Okonomi-what???

When I was a teenager, I spent a bunch of time in Osaka, Japan, home of the okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake that is mixed with vegetables and proteins and grilled. In fact, you can go to okonomiyaki restaurants where you order the ingredients and then griddle it yourself, like a pancake version of a hot pot restaurant.

However, this recipe is not based on that traditional style of okonomiyaki. Instead, it’s inspired by a recipe that became a family staple, the tofu okonomiyaki recipe I found in Chatelaine magazine years back.

I wanted to make a fully vegan version, so I looked to protein-rich chickpea flour. I also played with the texture, baking in a smaller cast-iron pan to create fluffy, moist almost cake-like okonomyaki.

It has minimal chopping and comes together easily, so it’s great for a harried workday when you don’t feel like a big production for dinner. I love the addition of smoked tofu, as it is super flavourful, with a ‘meaty’ texture. If you’re wondering whether tofu is good for you (because, the internet) we break down the health benefits of tofu here.

Consider this a Japanese-inspired version of your everyday frittata. It’s super high protein and fibre to fill you up. Leftovers make a great sandwich filling too, with some quick pickled carrot ribbons.

Even though it’s already packed with veggies, it is wonderful served with a side of roasted broccoli or stir-fried greens. I know that this recipe will seem a little out there, but it’s SO good! So if you try it, please share your creations with me on Instagram.

Vegan Chickpea Flour Okonomiyaki

Serves Six
Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nut free, Vegan, Vegetarian

1 ½ cups (375ml) chickpea flour
½ cup (125ml) brown rice flour
3 tablespoons (45ml) ground flax
3 tablespoons (45ml) avocado or melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon (15ml) dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons (10ml) shiro (white) miso paste
1 1/4 teaspoons (6ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5ml) cane sugar
2 cups (500ml) water

397 g coleslaw mix (about 6 cups)
3 whole green onions, trimmed and sliced
1 tablespoon (15ml) minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons (10ml) baking powder

1 package smoked tofu, sliced into 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) slices

½ cup (125ml) mayonnaise
Sriracha to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/ 220 degrees Celsius. Lightly oil a 9 inch skillet and cut a round of parchment to fit the bottom of the skillet. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, rice flour, flax, avocado oil, sesame oil, miso, salt, cane sugar and water. Let sit for ten minutes so the chickpea flour can hydrate.

While you’re waiting, make some Sriracha mayo. Start by mixing 2 teaspoons of Sriracha into the mayo in a small bowl, adding more Sriracha until you hit the heat level you’re after. Set aside.

Now, whisk the baking powder into the chickpea batter, then stir in the coleslaw, green onions and ginger.

Arrange the slices of tofu on the bottom of the skillet, it’s like you’re building a little crust for the okonomiyaki with tofu! Then spread the okonomiyaki batter over top.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the batter looks fully cooked and begins to brown and crackle on top. Let cool slightly then cut into six wedges and serve with the Sriracha Mayo. Trust me, don’t skip the mayo!!

Photo Credit: Alyssa Dawson



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