One of the best decisions I made this year was signing up to share a CSA, with my good friend Liz. At first I was hesitant. What if I can't use up all the vegetables, what if I don't know how to cook them, is it a good value? were all questions that I had when deciding whether or not to sign up. But then I just did it. And I don't regret it, at least not yet.
This week's CSA bounty coordinated perfectly to a recipe I've been wanting to try for a while: Japanese vegetable pancakes. Almost like a fritter or latke but with cabbage, this treat is so easy to make and crunchy, savory, and sweet. It's perfect for summer and was surprisingly easy to make. The hardest part was washing and slicing all of the vegetables. Try it, it's wonderful!
Makes 6-8 pancakes:
- 1/3 small head green cabbage
- 2 medium carrots, julienned or shredded
- 5 kale or hearty green leaves, also julienned
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 5 eggs beaten
- apprx. 1/3 cup flour*
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
Additional optional ingredients:
- sesame seeds for topping
- fried, sunny side up egg
- kewpie mayonnaise
- bonito flakes
*I used all purpose but whole wheat is a definite substitute here and I suppose, for those who are gluten free, you could use rice, quinoa, or sorghum flour.
First, prepare all your vegetables. thinly julienne the cabbage, carrots, and kale. Feel free to use any other greens as well. Throw them into a big mixing bowl. Toss them with the 1/3 cup of flour so that each piece is nicely coated. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, soy sauce, salt, and scallions. Beat them so that they're nicely mixed, and then pour over the vegetables. Using tongs or your hands, mix them around so that everything is nicely incorporated. The consistency of the mixture should look like this:
The batter will be slightly yellow-ish due to the egg. Each piece is coated and wet, just short of dripping.
Next, heat up your pan with about 1/2 cm of oil at the bottom, over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, use your hands to glop a fist-sized piece onto the pan. Using the bottom of your spatula, press the pieces down to flatten them a bit. When the bottom is dark golden brown, about 4 minutes in, flip them over. Continue to cook for another 4 minutes. Transfer them to a plate and serve immediately. (If not serving them immediately, lay them out on a baking sheet and keep them in a warm 200 degree oven until ready to serve).
I would highly recommend topping them with at least some sriracha, if not a gooey runny egg. Traditionally, these are topped with bonito flakes, nori, and kewpie mayo, but feel free to customize to your liking. Add additionally chopped scallions as well. This is actually two pancakes stacked on top of each other. It really just looks like a veggie nest, no?
Put an egg on it!