This Japanese savoury pancake recipe comes from Cornersmith chef Tutu. It’s a take on okonomiyaki and is a staple on our cafe menu and a favourite for us at home. ‘Okonomi’ roughly translates to ‘as you like it’, making this the perfect master recipe to swap in and out what you like or what you need to use up!
- 400 g (14 oz) cabbage, very thinly sliced, preferably on a mandoline
- 200 g (7 oz) thinly sliced or grated veg, such as leeks (white and green parts), onion, carrot, potato, zucchini (courgette) (squeezed dry),kimchi (squeezed dry)
- 1⅓ cups (200 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp good quality vegetable oil
- Quick pickled ginger, to serve (see Notes)
- Slaw of your choice, to serve (see Notes)
- Sweet and sour sauce, such as teriyaki, to serve
- Mayonnaise, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Combine the cabbage and thinly sliced veg in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs and 160 ml (5¼ fl oz) water. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine, then gradually fold the sliced vegetables through the batter; the mixture will loosen as you mix.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Working in batches, scoop ½ cup portions of batter into the pan and flatten to 10 cm (4 inch) pancakes. Fry the pancakes for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked through.
3. Serve with pickled ginger, a fresh slaw, a sweet and sour sauce of your choice and a little mayonnaise.
• Making slaw: Think of this recipe as a guide to combining seasonal vegetables that are already in your fridge, nuts or seeds that are in the pantry, herbs from the garden and delicious dressings using ingredients you already have. The key is to cut your vegetables into similar sizes and shapes. A mandoline or sharp knife will give a mix of lovely, thinly shaved vegetables; a vegetable peeler is great for ribbons; use a box grater for root vegetables; or chop your veggies into thin batons, which takes a little longer to prep, but the results are well worth it.
To make slaw to serve four, take ¼ small green or red cabbage (about 200 g/7 oz), thinly sliced; 1 cup (100 g) thinly sliced seasonal vegetables (e.g. brussels sprouts, fennel, kale, wombok); 1 cup (100 g) thinly sliced very crunchy vegetables or fruit (e.g. snow peas, sweetcorn, green beans, celery, radish, carrot, apple, pear); 1 bunch soft herb leaves (e.g. dill, coriander, parsley); and a large handful of toasted nuts or seeds.Place the cabbage, vegetables and fruit in a salad bowl and gently mix to combine. Drizzle over the dressing (see below) and scatter the herbs and nuts or seeds over the top. Mix again and serve immediately.
•A classic slaw dressing couldn’t be simpler. All you need is 3 tablespoons oil (a mix of olive and good-quality vegetable oil); 1 tablespoon of something acidic, such as lemon juice, red or white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or left-over pickling brine; 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard; a good pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper; and a dash of something sweet to balance everything, such as a pinch of sugar, honey, maple syrup or marmalade. For a creamy slaw, add 1–2 tablespoons natural yoghurt, tahini or mayonnaise. For a spicy slaw, leave out the mustard and add chilli paste or hot sauce, 1 crushed garlic clove or 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger.
At Cornersmith we don’t buy imported ingredients or sauces, which forces the chefs to get creative in the kitchen. Tutu reduces left-over pickling brine into a thick sweet and sour syrup, which the chefs use as the sauce to drizzle over the okonomiyaki. To try this at home, pour your strained pickle brine into a small saucepan and simmer until it reduces by half and thickens. Taste, add a little sugar or salt if it needs it, then pour into a clean jar. Store in the fridge for pretty much forever.
Recipe and image from Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards, photography by Cath Muscat. (Murdoch Books, $39.99)