Cabbage part two: the revenge ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

06 April 2007

Cabbage part two: the revenge

Now that you've made that delicious, easy, easy and delicious cabbage salad, what do you do with the rest of the cabbage? If you are me--I mean, if you are I--or, uh, I guess just if I am I--I make savory vegetable pancakes.

I first made these dudes from a long-ago entry over at The Hungry Tiger, my favorite among favorites of all the billion food sites I visit. If only there were more! more! content! However, certain redfox is clearly both writing her dissertation and teaching university classes (five miles from where I went to undergrad, no less. Arabica! Come back!), and so the slow updates of late are understandable. Still. I want more! Exclamation point!

So anyway. Essentially, what we're doing here is making a not at all sweet pancake batter with lots of vegetables in it, then frying the pancakes on a griddle or other appropriate pan. I also like to make little bowls of dipping business, one of which, shockingly, was also initially based off one of her entries. I now do things like this all the ding dang time. It has thus become very obvious to me that redfox has had a huge amount of influence on my cooking. I am pretty happy about that.

My variation on this particular dish includes whatever vegetables sound tasty, and switches the pancake batter to a more traditional formula, since for one thing I don't generally have any chickpea flour. Those would certainly make these more proteintacular, however. I was also considering making the pancakes oaty by adding in some rolled oats soaked in milk for a while. Feel free to switch it up however you like.

To start, make any dipping sauces you want, so as to let their flavors develop while you're cooking. My two sauces were really easy.

Yogurt-garlic sauce

As this sauce contains raw garlic, it's pretty pungent, yet totally awesome.

Take a big spoonful of plain yogurt and mix it with a minced, crushed clove of garlic. Add some pepper if you want. Mix it all up and put it in the fridge to wait.

Peanut-soy sauce

This one turned out way too salty for me, but there are things you could do to correct that. For one, use unsalted peanut butter. For another, don't go overboard on the soy.

Take a big spoonful of peanut butter and mix it with a little soy sauce. Add some mirin or rice wine vinegar to taste. Tahini might also go well here. Dilute to your desired texture, mix, and let it wait.

Now make your pancakes.

Savory vegetable pancakes

hot pepper
sesame seeds
olive oil or other
eggs or fake eggs
milk or soymilk
baking powder
salt and pepper

Chop your vegetables pretty finely. Cabbage is a great one to use here because it remains relatively sturdy and crunchy, even when soaking in batter. I used about 1/3 of a cabbage, three huge, burly scallions, and one red jalapeno. You could clearly use all kinds of other vegetables here; I would go for carrot and radish first, then bell pepper, and maybe some corn. Whatever you like should be fine, as long as it doesn't require long, slow cooking.

Make your pancake batter. Pancakes are one of the very few baking-oriented foods for which I don't measure; you may want to look up a more exact set of proportions if you don't feel confident in being able to wing it. Here's what I did, and it turned out fine. I cracked a couple eggs into a bowl and beat them until smooth. Then I added four or so handfuls of flour, beating to mix well after each. I added a shake of baking powder (when's the last time anyone has ever said That?), several glugs of soymilk (as we had no Milk milk), and a hearty pinch or two of salt. Then I just fiddled until the batter looked like pancake batter. I added a handful or two more flour, and a few more glugs of milk. Probably I ended up with about 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup milk altogether. It was a pretty eggy batter, but that was fine with me, as pancakes in general are pretty eggy.

Add your vegetables to your batter and mix it up. The business should end up looking more or less like a big salad with really thick dressing; you want the vegetables to dominate. Add whatever spices sound good with your combination of vegetables, and mix well; I added lots of black pepper and a couple good shakes of cayenne. I also added a handful of sesame seeds, for taste and texture.

Now it's time to cook. Heat up a nonstick pan or griddle on medium-high. If you don't have nonstick, just use a regular pan with a little olive oil. When the pan is sufficiently hot, ladle out as many spoonfuls of batter as will fit without crowding. Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds to the top of each. Cook until golden brown, about three to five minutes, then flip to cook the other side. When both sides are cooked, remove, potentially drain on paper towels (if cooked in oil), salt if you want, and eat, with sauce of your choice, as immediately as possible. You certainly want to just stand over the stove and eat them as they come out of the pan.

This type of dinner requires plenty of beer so cold you can actually see it coagulating in the bottle.