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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Japanese Vegetable Pancakes

One of our refrigerator drawers has turned into a carrot science experiment - like a wacky one. Some carrots have sprouted roots, buds, and other unrecognizable growths. I have been stock piling root vegetables all winter and it is pretty obvious they have to be eaten fast. I can't bear another carrot stick so I decided to try something new - Japanese Vegetable Pancakes. Happily, they turned out delicious and are something I will make again. The batter is eggy and light, almost like a tempura, and the vegetables hold a slight crunch.

We also spontaneously planted a few pots of vegetables this year (not carrots) and are having fun watching them sprout flowers and tiny vegetables. If you have children at home who are interested in food and gardening I highly recommend How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?:The Story of Food (thanks Leah!). It's a cute and approachable story about where food comes from. 

Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
makes about a dozen
from Smitten Kitchen

For the Pancakes:
1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds) which will be easiest on a mandoline if you have one
4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
5 lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Canola oil for frying

For the 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
1 tablespoon honey (use 2 if you like a sweeter sauce)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

To Make the Pancakes: Toss cabbage, carrot, kale, scallions 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.

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 beging to brown, about 3 minutes. 30 seconds to 1 minute later, flip the pancake with a large spatula. Cook on the other side until the edges brown, and then again up to a minute more. You can keep them warm on a tray in the oven at 200 to 250 degrees until needed.

To Make the 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 other fixings from scallions to toasted sesame seeds.


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