Japanese Pancake (Okonomiyaki)

A guest recipe by Andrew Weil, MD

Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake (okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “grilled” or “cooked”) made with cabbage and other vegetables and a variety of seafood and meats. In Japan it’s popular street food and is also served in restaurants, some of which let diners choose ingredients and cook the mixture on a personal hot plate. Too often, okonomiyaki is smothered with a thick, sweet sauce.  I prefer this version with a miso mayo topping.  I think you’ll find it to be a great comfort food, either as a starter or main course.

Makes 2, 6-inch pancakes
Serves 4, as appetizers

4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
½ cup peeled and grated sweet potato
5 thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (reserve some tops for garnish)
4 ounces uncooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup all purpose flour or a gluten-free flour
2 large organic eggs
¼ cup water or dashi
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, divided

Miso Mayo

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1½ teaspoons white (shiro) miso
1½ teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

To make the miso mayo, combine all the ingredients, mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, shrimp and salt, then mix to combine.

In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, water or dashi, tamari, rice vinegar, sriracha sauce and toasted sesame oil. Add the cabbage mixture to the batter and stir to combine.

Heat the oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Scoop half the mixture into center of pan and flatten evenly out to the edges, about ½-inch thick. Give the entire surface a few presses with a wide spatula, cover, and cook undisturbed for 5 to 6 minutes. Carefully turn over the pancake when it has a nice gold color and slides easily in the pan. Cook the other side, uncovered, for another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove  the pancake to a plate. Add remaining teaspoon of oil and repeat with the remaining batter.

Cut into wedges (with sharp knife or pizza cutter) and serve with a drizzle of Miso Mayo. Garnish generously with scallions.

Reprinted with permission from Andrew Weil, MD, Fast Food, Good Food: More Than 150 Quick and Easy Ways to Put Healthy, Delicious Food on the Table. Copyright © 2015 by Andrew Weil, Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. New York, NY.