The Japanese dish okonomiyaki suggests the improbably perfect offspring of a hearty winter salad and a pancake. It’s also an ideal dish when cooking a quick, healthy dinner for one (although that shouldn’t stop you from cooking it for a crowd, too!) One of the fundamental principles of an anti-inflammatory eating plan is consuming lots of colorful veggies, and this is a delicious way to do so. Okonomiyaki was one of my go-to weeknight dinners back before I gave up gluten, so I have been determined to create a version I can still enjoy. Okonomiyaki is usually made with wheat flour, but my gluten free version uses a blend of cassava and coconut flours to get just the right texture without any grains at all, gluten-containing or otherwise.
Okonomiyaki is traditionally served with Japanese-style mayo and tonkatsu sauce, the latter of which is, in my opinion, one of the best condiments in world cuisine, right up there with Trinbagonian green seasoning. Most bottled tonkatsu sauce is not gluten-free, so I make my own using an easy, shorthand recipe from Serious Eats. To ensure this sauce recipe turns out gluten-free, make sure to pick a gluten-free soy sauce, like San-J, and a gluten-free worcestershire sauce, like Lea & Perrins. I also use a ketchup free of high-fructose corn syrup, which is pro-inflammatory.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Okonomiyaki
2 to 2 1/2 cups of shredded vegetables
(such as cabbage, carrots, kale, scallions, leeks, zucchini, and/or squash)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cassava (or tapioca) flour
2 tsp coconut flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp grapeseed oil
Use a mandoline to easily shred cabbage, and a vegetable peeler for carrots, zucchini, or hard squash like butternut. A shredding disk on a food processor would work well, too. The fine shredding is important to this dish turning out properly.
In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the salt and flours. Toss this dry mixture with the vegetables until they are evenly dusted. Beat together the two eggs, and pour over the flour-dusted shredded vegetables. Toss mixture until evenly coated.
Heat oil in a 10-inch frying pan over medium heat. Pour the okonomiyaki mixture into the pan and shape the mixture into a large pancake with a fork or spatula, pressing it flat. Cook for 3 minutes, flip with a large spatula, and cook another 3 minutes on the second side. Serve immediately with tonkatsu sauce or the condiment of your choice. One large pancake makes two appetizer portions or one entree.