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When I think of iconic Japanese dishes, this is for sure one of them. While the OGs of Hiroshima and Osaka battle over whose version is better, you will find this savory pancake almost everywhere in Japan. There are so many styles, but this recipe is a good place to start (which I must admit is closer to the Osaka style). Once you are comfortable (through repetition) with this recipe, start to experiment by using veggies other than cabbage. Also, for this recipe the protein I choose to use is bacon, but feel free to use whatever protein you like. If you do mix it up, sear your protein and reserve it. Then cook your pancake on one side and add it to the top of the uncooked side, then flip over to finish cooking.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Takehisa Dried Shiitake Mushroom Powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup konbu dashi made with Aimono Rausu konbu
10 ounces green cabbage, sliced thin
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
4 strips of bacon
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup tonkatsu sauce
¼ cup mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie
2 tablespoons aonori, for sprinkling on top
1 cup Matoba Suisan Katsuobushi Thin Shavings (optional)
¼ cup pickled ginger
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, shiitake powder and salt, mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk the dashi and egg together then slowly pour it into the dry mixture. Mix just until combined into a thick batter. Now add the cabbage and scallions into the batter and mix until just combined.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium. Take a strip of bacon and cut it in half, crosswise, and place in the pan. Cook until the bacon is about halfway cooked, then turn the heat up to medium high. Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil over the bacon, then immediately take one cup of the cabbage/batter mixture and pour it on top of the 2 pieces of bacon and carefully spread it to make a thick round pancake (approximately ½ to 1 inch thick). Cook until the bottom is golden brown, then flip over and cook until the second side is golden brown.
Remove the pancake from the pan to a plate, spread enough tonkatsu sauce on top to coat. Then add a drizzle of mayonnaise, a generous sprinkle of aonori and top with katsuo bushi. Serve immediately with a side of pickled ginger and watch the mesmerizing dance of the katsuobushi.