I was reading this post about Your Vegan Mom's obsession with okonomiyaki, Japanese vegetable pancakes, and her obsession soon became mine. All I could think about were those darn pancakes. I actually had the cookbook they were from, and had even reviewed it on this blog last October , so I fetched it from the cookbook shelf and got to cooking. "Japanese Cooking, Contemporary & Traditional" by Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner is a terrific little cookbook filled with simple but delicious traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes. Everything I've made from it has been wonderful, and the pancakes, from the contemporary everyday favorites section, were no exception.
The batter was thick, white and a little weird, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but the pancakes cooked perfectly on a lightly oiled cast iron skillet. There are five cups of julienned vegetables in the mix, though it's hard to tell that from the photos. I used two cups of Chinese cabbage, one cup of carrots, one cup of broccoli stems and one cup of onion. I used white whole wheat flour for the okonomiyaki, as it has become my all-purpose flour, and I thought it worked very well. The thick and savory pancakes, served with a little tamari and some hot sauce, were absolutely delicious, and I will certainly be making them again soon.
The recipe says it serves six, but I got seven large pancakes, and my husband and I could only comfortably eat one each. It was awfully hard to stop, however, so we split an additional one and put the rest away before we had a chance to eat any more. The pancakes reheated well and were delicious for breakfast the next day. (And the day after.)
Savory vegetable pancakes (okonomiyaki) reprinted with permission
2 cups water
1/4 pound regular tofu
2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry or unbleached white flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 to 5 cups thinly sliced or slivered vegetables: onions, carrot matchsticks, cabbage, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, etc.)
Purée the water and tofu in a blender until smooth. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl, and mix well. Pour in the liquid mixture, and mix lightly. Add the vegetables and mix well to combine.
Cook large pancakes on a lightly oiled skillet or griddle over medium-low heat until browned on both sides. Serve while hot, with soy sauce. (You can also serve plain or with your favorite Japanese-style sauce.)
One of our old favorite quick meals is tofu and kale burritos, which I first made after eating something similar in a restaurant in Santa Fe. The recipe is here. My husband made tostados recently and when I tasted them I recognized the old recipe right away. It's a very easy to make dish with great flavor, and it worked perfectly on corn tortillas.
My son whipped up a batch of English muffins from Vegan Brunch. He loves these, and has now made them three times.
Thoughts on Oprah's vegan for a week experiment The vegan blogs are buzzing with criticism of the way Oprah handled her show about what happened when she and 378 members of her staff went vegan for a week . You've probably encountered at least one blog review of her show. I encourage you to watch the program if you haven't seen it. I was going to spout off my opinion, but Natala of Vegan Hope has said everything I was thinking much more eloquently than I could, so I'll just direct you to her post instead. I certainly agree with all the negative points vegan bloggers have been making; I couldn't help but be disturbed while I watched. But the show wasn't directed towards committed vegans. Oprah knows her audience well, she has the power to influence people, and she probably did more than we know to encourage people to think about what's on their plate.
Some of the recipes I've been testing for Urban Vegan I've been expending a lot of cooking energy on testing recipes for Urban Vegan's newest cookbook. All this testing doesn't leave much time for other food exploits, but I'm not complaining. It's been fun to try so many new recipes.
Spicy tomato lemon dressing
This was so good. We had it as a side dish the first night, then I added sun-dried tomatoes and served the leftovers over brown rice spaghetti.
Golden millet pilaf
I loved this dish so much but my husband and son didn't like it at all. I couldn't understand why.
Island-style tempeh served with rice, roasted veggies and salad