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Fluffy Japanese Pancakes: Souffle Pancake Recipe

Posted February 21, 2019 by Stephanie
fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

I MADE FLUFFY JAPANESE PANCAKES!! I MADE FLUFFY PANCAKES!! Sorry for shouting, but I’m so excited!! Ever since the first time I laid eyes on those giggly giant fluffy Japanese pancakes, I’ve been obsessed. We may or may not have been to almost every fluffy pancake place in Tokyo because of my obsession – here’s a run down on the places we’ve been to. I love the way Japanese pancakes taste: light, airy, and oh so delicious.

The best part of going to the pancake places, aside from eating the pancakes, is that you get to watch them expertly shape, flip, and plate up serving after serving of fluffy goodness. It’s nice to watch but also kind of awkward because I’m sure the pancake peeps don’t really want anyone staring at them. I would have major anxiety if people were watching me do my job day after day after day.

Heck, I was anxious making these pancakes in the safety of my own home in my joggers and sweatshirt. It’s a good thing I was in comfy clothes because these pancakes have been years in the making and to be honest, I failed a couple times before they came out just the way I wanted them.

The very first time I tried to do Japanese pancakes I did the ring mold version, but that just wasn’t what I wanted. Then, a couple of years ago, I winged it and made some that tasted good, but weren’t perfect, looks wise. I kept meaning to perfect that recipe and put it up, but I kind of sort of *gasp* forgot about them. Just recently though, Mike mentioned that Pancake Day was coming up and I started thinking about pancakes again and here we are.

I tried to find the recipe that I was working on so many years ago but somehow it was gone so I gave up and just tried out a very popular google result. Sadly, I was seriously disappointed: too eggy and nothing like the pancakes I’ve had in Tokyo. They weren’t even fluffy?! I just knew I had to get back the recipe that I started so many years ago so I asked Mike to help and lo and behold, it was there, on my computer. With tasty recipe in hand, I set out on making them even fluffier and went deep into fluffy pancake search mode and found a promising looking video.

The recipe in the video is pretty much like mine, with just a few changes: I stabilized the egg whites with a bit of cream of tartar, decreased the baking powder, took out the vanilla and salt, and increased the sugar and cooking time. I guess when I put it like that, I changed the recipe quite a lot. I was super happy with the results: the pancakes came out super fluffy and tasted almost just like what I remember!

There are two key things you need to concentrate on if you want to make fluffy pancakes at home. One is the meringue – be sure that it’s well developed but not over beaten. The second one is how you cook them. Most of the recipes I see online use either frying pans on low heat or the exact same machines that they use in Japan: flat griddles with giant lids.

My first couple of attempts were with a frying pan with a lid. These didn’t work out for me – the heat of my gas stove, even on low, was too high. I don’t have one of those fun griddles (even though I want one) so I went with what I found at home: my crepe pan! It has a super low setting that worked perfectly. I don’t have a lid for it but my giant wok lid worked in a pinch. Fluffy pancake success! Serve them up with a dusting of icing sugar, whipped butter and maple syrup. You’ll be in heaven.

PS – These are a commitment, so you really have to love pancakes, yourself, or whoever you’re making them for. Patience is key, both when making the batter and when cooking.

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

Fluffy Japanese Pancakes: Soufflé Pancake Recipe
makes 3 pancakes


Yolks

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Whites

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar

adapted from Japanese Everyday Food

Notes: I’ve only made one batch at a time but I think you’d be able to double this as long as your meringue is whipped properly – from what I can tell, in Japan they don’t make the pancake batter every time you order, so I’m pretty sure it’ll hold.

Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of sugar until pale and frothy. Mix the milk in batches. Sift the flour and baking powder over the yolk mixture and whisk well making sure everything is incorporated.

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy and pale, adding in the sugar in bit at a time until the whites are whipped into a glossy thick meringue that holds a peak. Be careful not to over whip.

Take 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and whisk it into the bowl with the yolks until completely incorporated. Add half of the remaining whites and whisk into the yolk batter, being careful not to deflate. Transfer the egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites, whisk and then use a spatula to fold together.

Heat up a large non stick frying (with a lid) pan over low heat. Very lightly brush with oil and use a paper towel to rub it around. You want a very light film.

Using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup, scoop the batter onto the pan. Unless you have a very large pan with a lid, it’s probably best to make these two or even one to a pan. Scoop the batter onto the pan, cover and cook for 3 minutes. If you have a crepe maker or griddle with a lid that will cover the entire thing without touching the pancakes, use that on the lowest setting.

Remove the lid and add some more batter on top of each pancake. Cover and continue to cook for 4-5 more minutes. Lift the lid and use a spatula to gently peek under the pancake. The pancake should release easily – don’t force it.

If you still have any batter left, pile it on top of the pancakes and then gently flip. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. The pancakes will grow even taller and fluffier when they’re done. Once the pancakes are golden and cooked through, gently remove and serve on a plate with powdered sugar, butter, whipped cream, and maple syrup. Enjoy immediately!

fluffy japanese pancakes recipe | i am a food blog

18 Comments

  1. sillygirl says:

    Isn’t it interesting how a little rearranging of ingredients makes a different thing. I’m anxious to try this recipe since we have been enjoying German egg cakes since the 80’s – more eggs and a bit of buttermilk making the difference. Also the Finnish recipe for an oven pancake gives a different result. All of these are yummy!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes! i love how many pancake variations there are out there – it’s a pancake world and we’re just living in it :)

  2. Chop says:

    I was almost certain that these needed some Japanese mayo in there (eg Kewpie). Am I mistaken?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i’ve seen recipes like that online, but i definitely didn’t see any bottles of kewpie mayo in the kitchens at the pancake places in tokyo!

      1. Hasan says:

        Thanks for the info! These came out great but I didn’t get quite the rise you did. STiff peaks, cream of tartar and everything- i think my pan was way too low

        1. Stephanie says:

          happy they came out! too bad they didn’t rise as much. hmm…too low as in the heat was too low? they definitely rise a lot once they’re fully cooked so if you try it again, maybe just make sure that after you flip them, to cook them until they get really puffy. also, if you want really tall ones, pile on extra batter before the flip.

  3. Caitlin says:

    Should it be soft peaks or stiff peaks for the meringue? Thank you–they look amazing!

    1. Stephanie says:

      stiff peaks!

  4. elysia says:

    Definitely want to try this some time. But where are your plates and that cup from?! The speckling is lovely.

    1. Stephanie says:

      i made the cup in a pottery workshop! and the plate is from another local pottery studio :)

  5. Yana says:

    Stephanie, I’d love to make the recipe the need to use GF flour. Do you think it would work?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi yana,
      i haven’t tried, so i can’t say. i’m not sure how gluten free flour reacts, is it the same as regular?

  6. Diana says:

    What flour did you use? Will different brand of flour gives different result?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi diana,
      it’s all purpose flour, i don’t think different brands will give different results, but i recommend weighing out the flour and sifting it :)

  7. Julie says:

    Hi Stephanie

    My name is Julie and I’m a big pancake lover. I have always wanted to make fluffy pancakes and when I saw your post I wanted to read it immediately.
    I admire your determination and how you continued until you found the right recipe. I think many people will be grateful for your work. Most of the time I am the person who makes the pancakes at home. My family will be surprised when I make these fluffy pancakes for them, hopefully will love it.
    I’m sure I will try this recipe one day and then I’ll let you know if it worked. But with all your tips it will succeed.

    Greetings Julie

  8. Alice says:

    Hi! Why do my pancakes immediately deflate after I take them off the heat?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi alice,
      can you tell me a bit more about what happened? did you whip the eggs to stiff peaks? when you incorporated the whites into the yolks, did the batter hold it’s shape? were the pancakes cooked through after you cut into them?

  9. Thibo Mondelaers says:

    Hello,
    I will certainly try this recipe myself at home. I think that with this recipe and your clear explanation it should be possible. Even though I’m not that good at cooking. I really like pancakes and this is a different kind to how we make them in Belgium. So I think I’m going to love them. It has been a long time since I have eaten a pancake so I will start working on it right away. Thank you for all the information and the nice recipe.
    Regards Thibo

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