As You Like It: Okonomiyaki

It’s officially April but the last couple days have been filled with showers. But like all things, it’ll come to an end and as the rain starts to taper and warmer days come, we’ll be seeing more flowers come May! But, while we’re still in this colder, wet weather… I’m sneaking in another cabbage recipe before the season is over!

The Okonomiyaki is commonly known as a Japanese ‘savoury cabbage pancake’ complimented with a Worcestershire sauce. It is a reminder of home-cooking, a taste of mom per say. However, it did not always use cabbage. It is thought that the ancestral version was a sweet dessert, which was followed by a leek-based savoury version. Eventually, leeks were replaced by a cheaper, more abundant vegetable: cabbage – and ‘Okonomiyaki’ got its name: ‘Okonomi’ meaning ‘what you want’ and ‘yaki’ being ‘grilled’. There is another reason why the Okonomiyaki is popular among the streets of Japan – it can be prepared easily with leftovers from the fridge and is perfect for enjoying with friends and family. The thing I love most about this dish is the simplicity, the versatility to make it whatever you like and the sensorial experience. The key is having a grill or a cast iron pan (a round pan works as well but you may need to cook for longer times as the cast iron would hold heat better). So here it is, enjoy the sizzle of the batter in the pan, the aroma of grill filling the kitchen and have fun with the toppings!

Okonomiyaki

MAKES: 4 x large pancakes  (~9-12”)
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REPARATION TIME: 30 MINUTES. COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES.
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EQUIPMENT: Cast Iron Skillet, Measuring Cup and Spoons, Large Mixing Bowls

Ingredients

  • 4 Extra Large Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp (15mL) Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) Water
  • 1 cup (250mL) Whole Wheat All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp (7.5mL) Baking Powder
  • 4-5 Cups Finely Shredded Green Cabbage (approximately half a head)
  • 1 Carrot, Grated
  • 3 Green Onions, Sliced
  • Oil to coat the pan for frying
    Okonomiyaki Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Method

  1. Vegetable medley: Thinly slice or shred the cabbage. Using a large-hold grater, add in carrots. Sprinkle in green onions and set aside.
  2. To prepare the batter: combine flour and baking powder. Whisk in eggs, soy sauce, sesame oil and water until a batter is formed.
  3. Add chopped vegetables to the batter and mix until well combined.
  4. In a large iron skillet (or pan), heat vegetable oil on medium heat. Once heated, spread the batter in a circle on the pan.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes and flip once bottom has browned.
  5. Gently press the ‘Okonomiyaki’ to fix the shape and keep the pancake together. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Flip over again as needed to cook uncovered until both sides are golden.
  7. Top with Japanese mayonnaise and ‘Okonomiyaki’ Sauce or easily make your own with sugar, soy sauce,  ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.
  8. You can also add other toppings such as cheese, pickled red ginger or Aonori (dried green seaweed) …. after all, the idea is to make it your own!
  9. Serve hot in the griddle or allow to cool before toppings added, wrap in aluminum foil and store in a freezer bag for use within the next 2-3 weeks.
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Nutritional Facts

Per Serving (1 Okonomiyaki pancake, without toppings)

Calories: 260  kcal
Fat:  10 g
Carbohydrates: 29 g
Fiber: 5 g
(Net Carbohydrate: 14 g)
Protein: 13 g

A source of:

2.5 servings of ‘Vegetables’ as per Canada’s Food Guide
1.5 servings of grain products
Half a serving of meat and alternative
potassium
Vitamin A
Folate
Calcium
Carbohydrate
Protein
Fibre

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