Japanese Crepes

http://1tess.wordpress.com

After making okonomiyaki, the cabbage stuffed Japanese pancake, I became curious about other Japanese pancakes. I’ve made pajeon, a Korean version on okonomiyaki made with nira or Chinese chives. I’ve since learned that it is very popular in Japan where it is called chijimi. On the sweet side are doriyaki, the popular Japanese sweet pancake-sandwich filled with sweet bean jam. Then I considered crepes, the delicate French pancakes with the lacy edges. I thought about the historic influence of Japan and Europe upon each other…
So why would there not be such a thing as Japanese crepes? 

From the middle of the Nineteenth century, many French artists were influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e prints: the flattened perspective, blocks of color, the off-center composition. French and others: Beardsley, Mary Cassatt, Degas, Gauguin, Gustav Klimt, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Whistler, van Gogh…
Europeans also influenced art in Japan. Take a look at these two prints by Japan’s best known artist, Katsushika Hokusai. He learned from Dutch and French pastoral landscapes with their perspective, shading, and realistic shadows. He placed the common man into his woodblocks, moving the emphasis away from the aristocrats and to the rest of humanity. Realism is Hokusai’s unique contribution to Japanese art, depicting birds or flowers, or fishermen and tourists, ordinary people going about their daily business. Be sure to look at Hokusai’s sketches!


Returning to food and the French influence on Japanese cuisine, Japanese crepes are amazing. They are similar to French crepes made large, as large as 16-inches in diameter, filled with sweet or savory foods, and folded into cones which can be held in the hand.
In my own attempt here, I was much too timid, filling the crepes with only matcha ice cream—a pale replication of an over-the-top treat. Fruit of all sorts, chocolate sauce, all flavors of ice cream, whipped cream, even cheesecake and cookies fill an authentic crepe. There are also savory crepes filled with shredded cabbage, canned tuna, and mayo; ham, cheese, lettuce, nori, mayo, and sweet teriyaki sauce; hambagu, gravy, and potatoes either mashed or french-fried; spaghetti with tomato sauce and who knows what else…

Konapun is a miniature, non-edible sample food making kit for kids, manufactured by Bandai, one of the biggest toy manufactures in Japan. Each Konapun kit contains a set of powders and what you do is to mix these with water and imitate cooking process — your favorite spaghetti, curry rice, fried chicken, and even sushi is ready for you (A petit-version though.)
This magic powder is mainly made from Alginic acid, seaweed’s constituent, and each food powder contains different additives to create the color and viscosity required to imitate the designated dish. 

Japanese Crepes
just the crepes:
use your imagination for filling them!

deep Google search
to find the secret ingredient
makes 3 to 4 ten-inch crepes

  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon Koon-Chun kansui
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided, for frying

In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs with a fork.
Combine the milk, water, kansui, and salt in a measuring cup. Add the liquid, flour, and melted butter to the eggs.
Melt a teaspoon of butter in a 10-inch cast iron frying pan. Pour a quarter to a third of the batter into the pan. Swirl the pan to cover the bottom and make a round crepe. Cook until the edges are brown and lacy, and bubbles begin to appear. Japanese crepes are not browned very much. Flip the crepe and cook for a minute or two. Crepes can be stacked.
Do use more than just a scoop of ice cream to fill! My lack of imagination!
Put the filling of your choice on a generous quarter of the crepe, fold it in half, then roll it into quarters. Use a piece of parchment to hold the cone.

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12 thoughts on “Japanese Crepes

  1. I enjoyed the little bit of history and entartainment that you also included with the recipe. Thanks.

    • Hi, (is it Sara, ms lifewith4cats?)
      I’m so happy that you enjoyed the post. I don’t know if you are interested in Japanese cooking, but I do very much love my cats, all 3 rescued from what could have been very short hard lives.

      I do try to post other information, silliness, personal thoughts, quotes, html information, music, oddities, beyond recipes on my blog, so welcome to you!

  2. I think I introduced myself to you in the forum thread But I did not realize you had not seen it. I cant remeber what topic it was.
    yes, I am also teaching myself to cook Asian food and am always trying to find authentic Asian cookbooks in english. I own the one by Hiroko Shimbo that started your cookbook contest. So I have been reading your blog with a common interest.
    Navigating an Asian grocery store is a challenging feat so I am always looking for tips and things that can teach me. :)

    • Ah, yes! Your avatar sort of resembles mine. Thought I’d seen you!
      No joke that navigating Asian stores is a challenge! They are places where I am illiterate and for the most part mute, but around here the people are very friendly. It is sort of like traveling to a foreign country! I tend to be shy in France and Spain, and very shy in the Asian stores, but I’ve learned that people do try to be helpful even when they are busy. For Japanese home cooking, Ms. Shimbo’s book is excellent, as is Elizabeth Andoh’s book.
      I started this project because I could not actually travel at the time: it’s a surreptitious travel and adventure.

    • Oh Sally, mine were nowhere anything like Japanese crepes! But the crepe recipe itself is worth doing again: take a look at some Google images to see how much whipped cream, ice cream, fruit, chocolate syrup, amazing combinations…
      I don’t have a sweet tooth so I should ask Mr. Tess for some ideas…

  3. hi , i am trying to make japanesse crep, but when i tried to fold it like a cone shape, it the creap will break.. is it because it too wet. I am using ice-cream as a filling. How can i prevent it from breaking.
    thanks.
    faiza

  4. Maybe you are cooking them too crispy or thin?
    When you make the crepes, do you stack them as you cook the whole batch of batter? I think stacking them helps them to soften with steam when you stack them. Cover with a slightly moistened cloth, too. I hope that helps…

  5. Hi Tess, thanks.. I am trying to make them thin as from what I see (in you tube) Japanesse crepe seem to very thin.. but not that crispy.. it can stil fold but thing is when you try to eat it , the crepe break especially at the bottom side .. do you know how thick there are?

    thanks,
    faiza

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