Monjayaki use a dough made from flour and water, and ingredients such as vegetables, meat, and seafood. It is cooked on a hot iron plate, and the texture is pasty. The ingredients and sauce are all mixed together before it is cooked.
When monjayaki is cooked, ingredients are usually made into a doughnut shape, and then the dough is poured in the middle. They will be mixed well, and spread thinly on the plate. When the edge become crispy, it is the right time to eat.
The way to eat monjayaki is to use a small spatula to scoop the dough, and press it on the hot plate. The side that is pressed is crispy, and the other side is soft.
Monjayaki appeared in the Meiji period (1868-1912). When monjayaki was cooked on a hot plate, people drew letters with the ingredients on the plate. Letter in Japanese is “moji,” and the food was first called “moji-yaki.” Then the word “moji-yaki” turned into monjayaki.
Most smalltime candy shops in Tokyo, back in the middle of the Showa period (1926-1989), had iron plates to cook monjya-yaki. So, Monjya-yaki used to be popular among kids back then. Nowadays, there are hardly any smalltime candy shops left, and kids don’t have much chance to eat monjayaki.
After World War II, there weren’t much supplies to cook food, so monjayaki only used knead dough and water. In the 1950’s, people started to use many different ingredients such as cabbage, green onion, and squid.
Monjayaki is now popular among tourists who visit Asakusa area in Tokyo, where monjayaki restaurants are gathered. If you have a chance to visit the area, you should definitely try monjayaki.