Monday, February 15, 2021

Napa Cabbage Okonomiyaki

I was first exposed to okonomiyaki through a Latin American restaurant in town, ASADA, which offers "Okonomiyaki À La Latin" on their Saturday brunch menu. In their treatment, this Japanese savory pancake was combined with avocado, chipotle, and meats prepared the Latin American way. It was delicious! When the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club had a pancake challenge from East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing by Meera Sodha, I was drawn in to the Napa Cabbage Okonomiyaki. I do not know how traditional this okonomiyaki is either, does it usually have this kind of cabbage? Is it usually vegetarian? But since I only had the fusion version to compare it to, I will just have to consider it delicious. This was a fast and easy lunch for two.

Overhead view of an okonomiyaki drizzled with brown and white sauces.

Napa Cabbage Okonomiyaki

Makes 2 pancakes (to serve 2)

For the okonomiyaki

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
[2/3 cup water]
4 cups shredded Napa cabbage*
6 green onions, finely chopped, greens and whites separted
2 tbsp canola oil

For the okonomiyaki sauce

2 1/2 tbsp ketchup
2 1/2 tbsp A1 sauce
2 1/2 tbsp date syrup*

To serve

crispy fried onions* (storebought, or as Deb suggested, some friend shallots would work)

Whisk the flour, salt, eggs, and 2/3 cup water together with a fork in a mixing bowl until there are no lumps and you have a smooth batter. Add the cabbage and the green onion whites, and mix well to coat all the vegetables. Now make the okonomiyaki sauce: put the ketchup, A1 sauce, and date syrup into a small bowl and mix well.

To cook the okonomiyaki, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan over a medium-high flame.* Add half the batter to the pan and flatten it with a spoon or spatula to help it into a circular pancake around 1-inch deep. Cook the first side for 3-4 minutes. You should see hte scraps of cabbage and batter at the edges of the pancake starting to brown and crisp. If it is browning too fast, turn down the heat a little. When it's ready, turn the okonomiyaki with a spatula for the other side for a further 3 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and repeat with the second half of the batter.

To serve, crisss-cross the surface of the okonomiyaki with the sauce and some mayonnaise, then liberally top with crispy onions and the reserved green onions.

Notes from JennyBakes:

-I added the water to the ingredient list because I'm bound to forget it if it isn't listed.
-4 cups shredded Napa cabbage is probably not even going to be half of one Napa cabbage. It would be a mistake to use more than what is called for because the batter will never cover it. I also ended up wishing I had sliced it a little thinner closer to the root.
-I had date syrup because of my year of Middle Eastern cooking and baking, but you might not. I think molasses or sorghum or honey or maple would all work but all taste a bit different.
-I thought I had crispy onions when I started making these but discovered I was wrong. I do believe this edition would have elevated mine okonomiyaki!
-I found medium-high to be too hot, but I have an electric stovetop.

More cookbook thoughts:


-This is going to go on my wishlist! I got it from the library.
-The only recipe I've tried so far is the Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream, which was great sandwiched between crispy chocolate chip cookies.

Other dishes I want to try include:

 -Mushroom Bao
-Rutabaga Laksa
-Peanut butter and broccolini pad thai
-Winter miso ramen
-Sri Lankan Beet Curry
-Beet & Yogurt Rice
-Winter Pilau
-Egg Tamago Rolls
-Bombay Rolls
-Black Dal
-Milli's Matcha Roll Cake

Speaking of pancakes (since crepes are part pancake) -

Like pancakes? I seem to make them from around the world! Check out the Khobz Al-jbab from the Arabian peninsula,  Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakeskauk moto from Myanmar, the Danish ebleskiver, the Hungarian palacsintas, the Kaiserschmarrn or "Emperor's Mess" from Austria, the Swedish pancakes from Alaska, and what we call the German oven apple pancake. Some pancakes seem like they might be from other places, like these Crepes with Roasted Bananas and Barbados Cream. I also made ratio pancakes from Michael Ruhlman's book, which we can call American. I've made several more American pancakes, like the recipe from Rosa Parks held by the National Archives, another variation on lemon ricotta pancakes. Pancakes can also be savory, like scallion pancakes from China (also called cong you bing) or the Onoyomiyaki from Japan.

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