I love pancakes! And every culture seems to have their own style of pancake. "Okonomiyaki" is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked".  It's a very popular dish throughout Japan, where ingredients and styles will vary by region. I love cooking these because it's a great way to use up any type of roots and hardy greens. I also grew up on latkes, so these are very reminiscent.

This recipe originally comes from Smitten Kitchen. I've simplified it below.

Pancakes (Makes 4 large or 12+ small)

  • 1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds) 
  • 4 root vegetables, grated or peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 5 lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons (use scissors for precision!)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free flour works too)
  • 4-6 large eggs, lightly beaten (flax eggs works too)
  • Canola, safflower or peanut oil for frying

Toss cabbage, roots, kale 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.

Serve with any kind of sauce! I like mixing up mustard and soy.