Japanese Vegetable Pancakes [Okonomiyaki] with Bok Choy, Kale and Carrots

Japanese vegetable pancakes are a great way to use the variety of winter veggies in your CSA box. Cut your vegetables very thinly so that they will cook quickly. Baby Bok Choy is also called chinese cabbage so it’s a natural swap for other kinds of cabbage (red, green, cone etc.) Bacon or ham are delicious additions. Pancakes are often sprinkled with bonito flakes, seaweed flakes, pickled ginger, finely slivered scallions or toasted sesame seeds. You can make the pancakes large or small. The small size cook up crispier. Enjoy and experiment with different combinations. Recipe adapted from smittenkitchen.com

Ingredients

Pancakes

  • 1 lb bok choy or 1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 lb or 5 to 6 cups shreds)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 5 lacinato kale or chard leaves, ribs removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 leek or 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or almond flour
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Canola, safflower or peanut oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup fresh herb - cilantro or parsley work well, chopped (optional)

Tangy Sauce

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (note: this is not vegetarian)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine or sake
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or Braggs Amino Acids
  • 1 tablespoon honey (use 2 if you like a sweeter sauce)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger or 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Directions

  1. Make the pancakes: Toss bok choy, carrots, kale, leeks, fresh herb and salt together in a large bowl. Toss mixture with flour so it coats all of the vegetables. Stir in the eggs. Heat a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with oil and heat that too.
  2. To make a large pancake, add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture to the skillet, pressing it out into a 1/2- to 3/4-inch pancake. Gently press the pancake down flat. Cook until the edges begin to brown, about 3 minutes. 30 seconds to 1 minute later, flip the pancake with a large spatula.
  3. To make small pancakes, you can use tongs but I seriously find using my fingers and grabbing little piles, letting a little batter drip back into the bowl, and depositing them in piles on the skillet easier, to form 3 to 4 pancakes. Press down gently with a spatula so they flatten slightly, but no need to spread them much. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the edges brown. Flip the pancakes and cook them again until brown underneath.
  4. Cook on the other side until the edges brown, and then again up to a minute more (you can peek to make sure the color is right underneath).
  5. Regardless of pancake size, you can keep them warm on a tray in the oven at 200 to 250 degrees until needed.
  6. If desired, make okonomiyaki sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.
  7. Serve pancakes with sauce and any of the other fixings listed above, from Japanese mayo to scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
  8. Yield: 4 large pancakes or about 12 small pancakes.
  9. Do ahead: Extra pancakes will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or can be spread on a tray in the freezer until frozen, then combined in a freezer bag to be stored until needed. Reheat on a baking sheet in a hot oven until crisp again.

 

 

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