Have you seen these fluffy Japanese Pancakes all over social media lately? I stepped out of my comfort zone last weekend, just to try my primitive cooking skills at making these babies. Not bad, eh? I’d say it was a success! (But I have to admit after a lot of trial and error and a lot of eggs) Mind you, I’m not totally helpless—I’ve done pancakes before. I mean, breakfast is relatively easy. But these were a real challenge and nothing like regular pancakes. So good! Light, airy, jiggly and fluffy!
Zojirushi Gourmet Sizzler Electric Griddle
Turns out this was great for making pancakes because I had so much room to work with. The temp settings are too high for Japanese Pancakes but I was able to adjust by tweaking it a little. More on that later. The included lid is necessary, so I wished it was clear so I could have seen the pancakes as it cooked, but there’s ways to get around that too, if you need to.
My basic recipe was from Tasty Japan, but I also got a lot of tips from Just One Cookbook on the basics of baking.
Ingredients for 4 servings
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup pancake mix
1/2 cup milk
Japanese Pancakes require 2 things for success. Egg whites beaten to the right stiffness to make meringue and low temp steaming to bake. Making the batter was easy, the egg whites need to be finessed.
The egg whites need to be beaten with an electric blender. Some recipes called for them to be beaten with powdered sugar, instead of using granulated sugar in the batter. Preference thing, I guess. Anyway, the trick is to whip the egg whites until they get stiff enough to form peaks. I would do it at the highest speed.
By the way, did you know there are such things as egg white separators? This was a great gadget! No mess and it really gets all the whites separate from the yolk! Lot better than transferring the yolk from one shell to the other like old school!
Next you fold the meringue into the batter. Don’t mix it in so thoroughly that it flattens the egg whites. All you’re doing here is combining the two parts.
And now you’re ready to put it on the griddle! Here’s a word about the griddle. This is a soufflé pancake, so you’re supposed to cook it on low heat for a long time, and covered with a lid. This recipe called for 10 minutes, while the steam did most of the cooking. My Zojirushi Griddle’s temp setting only goes as low as 300°F, which is way too hot for slow cooking these pancakes, so I actually had it on a setting barely above Keep Warm.
I used a bowl to steam it on low heat. Clever, right? With this griddle there was plenty of space so it was easy to do this. I did a couple with a pancake mold, which some of these recipes call for, but you don’t really need them to get them to come out fluffy and tall. If you do use molds, make sure they’re made of silicone like this one. You don’t want to scratch the griddle surface with metal. To get your pancakes taller, spoon the batter onto the surface, wait a little as it starts to cook, and layer more batter directly on top of it. It’s cooking so slow anyway, you’ve got plenty of time to do this.
“Update: Zojirushi does not recommend using this griddle at this temperature setting or using glass bowls on the surface. This post does not reflect usage guidelines provided by the manufacturer.”
When you’re ready to turn them over, put a spatula under it and roll them over gently. You can’t flip these guys. Dress with strawberries or powdered sugar or whatever you like. I really didn’t even need any syrup—they were already just the right sweetness all the way through.
For more pancake recipes from Zojirushi, try these. They’re not the soufflé kind, but they look delicious!
All photos by Bert Tanimoto