It’s not easy to find the time to cook properly in amongst my hours for university. Lunch is pretty easy, since most of my classes are in the evening, but that does make dinner a bit of a pain when I don’t get home until after 8, even 9 on Tuesdays.
Even more annoyingly (for me), it makes trying to make recipes that are recipe-photography-worthy nearly impossible since of course the sun makes its exit around 5 o’clock and then it’s pitch black. I’ve become pretty strict with myself with the whole natural-light-is-a-must, because nothing else quite compares in my opinion, particularly with the artificial lighting I have at my disposal (and budget). That’s why lunch these days has become my recent labour of love, which feels a little strange to me still considering I used to just fry up some dumplings from the freezer last year (oh, the benefits of having a Korean superstore really close to campus!) or even just skipping lunch altogether.
This, like the shakshuka before it, is a very versatile recipe. Okonomiyaki is what I consider the Japanese version of a Swedish flaskpannkaka of my childhood, whereby a pancake is fleshed out to make a more considerable meal by adding various veg and cooked meats. This version uses carrots, leeks, and kale, fried in a pancake batter and cooked until crisp, before being coated in hoisin sauce and a soy + chilli dressing (though I wish I had had siracha chilli sauce at the time, instead of hoisin–next time). Even just soy sauce would be great.
The end result? A delicious, filling, healthy start to the day (or for lunch, or dinner).
Serves 1 as a very filling meal, or 2 for a lighter breakfast-lunch.
100g of plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 large handfuls of kale, shredded (your choice–I chose cavolo nero, my new favourite)
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large leek, thinly sliced and rinsed
oil to cook (coconut oil, olive, etc)
1tsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
parsley to garnish
hoisin sauce or siracha sauce to drizzle over (optional)
Gently boil the carrots for a little while, about five minutes or so and drain. They should still be crunchy. Mix together the carrots, kale, leeks, flour and eggs together in a large bowl. It should look a little like you’re trying to make tempura out of vegetables.
Make the dressing by combining the sesame oil, soy sauce and chilli flakes. Set aside.
Heat up a large pan with a little oil (see above), and rotate the pan around to ensure the oil coats the pan. Spoon the batter into the frying pan, pressing it down to form a large pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes on one side, then flip over and repeat again. Do this entire step once more, or until the okonomiyaki becomes crisp and golden on the outside, but still fluffy inside. Serve on a large plate, and drizzle over the dressing, and top with your chosen sauce is using, and parsley to garnish. Eat whilst still warm.