The humble pancake is a beloved food for both its deliciousness and how easy it is to make. It’s also a highly versatile food, suitable for either a sweet snack with powdered sugar, strawberries and syrup, or a savory dish served with chicken and lettuce.

Now, there appears to be a rumor among pancake aficionados in Japan that with one simple addition to the pancake mix it is possible to boost the flavor level to that of a luxury hotel or restaurant. That ingredient is none other than the typical Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans: miso.

Miso has a long history in Japan as a healthy and tasty seasoning eaten daily by many people in the form of miso soup. Rather than the bitter tastes and offensive smells of many of Japan’s other fermented foods, miso tends to have a salty and tangy flavor that is much more palatable.

That being said, it’s still hard to imagine how it could possibly make pancakes more delicious. So our reporter Meg tried to make some miso infused hotcakes for herself. First we should point out that she used “hotcake mix” rather than “pancake mix.” In Japan, there is actually a difference, and we’re not sure how the results would pan out with the latter. She also used Tori Yasai Miso from whose website she got the recipe.

She didn’t really need to rely on the recipe though as making it was incredibly easy. First she simply prepared the hotcake mix as instructed on the package. When the batter was all liquidy she then stirred in some miso. She used 20g (0.7oz) of the seasoning with 200g (7oz) of hotcake mix. Up until she poured it into the pan, any change to the mixture itself was barely noticeable.

However, once the pan heated up, an incredible smell of miso emanated from the still-forming pancake. This troubled Meg who was then expecting to dine on a big stack of salty miso cakes.

As she set up her experimental meal, Meg wasn’t feeling overly confident after breathing the tangy fermented fumes of miso for the past 5 minutes. Still, the cakes looked normal enough.

Shortly after taking her first bite our reporter was floored! There was no trace of miso in the flavor of these pancakes. Furthermore the flavor of the pancake itself was far richer than she had ever made before. It was like something out of a fancy restaurant. It wasn’t really a boost in the sweetness of the pancake. It was more like the pancake became more “full-bodied.”

Since the result hadn’t come out too sweet, she ate them gleefully with a fried egg and salad. The taste was great all together. She wasn’t finished quite yet though. It seemed the perfect complement to these miso-infused hotcakes was some cream cheese.

Perhaps the fermentation link somehow made these two flavors an ideal pairing. Or maybe it’s just because miso, pancakes, and cream cheese are all delicious, so it stands to reason that their combined flavors would be super delicious. On that note, join us next time for peanut butter & kimchi waffles!

Source: Tori Yasai Miso (Japanese)
Original article by Meg Sawai
Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]