have originated is Tsukishima, a 25 minute trip from Shinjuku or only 10 minutes from Ginza. Although it’s right in the center of Tokyo, it has a warm environment beloved by locals.
As its name suggests, Monja Street in the Tsukishima area is a street with over 70 monja restaurants, so many that it is hard to choose!
If you’ve never made monja before, the shop assistant will help you so no need to worry!
But if you want to try making it yourself (and show off to your family or friends), here are the basic steps:
Step 1: Choose your topping and receive the bowl of topping and batter
Step 2: Place only the cabbage onto the hotplate, and cut finely with the large metal spatula.
Step 3: Make the cabbage into a round shape
Step 4: Pour the soup into the middle
Step 5: When the color of the batter changes, fold in the other ingredients
Some shops differ in the way to prepare monjayaki (particularly step 3), but this way is probably the most common.
Monjayaki will probably never look very nice, so don’t worry too much about the appearance 😉 No matter how it looks, it will be delicious and fun to make!