Japanese Vegetable Pancakes










We’re exited to welcome Pancake Day this week, on Tuesday 4th March. Historically, Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) has marked the beginning of Lent and it was used as a day to indulge in the foods that one might be giving up for the Lent season. We see it as a good time to spring clean the veggie draw and get cooking with some of the season’s best veg. So here’s a recipe for Japanese vegetable pancakes from Smitten Kitchen – a great dish to kick off an evening of pancake eating.

Yield: 4 large or 12 small pancakes

Ingredients: Pancakes
1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds)
4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
5 kale or stir fry leaves, stems removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
4 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Oil for frying

Ingredients: Okonomiyaki Sauce
1/4 cup tomato 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
1 tablespoon honey (use 2 if you like a sweeter sauce)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions: Pancakes

Toss cabbage, carrot, kale, spring onions 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.

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. (If this is terrifying, you can first slide the pancake onto a plate, and, using potholders, reverse it back into the hot skillet). 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).

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 to 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.

Regardless of pancake size, you can keep them warm on a tray in the oven at 200 to 250 degrees until needed.

Directions: Okonomiyaki Sauce

Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.

Serve pancakes with sauce and any of the other fixings listed above, from Japanese mayo to scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Good to know: 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.