Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き) is a savoury crepe made with a watery batter of flour, cabbages, crispies and more. It is a low-cost and easy-going food choice that is great for holding casual gatherings. Customers will DIY their crepe on the iron griddle built-into the table, and eat it off the hot plate using a tiny spatula, usually paired with beer or other cold drinks.
Monjayaki debuted in Tsukishima (月島), Tokyo during the Edo period, then gradually spread to other parts of Japan. Monjayaki used to be a biscuit-like snack for kids in candy stores, made with a thin batter of flour and water, grilled on an iron griddle and lastly topped with a few swipes of soy sauce and honey. It slowly evolves and finally developed into today’s Monjayaki with cabbage, crispies and meat served with Worcestershire sauce.
The name of Monjayaki can be divided into two Japanese terms, which are “monja” and “yaki”. “Monja” means “words” while “yaki” means “grill”, and it combines into a meaning of “grilling words”. The definition behind such a name is due to the usage for education in the past. Parents and kids would use the batter to draw and write on the iron griddle for fun, and at the same time use the space to teach and learn Japanese characters.
Steps of Monjayaki
1) Cook all solid food items and build a circle with it.
After given the bowl of batter, spoon out all vegetables, meat and other solid items that need to be cooked first. According to personal preference, these items can be chopped into finer pieces with the cooking spatula to enhance the flavour. When all solid items are cooked, outline a circle with it to prepare space for cooking the flour fluid.
2) Pour the liquid in and mix everything.
Make sure there are no big gaps that will cause leakage, then pour the liquid batter into the middle of the circle. Next, mix the outer circle of grilled foods into the liquid until everything is a blend. Flatten the mixture equally on the iron griddle and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
3) Time to eat!
When the watery batter formed into shape and the bottom of the crepe start to brown, it is time to eat! Use the mini iron spatula to scrap a mouthful of the crepe and eat it off the spatula. Sauces or other spices can be applied as preferred.
Monjayaki is a Japanese food with a long history that has been long beloved. It is not an everyday dish but it is definitely a tasty cheap eats.