Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake, filled with cabbage or kimchi and sometimes both. They are topped with a varied assortment of roast meats or seafood and garnished, traditionally with a flourish of okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, katsuobushi, seaweed and sesame seeds.
We have a surprisingly fussy eater, yet the man cub loves these wild garlic okonomiyaki pancakes even though they are full to the brim with shredded cabbage. The sweetness from the okonomiyaki sauce and the additional toppings seems to hide the cabbage well. Try it with your little ones, you may be surprised to see just how much cabbage they will eat.
We’ve mixed things up a little and replaced seaweed for umami rich dried wild garlic leaves. It’s super easy to dry out the wild garlic leaves at home, just give them a really good wash and a dry in a salad spinner. Either dry them in a super low oven or a dehydrator until completely dry, once dry crumble them into an airtight jar and they should last you until the following year’s season.
Katsuobushi is an optional ingredient but one your little ones will marvel at, as the heat from the pancakes makes them dance and move with a mind of their own. Katsuobushi is made from fermented and smoked skipjack tuna, sometimes referred to as bonito flakes – and available from most asian supermarkets. Mixed with kombu (dried kelp flakes) it creates a broth called dashi, which is the base to so many soups, stocks and sauces in Japanese cuisine.
300g self raising flour
350g winter greens – cabbage, kale or broccoli – finely shredded
2 tbsp dried wild garlic leaves or a small handful fresh wild garlic, finely chopped
A good drizzle of rapeseed oil
2 tbsp honey or caster sugar
2 tsp ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp soy sauce
400g leftover roast meat, optional (we used shredded chicken mixed with a little of the okonomiyaki sauce)
6-8 tbsp mayonnaise, placed into a piping bag or squeezy bottle.
2 tbsp dried wild garlic leaves or seaweed flakes
2 tbsp wild garlic seed capers or pickled ginger
1 tsp black sesame seeds
2-3 tbsp katsuobushi flakes, optional
2 spring onions, finely sliced and soaked in ice cold water
Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir through the wild garlic – dried or fresh. Crack in the eggs and whisk together with the water until it forms a nice smooth batter.
Stir through the finely shredded greens and set the batter aside whilst you make the okonomiyaki sauce.
Make the okonomiyaki sauce – by whisking all the ingredients together until well combined, making sure the sugar dissolves.
Rake out the coals of your fire so that you have a nice bed of embers. Place the grill rack on to your pit, followed by two cast iron skillets. Allow the skillet to warm over a medium heat. Once warm, pour in a good drizzle of rapeseed oil.
Place a quarter of the mix into each skillet, allow to cook until golden underneath and the batter is just beginning to set. Flip the okonomiyaki and cook through for a couple more minutes.
Once the pancake is cooked through, remove to a plate or serving board and brush liberally with the okonomiyaki sauce. Repeat with the second round of pancake mix.
Drizzle over a ¼ of the mayonnaise followed by some of the leftover roast meat.
Scatter each okonomiyaki with dried wild garlic leaves, wild garlic seed capers, sesame seeds, spring onions and the katsuobushi if you’re using them.
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