In recent years, an obsession with pancakes has taken Japan’s culinary scene by storm. And for good reason: Japanese pancakes, also known as soufflé pancakes, look and taste delightful, and are extremely fluffy and soft. What’s not to love?
Pancakes are the happiest of comfort foods, and this airy, pillowy variation of the meal brings it to a new level of pleasure. They are also downright fun to eat, with their amusingly wiggly and bouncy texture.
Japan’s recent pancake craze
Soufflé pancakes began appearing on menus in Japanese restaurants in 2014, and since then, everyone has been digging in. Restaurants in Japan are racing to see who can make the fluffiest, lightest pancake.
Some of the most famous versions of the dish are being served up by spots like Hoshino Coffee and Flipper’s in Tokyo. Pancake shops like these were not around before recent years, so if you’re visiting Japan, you need to make a stop at one to see what the craze is all about!
What makes soufflé pancakes unique
Besides the clear difference in size and texture, the distinction between Japanese-style pancakes and regular pancakes is in the egg.
When preparing the dish, egg yolks and whites are separated. Then the egg whites are beaten to develop meringue, similar to how you’d make a chiffon cake or a savory and sweet soufflé. Fluffy pancakes become especially fluffy because air bubbled keep their shape inside the batter. Cut into one of these pillowy hotcakes and you’ll even hear the sound of escaping air bubbles!
Tips for making Japanese-style pancakes at home
Making meringue requires plenty of trial and error, but it’s the hallmark of this recipe, so it’s worth the time it takes to practice. When making your meringue, look for stiff peaks to form when you lift your whisk.
Heat your pancakes on a low setting and preheat the pan for a long time. Stack your batter vertically, adding a new layer when the first layer starts to take shape. Cook slowly and be patient. Add water to the empty spaces of your pan while frying up your pancakes for added steam. Enjoy!