Monday, March 5, 2012

Meatless Monday- Japanese Pizza

I heard about Japanese Pizza, or Okonomiyaki a few weeks ago from my friend Michelle. I have been intrigued yet avoiding it ever since. It is a cabbage concoction that cooks in a large skillet. I looked up recipes and it really did not sound like it would taste very good. Leeks, cabbage, eggs, flour, salt. That's it (puzzled look on my face). I found a recipe on 101 Cookbooks knowing I hadn't been let down by her recipes yet, I thought I would give it a whirl. I bought the cabbage and leeks almost two weeks ago. Every time I would see the large green stalk of the leek in the refrigerator I would quickly close the door and try to put this pizza thing out of my mind. I also couldn't seem to find the right time to make it because I just didn't think I could make Aaron eat it. What if it turned out terrible and that's all I had planned for dinner? We might end up with a disappointing bowl of cereal or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Today however, Aaron had soccer, the leek was starting to get a little soft and I wanted to eat a Meatless Monday meal. Out came the Okonomiyaki recipe. It really only took less than 5 minutes to put together. The only difficult part was figuring out how to flip it. I had heard horror stories from Michelle about the inevitable Japanese pizza flip that had been more like flops. I called Aaron over, put a lid on my cast iron skillet, flipped over the skillet and had Aaron grab the lid with the pizza on it. Then it was easy to just slide it back into the pan- it was definitely at two person effort though so make sure you have a friend handy if you make this. After slicing and adding some toasted almonds to the top I took my first bite. It was slightly crispy, the flavor of the leeks paired nicely with the cabbage and surprisingly, it was very tasty. Aaron even took a bite and said it wasn't bad. I ate two slices and am still just shocked at how good this actually was. I should also mention that when I teach patients about foods and portions, cabbage is considered a "free food" because it is so low in calories, so this is a very figure friendly meal. When you are feeling a little adventurous and ready to try something new, this is a good choice. Enjoy!

Japanese Pizza (Okonomiyaki)
adapted only slightly from 101 Cookbooks

1/2 small cabbage, chopped and cut into thin strips
1 leek, washed and chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 large pinches of kosher salt

1. Combine cabbage, leek, salt and flour in a large bowl. Toss until combined.
2. Add eggs and mix until everything is coated with the egg
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom
4. Add cabbage mixture and press down with a spatula as much as you can. Cook for about 5-7 minutes
5. Flip over (somehow) by sliding onto a large plate and then flipping over back into the pan or use my method above (good to have some help at this point). Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Slice and top with toasted almond slices/pieces.

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