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When we make okonomiyaki, for example, the base ingredient is the mix of cabbage, dough and eggs. There are many okonomiyaki topping but the base ingredient is the same.

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My question is

What do Japanese call the base ingredients?

  • I heard someone called it "dai" but I don't know it exactly. – Money Oriented Programmer Jan 12 '16 at 17:49
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    「基本材料」(きほんざいりょう) - Standard / Base Ingredients (?) It's like saying all pizza has dough as a 'base'; I'm not sure there is a word for that. A word like the English 'stock' comes to mind but 出汁(だし) only refers to soup stock. – red_shift Jan 12 '16 at 17:59
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The "dough" part of okonomiyaki is called (お好み焼きの)生地【きじ】. 生地 basically refers to the paste made by mixing flour and water. 生地 is also used for bread, doughnuts, pizza, udon, spaghetti, etc.

According to Wikipedia:

水に溶いた小麦粉を生地として、野菜、肉、魚介類などを具材とし、鉄板の上で焼き上げ、ソース・マヨネーズ・青のり等の調味料をつけて食するもの

Strictly speaking, 生地 only refers to the flour and water part. At least in Tokyo, cabbage, ginger and eggs are mixed with the flour (rather than being topped) as the "base ingredient", but I think it's still safely called 生地 as a whole (see this recipe).

In everyday conversations, 土台【どだい】 or ベース can also refer to the same "base" part of okonomiyaki. These words just mean "base".

If you're looking for a broader term which can be used for any dishes that can be topped (ice cream, ramen, hot dogs, curry and rice...), the ベース (noun) or プレーン (na-adjective) would refer to the "plain" one. プレーンなお好み焼き would mean okonomiyaki without any fillings.

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「[基本食材]{きほんしょくざい}」 or 「基本[材料]{ざいりょう}」 would do regardless of the dish.

The word "dai" that you mentioned in the comment would be 「[台]{だい}」, which refers to the crust part of okonomiyaki, pizza, etc. Since you included cabbage, however, I would not use 「台」 for an answer to your question. 「台」 is just flour and water, basically.

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