Introduction: Zucchini Okonomiyaki (Japanese Fried Vegetable Pancake)

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Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake traditionally made with cabbage, but can be made with a variety of other vegetables. Zucchini works very well, and this recipe uses a considerable amount of fresh zucchini without being overwhelming. Okonomiyaki is enjoyed with many, many toppings including: bacon, corn, sesame seeds, scallions, pickled ginger, nori (dried seaweed), shrimp, bonito flakes (simmered, smoked and fermented tuna) and of course mayo and okonomiyaki sauce. The name "Okonomiyaki" translates to "as you like it"; that is to say that you can make it to suit your tastes. If you'd like to save some okonomiyaki for later, freezing it works very well and unless too oily, they can be thawed and then reheated in a toaster.


For the pancakes:

- 2 cups zucchini, peeled, deseeded, shredded (1 large zucchini)

- 1 carrot, peeled and shredded

- 1 Tbsp. salt

- 1/3 cup onion, diced (about 1/2 of a small one)

- 1 egg, lightly beaten

- 1 Tbsp. water

- 1/3 cup flour

- 1/2 tsp. baking powder

- oil for frying

For the sauce:

- 2 Tbsp. ketchup

- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Popular Toppings:

- mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce (above), bacon, corn, sesame seeds, scallions, pickled ginger, nori, shrimp, bonito flakes

Step 1: Prepping the Vegetables

In a cheese cloth lined strainer, mix the carrot, zucchini, and salt. Twist into a ball, Let sit for about 5 minutes over a bowl. Squeeze out all the juices (don't save the juices), rinse out the salt and squeeze out again.

Step 2: Get'n It Together

In a medium sized bowl, put chopped onion, water, lightly beaten egg, flour, baking powder, and the zucchini/carrot mixture. Stir all together.

Step 3: Fry

On medium heat preheat the oil (2 Tbsp. for an 8 in. pan). Make sure it's very hot (350F) otherwise your okonomiyaki will absorb the oil and be soggy. (Test the hotness by dropping a tiny bit of batter into the pan; if the oil sizzles like crazy, fry on!) Form batter into 1/4 cup patties. While frying, spread out the patties on the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch thick. Fry until both sides are nice and golden. (About a minute for each side.) Right after frying, put a paper towel in between each pancake to absorb any extra oil. Fry one at a time, topping off the oil, then letting it heat up, in between each one.

Step 4: Okonomiyaki Sauce

Whisk Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and ketchup in a small bowl.

Step 5: The Last Details

Gather and prepare (as in a small buffet) the assorted optional toppings. Spoon and spread the sauce onto okonomiyaki. To top with mayonnaise, put a few tablespoons of mayo in a plastic sandwich bag, snip a small hole in it's corner and drizzle over the okonomiyaki pancake. (Tip: Many Asian markets, as well as very large grocery stores, carry Kewpie sauce, which is basically Asian mayonnaise; it also usually comes in a convenient squirt bottle.) Sprinkle with toppings as you like it! Itadakimasu!

Step 6: In Recipe Form

For the pancakes:

-2 cups zucchini peeled, deseeded, shredded (1 large zucchini),

-1 carrot peeled and shredded,

-1 Tbs. salt,

-1/2 of a small onion, diced,

-1 egg lightly beaten,

-1 Tbs. water,

-1/3 cup flour,

-1/2 tsp. baking powder

-oil for frying

stir the salt, the shredded zucchini, and carrot in a cheese cloth. Drain for 5min., rinse out salt. Drain again. In medium bowl mix all the above ingredients and fry in 1/4 cup patties serve with okonomiyaki sauce and mayo or as you like.

For the sauce:
-2 Tbs. ketchup

-1 Tbs. soy sauce

-1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

mix all together, spoon onto okonomiyaki, drizzle with mayo, add your toppings and enjoy!

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