Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Silver Spoon

Monja yaki もんじゃ焼き

DSC_4648I really enjoying reading ‘Silver Spoon’ Japanese manga (comic book) by my favorite author, Mari Ozawa. The series first started in February of last year and I now have volume three. The story is about an incredibly handsome high school senior whose father passed away three years earlier, then his mother became ill and was hospitalized. He now faces the challenge of taking care of his pre-teen brother and sister. Although his experience in the kitchen is limited, he quickly develops his skill and love for cooking. This manga includes recipes in each episode. Here I tried one and it was fast, easy and mighty fine!DSC_4555

History of monja is sort of hazy. The picture of what seems like making monja appeared in Hokusai manga (北斎漫画)in 1819 but it doesn’t tell who started it. Likely the origin of monja come from when people wrote moji (文字-word) with batter in a skillet to amuse themselves  thus moji-yaki (文字焼き-baked character) became monja- yaki. The manga ‘Silver Spoon’ explanation is very simple- press ingredients with flat side of spatula like monja so that called monja-yaki. Monja-yaki is quicker to be ready to eat than its close cousin okonomi-yaki and both are crowd pleasers but this is gooier and untidy.DSC_4565

Today’s monja-yaki for about 4 peopleDSC_4542

  • All purpose flour 1 cup
  • Dashi stock 3 cups-I used udon tea bag style dashi steep in very hot water.
  • Worcester sauce 2 Tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil-1-2 teaspoon
  • Thin sliced pork side 1 pound
  • Half head of cabbage thinly sliced
  • Spicy cod roe, mentaiko (明太子) 2-3 cut in chunkDSC_4545
  • Mochi-Japanese rice cake cut into chunks
  • Sliced cheese 2-3 (optional)
  • Eringi (king oyster mushroom) 3-4 chopped
  • Agedama or tenkasu (あげ玉-fried tempura batter pieces), available in the refrigerator section of Japanese market. This inexpensive item makes a big difference in texture.DSC_4550

Other ingredients suggestion: Squid, green onion, shrimp, shiitake, ham, bacon


  1. Make batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, dashi stock and Worcester sauce. The batter is very watery but don’t be alarmed.
  2. Put all ingredients except cheese in an another large bowl then add one ladle full of batter and combine.Note; I did in two batches because I did not have big enough bowl.DSC_4553
  3. Heat griddle over medium heat then oil the surface with a paper towel soaked with oil
  4. Put half of the vegetable mixture onto the griddle and stir fry until cabbage is wilted.DSC_4559
  5. Make a well in the cabbage mixture and pour batter (about a couple of ladle full) in the center of the well. Note; The batter may have separated, you need to mix it well before adding. DSC_4562DSC_4563
  6. Start incorporate cabbage mixture and batter. Press with monja spatula.DSC_4564
  7. When the mochi is soft lay a slice of cheese on top.
  8. Enjoy with okonomi sauce and mayonnaise if you like.DSC_4567DSC_4572

My son’s friend is here visiting from Okinawa, Japan. I feel sorry for her that she has to endure the chaos of construction, dust and all. We made a day trip to Cannon Beach. It’s the opposite spectrum to beaches in Okinawa-windy, cold and nobody swimming.DSC_4600DSC_4618 DSC_4623


Today around 3 PM painters came to touch up a few areas. Do you know what that means? I think kitchen is done except the microwave trim kit which is still a no-show. DSC_4630DSC_4631DSC_4640DSC_4634DSC_4643

The main character said I cook because I want to see happy faces-That is so deep.

Bonus Information-Ookiya (大木屋) in Tokyo is voted the best as monja-yaki restaurant.


  1. What a neat dish! I never heard of it. I love your word "gooier". Your kitchen looks wonderful . . . so worth the wait and inconvenience. I know you'll be having fun in it making happy faces!

    1. Jalna, Thank you for your comment. I'm so grateful for my husband and new kitchen.

  2. Your kitchen looks wonderful. I love your posts. Sorry I haven't commented in so long. I haven't been feeling well. Your son's friend is super cute! :)

    1. Damaris, How are you doing? I hope you're feeling lot better. I wish I could visit you in Brazil but all our money was spent on this remodeling project. Thank you for your comment and really good hear from you. We miss you all.

  3. The kitchen is beautiful! I'm going to miss the porta potty and blue garbage dumpster....they have become great fixtures here in the cul-de-sac;-)

    1. Ha ha ha ha! Thank you for putting up for us. I really enjoy the happy sound of your children playing outside.

  4. the kitchen is looking AWESOME!!!

  5. もんじゃ焼きの歴史、知りませんでした。お好み焼きばかりで、実はもんじゃ焼き食べたことないんです・・・。関東出身なのに、珍しいかも?美味しそう、私ソース好きなので、ソースかけて食べる食べ物大好きです。息子さんのお友達も大満足だったでしょう!それから、漫画、面白そう・・・。高校以来漫画読んでないので懐かしい。はまるんですよね、私育児も主婦もほったらかしで読みふけりそうです。私の夢の白いキッチン!主人に言ったら汚れるから無理って言われましたー。まぁ小さい子供いるし、汚い手で触られること考えたらちょっとぞっとしますが(笑)。

    1. なみちゃん、お帰りなさい。 楽しかった? もちろんだよねえ。この漫画は最高におもしろいよ。同じ作家のニコニコ日記もお薦めです。私もこの歳でかなり漫画にはまってます。コメントありがとう!

  6. a very interesting dish! And congrats on the kitchen. it's beautiful!

  7. Thank you Anh. I'm so glad kitchen project is over.

  8. I am soooo jealous of your gas stove top. It looks awesome.

    1. Mariko, You should come here soon to see the transformation.
      You must bring your children-requirement.