Chow chow is a North American pickled relish that is made of cabbage, green tomatoes, peppers, and other end-of-summer vegetables. Chef Travis Milton of Hickory in Bristol, Virginia, and his sous chef take this great and flavorful topping and turn it into something completely new.
These chow chow pancakes are inspired by techniques from Japan and China with the concept of okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki are cabbage pancakes with crispy edges and a light center. Milton adds extra savory notes to his version with bits of chopped bacon, onions, and eggs, which also layers the flavors. Milton tops his flaky chow chow pancakes with a spicy and tangy Soup Bean Mayo sauce that packs just the right amount of kick.
Both homemade or store-bought chow chow work in this recipe. Milton suggests a mustard-based version, so look for a sweet-hot jarred version. Okonomi sauce and furikake (a sesame-garlic seasoning) are available in Asian markets.
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chow chow, drained, plus ¾ cup reserved pickling liquid
1½ tablespoons buttermilk (Milton uses Cruze Farm)
¼ cup finely diced onion
½ teaspoon ramp-flavored salt (Milton uses J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works) or Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cooked bacon, chopped (Milton uses Benton’s Bacon) plus 1 tablespoon reserved
Soup Bean Mayo (recipe follows)
Okonomi sauce, furikake seasoning, and sliced scallion greens for serving
½ cup canned pinto beans, drained, plus 1 teaspoon reserved bean liquid
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
1¼ cups canola oil
For the Soup Bean Mayo
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add chow chow, pickling liquid, buttermilk, egg, onion, salt, pepper, and bacon. Stir well to combine.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon fat and heat until shimmering. Ladle 2 ounces of pancake batter into skillet. Once bottom edges are browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip pancake and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Once pancake is puffed up but firm in the center and cooked through, transfer it from a skillet to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter.
- To serve, drizzle pancakes with Soup Bean Mayo and okonomi sauce and garnish with furikake and scallion greens.
Recipe ByChef Travis Milton of Hickory at Nicewonder Farm & Vineyard Resort in Bristol, Virginia.