I served it as a side dish for dinner last night. We had leftover air fried crispy pork belly and all it needed was reheating and a good vegetable dish to enjoy it with.
This is a simple dish with inexpensive ingredients. The only tricky part in cooking the pancake is in the flipping. You do have to fry both sides so that the entire surface is lightly browned and crisp.
This meatless side dish has three components: the vegetables and mushrooms, the batter and the dipping sauce. Because I prefer the dipping sauce to soak for a while to allow flavors to blend, I make it ahead and let it sit on the counter while I prep the rest of the components.
What’s in the dipping sauce? Soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, shallot, ginger, chili and toasted sesame seeds. To take away the sharpness of the soy sauce and vinegar, I stir in boiling water. The garlic and shallot cook a bit in the hot water to take away the edge.
The shredded cabbage, julienned carrot, sliced shiitake and scallions are dumped into a mixing bowl and seasonings are added. Salt, five-spice powder, chili flakes and toasted sesame seeds are sprinkled in. Then, everything is tossed together.
For the pancake batter, I whisked an egg white with water until frothy then stirred in all-purpose flour and potato starch. It’s a thickish but pourable batter with the same consistency as regular pancake batter.
But why an egg white instead of a whole egg? Two reasons. First, the crust comes out crispier without the egg yolk. Second, we often have eggwhites in the freezer. My younger daughter, Alex, bakes and sells bread and pastries, and she doesn’t always use whole eggs. When she has excess eggwhites, I think up of ways to use them in cooking our meals.
When all the components of the dish are ready, the seasoned vegetables and mushrooms are added to the batter and folded in and the cooking begins.
Oil is poured into a frying pan and heated. How much oil? Enough to reach a depth of about a quarter inch. Right, it’s not just brushing the pan with oil. You need more than that if you want the surface of the pancake to turn crisp.
Cook the pancake until the underside is lightly browned and crisp, then flip the pancake over to cook the other side.
If you have a really wide spatula, just insert it under the pancake and flip. Drizzle a couple of tablespoonfuls of oil along the edges of the pancake, lift the edges to allow the oil to spread, and cook until the other side is lightly browned and crisp as well.
If you don’t have a wide spatula, place a plate over the pancake and invert. Drizzle the additional oil into the pan, slide back the inverted pancake and cook until done.
Cabbage and mushroom pancake
- Mix together all the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the pancake filling and set aside.
- Whisk the egg white with half a cup of water until frothy. Mix in the flour and starch just until blended. Stir in the sesame oil.
- Add the filling to the batter and fold in.
- In a frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of a quarter inch.
- Spread the pancake mixture on the hot oil and cook over medium-high heat until the underside is lightly browned and crisp.
- Flip the pancake, drizzle in two to three tablespoons oil along the edges and partially lift the pancake edges to allow the oil to spread to the center of the pan.
- Cook the pancake until the other side is browned and crisp.
- Slide the pancake to a plate, cut into wedges or squares (kitchen shears will do the job well), garnish with sesame seeds and scallions, and serve with the dipping sauce.