Known for their dense-leafed heads in hues of green and purplish red, cabbages are a hardy member of the wide ranging brassica family. They are one of the oldest known vegetables, descendants of wilder versions which were likely cultivated around 4000 BC. Cabbage has been viewed throughout history as peasant food, but they're highly rich in nutrients and can take on many forms; steamed, pickled, stewed, braised, served raw, fermented, sautèed. Of the two colours, red cabbage is the nutrient heavy weight, with 10 times the vitamins, cancer fighting flavonoids, and antioxidants.
I feel as though cabbage is sort of the underdog, and in this race, I'm cheering it on. I love its crunch, its flavour, how it holds up while more fragile options wilt quickly in my fridge. I also tend to liberally add vegetables to most dishes, including and not limited to pancakes (refer to my Carrot Cake Pancake recipe if you're curious).
Enter okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake, already loaded with cabbage and other vegetables that are bound by a bit of flour and egg. The name is derived from 'okonomi', meaning 'what you like' or 'what you want', in reference to the many ways and combinations: various vegetables; meat or seafood; frittata thick or thin and crispy; large or small. I like mine heavy on the vegetable side, with crispy edges and dunked in umami dipping sauces. They're fast, filling, and absolutely delectable. Seriously- there's a reason I pull out my extra large bowl and make a massive batch of these goodies.
6 cups Cabbage, thinly shredded
2-3 cups Kale/Silverbeet/Beet Greens, sliced into thin ribbons
4 Carrots, shredded
3 ribs Celery, thinly sliced
5 Spring Onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
3/4 cup Flour (I used wholemeal spelt; you could use an all purpose, or for GF a rice flour)
5 Eggs, lightly beaten
Coconut Oil or Ghee, for pan
Optional Toppings- Toasted Sesame Seeds, Nori, Tamari or Soy Sauce, Sliced Radish, Homemade Mayo, Hot Sauce
The How To:
Toss all the vegetables together in a large bowl. (I take a minute and quickly massage them, making them easier to form into pancakes, but you can totally skip this step.) Add flour and salt, and lightly toss, coating all the veg in a thin layer of flour. Add eggs and mix.
Heat a generous spoonful of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Scoop about 1/4 cup of mixture into the pan and gently flatten. Don't worry too much, they'll bind together as they cook. Fry each side for about 3 minutes, flipping them in between, until golden brown.
Serve hot with nori bits, sesame seeds, spring onions, tamari dipping sauce, the traditional zig-zag of mayo, or even a ginger peanut dip (head into the recipes archives, I wrote one up a while ago).