Updated: May 8
by Melissa Hemsley from Eat Green (Ebury Press)
photography: Philippa Langley
A traditional, thrifty British dish using up leftover cabbage and potato. You can make one big ‘cake’ or smaller fritters, which I prefer as you can get them crispier. This dipping sauce is inspired by Japanese okonomiyaki, which I fell in love with in Tokyo years ago. Serve with a refreshing green salad.
Feeds 3 as a main with sides, takes 30 mins
3–4 tbsp ghee or oil
1 onion, finely diced, or 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
1 carrot (100g), roughly grated
2 large handfuls of cooked leftover veg, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips or swede (about 200g)
2 large handfuls of cooked cabbage, kale or Brussels sprouts (about 100g)
3 tbsp flour, such as chickpea (gram)
Sea salt and black pepper
JAPANESE-INSPIRED DIPPING SAUCE
2 tbsp tomato purée, low-sugar ketchup or Carrot Ketchup (see recipe below)
1 tbsp tamari or Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard or horseradish
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1cm piece of ginger, finely grated
Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee or oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for 1 minute, then add the grated carrot, some salt and pepper, and fry for 2 minutes before taking off the heat and allowing to cool.
Meanwhile, mash the leftover veg with a fork and roughly chop the cabbage.
Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl, then add the flour until mixed through. Stir in the mashed veg and chopped cabbage and then the carrot and onion mix, making sure you get all the scraps from the pan as we’ll use it again and don’t want to leave ‘bits’ to burn.
Put the pan back on a high heat, add 1½ tablespoons of the ghee or oil, take a dessert spoon of the mixture and transfer into the hot oil to fry. It’s always worth making a ‘test fritter’ to check the seasoning, so you can adjust the rest of the bowl if you need to. If the mix doesn’t hold, add a little more flour.
Put four more in, ensuring that they have space between them and pressing down a little, but don’t flatten them too much. Reduce the heat to medium and leave to fry for 2 minutes. Turn to fry the other side for 2 more minutes. When done, pop in a low oven to stay warm.
Remove any bits left in the pan from the first batch. Add a little more ghee or oil if needed and cook the last five cakes.
As you’re letting the final batch fry, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan with a few tablespoons of water and simmer on a medium heat for 3 minutes. Season and serve with the hot fritters.
If you have any leftover beef, chicken or duck fat from a Sunday roast, use it in place of the ghee or oil for frying.
The carrot adds sweetness, thickness and a little extra veg boost to your ketchup. You could also swap it for a small parsnip or beetroot. Any leftover ketchup is great with fried eggs in a Buckwheat Sesame Wrap, with Quinoa Cakes or as a dip for Vegetable Crisps. Play around with the spices and don’t worry if you don’t have all of them.
Makes about a 350ml jar, takes 25 mins
1 carrot (90g), roughly chopped
1 × 400g tin of tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
1½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove, chopped
⅛ tsp smoked paprika
⅛ tsp ground cumin
⅛ tsp allspice or ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
A little pinch of chilli flakes
Sea salt and black pepper
Put everything into the pan to simmer on high for 20 minutes until the carrots are soft and the sauce is thickened.
Blend the sauce until smooth and if it’s still quite thin, put back in the pan to simmer and reduce down.
Pour into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge.