Japanese Potato Pancakes

This savory potato pancake is a meatless dish that has the taste and texture of the famous Japanese pancake known as okonomiyaki.  This is a vegetable packed pancake that your whole family will enjoy.  For a vegan version of this recipe, simply substitute a 1/2 cup of silken tofu for the egg.

A friend of mine suggested that I publish some more recipes for vegetarians.  This potato pancake recipe is actually a mix between Japanese okonomiyaki and Jewish latkas (potato pancakes).  What makes this recipe so different – and so good – is that yamaimo (Japanese mountain yam) which is added to the batter as a thickener.  The pancakes have a savory taste and a creamy texture.  Serve these up with okonomiyaki sauce and you will feel like you are sitting in an okonomiyaki shop in Japan enjoying the local cuisine instead of in your own dining room.

Japanese Potato Pancakes (Vegetarian Okonomiyaki)

I have been cooking variations of the dish for years, and it’s texture and flavor is very similar to that of okonomiyaki, although cabbage is not used.  The recipe includes potatoes, zucchini, carrot and onion as the key ingredients.  The potatoes are mixed with salt to leach out the water, which ensures the batter will not be too watery.  Yamaimo acts as a binding ingredient and gives the pancakes a unique texture.

For a more authentic okonomiyaki taste use aonori in the batter instead of parsley.  Aonori flakes are made from seaweed and go perfectly in this unique fusion dish.

PREP COOKING YIELD
PREP
COOKING
YIELD

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 3” piece of yamaimo (Japanese mountain yam) -see notes, below
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 1 tsp dried aonori flakes, or parsley flakes
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 egg (for a vegan version substitute 1/2 cup of silken tofu)
  • 2 TBSP Rice Bran oil
  • Okonomiyaki sauce if desired

Instructions:

  • Wash and peel the potatoes.  Shred the potatoes using a box shredder.  Mix in 1/2 tsp of sea salt and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

  • Wash and peel the carrot he cut off the ends.  Shred finely using your box shredder.
  • Wash and cut the end of the zucchini. Shred finely using your box shredder.
  • Peel and shred the onion using the box shredder.

  • Peel the yamaino.  Shred using a fine grater.  The yamaino will liquify when shred.  Make sure you have about 1/4 cup of the shredded yamaino.

  • Whisk together the egg, yamaimo, flour, parsley, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and onion powder until it is smooth and there are no lumps.

  • Fold in the zucchini, carrot and onion.  Mix well with a spoon until all ingredients are completely combined.
  • After sitting for at least 30 minutes, drain the excess liquid from the potatoes.  Squeeze out any excess water trapped in the potatoes and also pour it out.

  • Mix the potatoes into the batter and continue mixing with a spoon until the ingredients are completely combined in the batter.

  • Using some of the oil, coat the bott0m of a non-stick skillet.  Spoon out enough batter to make 3 or 4 potato pancakes.

  • Cook covered over medium heat for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes have passed, flip the pancakes, cover and fry for five more minutes.

  • Serve the pancakes while hot.  Top with okonomiyaki sauce if desired.

Notes:

  • If you do not have access to fresh yamaimo substitute of 1 tsp of Yamaimo powder, available through Amazon, or 1 TBSP potato starch.

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