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Pancakes or Crackcakes?

tokoyoko Jul 20, 2009 04:00 AM

I recently purchased a pancake mix from an asian supermarket because the photo on the box looked so much...cuter than any I've ever come across. Each pancake really looked like....well, a mini cake. (photo attached below - or go to this link: http://www.japancentre.com/images/ite...


Now, I've had pancakes in diners, in homes, and made them myself from scratch. I've tried various mixes available in supermarkets. They generally taste the same to me...a little bland without syrup, and sometime a little too dense or even dry. The thing is, I've always been pretty indifferent to this breakfast food (I eat it mostly for the syrup), but it's so simple to make that it's something I've always had on a regular basis for sudden hunger emergencies.

Last night, I opened the japanese pancake mix and stirred up a batch - I didn't have milk, so i used water instead and the last egg I had in the fridge. I used a swipe of butter to grease the pan, as per usual.

Okay, chowhounds, this is where you come in:

Can you please explain how, HOW in the world this particular pancake mix (brand: Morinaga) produced the most magically delicious batch of pancakes I have EVER encountered in my 22 years of pancake eating?

That photo, which i thought to be photoshopped or something for marketing purposes, is EXACTLY how the pancakes came out. THAT thick, and yet not disgustingly dense like many diner pancakes I've had. The texture was smooth and the flavor was a bit sweeter than most mixes.

Does it have to do with Morinaga itself as a company? Do they make particularly sweet, fluffy, and fabulous mixes than Bisquick or Aunt Jemima or something? Is there ground hello kitty in there for extra awesome?? WHAT IS IT?

I'm almost afraid to use the milk that the mix calls for....if it's any tastier than the batch I made last night, I fear I will lose control and eat pancakes day in and day out for the next month.

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  1. k
    KiltedCook RE: tokoyoko Jul 20, 2009 07:10 AM

    Look at the ingredients on the box. I'll bet there's Rice Flour in there, which would make them nice & fluffy and not dense.. Perhaps other non-wheat flours as well - soy flour comes to mind.

    7 Replies
    1. re: KiltedCook
      tokoyoko RE: KiltedCook Jul 20, 2009 10:31 AM

      of course! you might be right - asian products tend to alter little things like that to suit the asian palate. i wish i could read the ingredients ;____; it's in japanese!!!

      1. re: tokoyoko
        Plano Rose RE: tokoyoko Jul 20, 2009 10:59 AM

        What about the directions? Were they in Japanese also?

        1. re: Plano Rose
          tokoyoko RE: Plano Rose Jul 20, 2009 01:09 PM

          that they were! but luckily, i was able to find someone who scanned the backof the bag (with its elaborate instructions) and translated it for the sake of humour.


          that gave me the needed info ;)

          1. re: tokoyoko
            buttertart RE: tokoyoko Jul 21, 2009 09:49 AM

            This is wonderful, so cute!!!

            1. re: tokoyoko
              adamshoe RE: tokoyoko Jul 21, 2009 06:07 PM

              "and translated it for the sake of humour." Did you mean the saké of humour? ;)

              1. re: adamshoe
                tokoyoko RE: adamshoe Jul 21, 2009 07:04 PM

                oooooooooohhhhh the puniness of it all!

              2. re: tokoyoko
                kkjensen RE: tokoyoko Jul 24, 2009 04:39 AM

                "Don't tell mommy and daddy"
                "Slit the pancake mix's throat"
                "The pan demands sacrifice"
                "Press it's face into the hot skillet"

                A wee bit too sneaky, barbaric, and S&M for my table....thank you very much!

                Step #3 doesn't make any sense at all...to me. I must be out of touch with my japanese comic humor.

        2. NellyNel RE: tokoyoko Jul 20, 2009 08:15 AM

          Wow - thanks for posting this - I LOVE pancakes and will have to seek these out!


          1 Reply
          1. re: NellyNel
            Cloudjuice RE: NellyNel Jul 20, 2009 08:37 AM

            Thanks you! I'll be looking for these!

          2. foodlvrzen RE: tokoyoko Jul 21, 2009 01:29 PM

            nice share! hope it's sold near me. idea for your new crackcake addiction, I usually add a few drops of vanilla and a bit less drops of lemon juice in my pancakes, very tasty

            7 Replies
            1. re: foodlvrzen
              tokoyoko RE: foodlvrzen Jul 21, 2009 07:05 PM

              vanilla! brilliant :) i'll try this next time.

              1. re: tokoyoko
                kathryn RE: tokoyoko Jul 22, 2009 07:42 PM

                I see your vanilla and raise you maple extract. That's right. I put maple extract in my pancakes! The good stuff, Cook's Pure Maple Flavor Extract, not the artificially flavored stuff.

                I also whip the egg whites separately until stiff peaks form and use cake flour, but that's another story.

                1. re: kathryn
                  Chefpaulo RE: kathryn Jul 23, 2009 11:00 AM

                  I was about to say, whipped egg whites and a full Tbs. of fresh baking powder has the same effect for me when making from scratch.

                  I find the bellicose package instructions amusing - "slaughter eggs, slit the throat of the bag, hail the new flesh." I guess old Samurai never die. They just reincarnate as Mutant Ninja Hello Kiddie Pancake Flipping Chefs.

                  1. re: Chefpaulo
                    foodlvrzen RE: Chefpaulo Jul 23, 2009 11:20 AM

                    chuckle...nice Chefp; brilliant packaging, need a whole line of those

                    kathryn, do you live in Vegas near me? well as charlie daniels said, "I'll take that bet and you're gonna regret..." ok now, I have to try your secret recipe and compare...but don't get all bumptious, already love maple from doing the maple sap harvesting, yep, along with candle making (gah!) as a youngster in the northeast mmm mmm Vermont maple

                    1. re: foodlvrzen
                      kathryn RE: foodlvrzen Jul 23, 2009 12:13 PM

                      I live in NYC! Definitely try it and report back. :)

                    2. re: Chefpaulo
                      greygarious RE: Chefpaulo Jul 31, 2009 03:14 PM

                      Sounds like the brand should be "Morituri", not Morinaga!

                      1. re: greygarious
                        buttertart RE: greygarious Aug 3, 2009 09:51 AM

                        Te salutamo.

              2. chowser RE: tokoyoko Jul 21, 2009 02:14 PM

                Interesting. I'm going to have to look for them. If anyone can read Japanese, he/she might be able to help:


                But, look at cute this is:


                3 Replies
                1. re: chowser
                  tokoyoko RE: chowser Jul 21, 2009 07:06 PM

                  only in japan can you find household object magically transformed into useful advice-giving pals!

                  1. re: tokoyoko
                    foodlvrzen RE: tokoyoko Jul 21, 2009 11:34 PM

                    bet there is ground hello kitty too :-p

                  2. re: chowser
                    Boccone Dolce RE: chowser Jul 26, 2009 04:55 PM

                    Those pancakedays butter pats are terminally cutie and very, very happy..

                  3. t
                    thebirdie RE: tokoyoko Jul 24, 2009 04:22 AM

                    Ok. I'm a native Japanese and am a food writer and a baker in NY. I just looked at the label. There is no rice flour. There are many ingredients you can't get here. In fact, there are some chemical ingredients the might make fluffy. However, I've eaten this what we call hot cake(We don't call this pancake.), in my opinion, is not the fluffiest pancake ever. Pancakes are not that great in Japan.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: thebirdie
                      tokoyoko RE: thebirdie Jul 26, 2009 04:26 PM

                      true...the japanese don't use the word pancake - but hotcake, flapjack, pancakes all tend to mean the same thing.

                    2. jackie2830 RE: tokoyoko Jul 24, 2009 04:28 AM

                      MMMMMMM pancake talk! I agree with chefpaulo re: whipped egg whites/baking powder for from scratch pancakes, but I sure would love to try these with medium to dark amber pure maple syrup of course.

                      1. TDFlynn RE: tokoyoko Jul 25, 2009 12:46 PM

                        I wish I had seen this thread last week when I tried to make them using my limited knowledge of the Japanese language. I managed to decipher most of the process up until step where you put the hot pan on a towel for some reason, and then the last step confused me too. Any tips?

                        PS the hot cakes were tasty, but not perfectly round because the batter wound up really dense for some reason and didn't really pour all that well. maybe i need one of those fancy gravy spoons.

                        PPS The syrup that comes in the box is so tasty its like the semen of Zeus. I dont think theres anything that wouldnt be enhanced by a drizzle of this sacred elixir.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: TDFlynn
                          JeffW RE: TDFlynn Jul 25, 2009 02:42 PM

                          Greetings all,

                          I'm now the proud owner of this mix. As soon as I figure the equivalent of 100CC of milk, into ounces, I'm good to go! Admittedly I am obsessing over the hot pan on a wet towel, and then cooking on a lower flame direction. The Japanese grocer tried to explain this to me. Has anyone ever had success just making the mix, and dolloping the batter onto a moderately hot electric griddle??? Any help would be welcome.
                          Have a great weekend

                          1. re: JeffW
                            jackie2830 RE: JeffW Jul 25, 2009 02:49 PM

                            JeffW - 30 cc = 1 oz. [retired nurse] it should be on a Pyrex glass measuring cup
                            TDFlynn - don't worry about the thickness of the batter. I make the very famous Clinton St. Bakery pancakes & you could turn the spoon upside down almost without losing a drop.....but they are the lightest pancakes in the world. BTW.......semen of Zeus????? Sure isn't NYS pure maple!

                            1. re: jackie2830
                              JeffW RE: jackie2830 Jul 25, 2009 06:27 PM

                              Hee, hee---I giggled too regarding semen of Zeus! Actually quite clever. Thanks for the "CC" conversion. The package calls for 100 CC....difficult to imagine a mere 3 1/3 oz of milk for the 150 g. packet of mix----but if you say that the thick batter will still yield a light pancake, I'm game to give it a try. Thinking that I should have some donuts as "backup", should the Morinaga experiment fail :)

                              Cheers and thanx,

                          2. re: TDFlynn
                            buttertart RE: TDFlynn Jul 26, 2009 07:05 AM

                            Semen of Zeus is my nominee for best CH food description of the month, perhaps the year.

                            1. re: buttertart
                              JeffW RE: buttertart Jul 26, 2009 07:39 AM

                              Yep, admittedly I'll probably borrow this "term of endearment" when I describe foods as well.

                              1. re: JeffW
                                jackie2830 RE: JeffW Jul 31, 2009 04:29 AM

                                My husband did a chuckle as well on the Zeus "term of endearment'.........must be a guy thing.........not sure most females would use that metaphor to describe something that's yummy.

                                1. re: jackie2830
                                  buttertart RE: jackie2830 Jul 31, 2009 09:46 AM

                                  I (F of course) might not use it myself, but it's a great turn of phrase.

                                  1. re: buttertart
                                    jackie2830 RE: buttertart Aug 2, 2009 06:11 AM

                                    Agreed ;)

                          3. m
                            mnms710 RE: tokoyoko Jul 25, 2009 08:10 PM

                            There is actually a cool video showing how to make the pancakes(its in Japanese).
                            When you get to the site just click on the area that says click and your windows media player will pop up and a cool video detailing on how to make the pancakes will pop up.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mnms710
                              JeffW RE: mnms710 Jul 26, 2009 07:38 AM

                              Nice tip, mnms710 ! Still not sure what the "wet towel" aspect is all about though. In the video, they show a couple of the pancakes which had risen VERY high, right next to a couple that were thin, and if I understood Japanese, well I guess I would be able to see what made them so different. In any event, I'm going to use my electric Farberware griddle at a slightly lower temp than my usual 350º setting that I use for pancakes, and hope for the best.

                            2. t
                              Takat RE: tokoyoko Jul 31, 2009 08:17 AM

                              Oh my gosh I have to find these. What was the name of the store you went to?

                              Writing away about my latest 3 week adventure through China at http://katacomb.blogspot.com

                              1. trolley RE: tokoyoko Aug 2, 2009 04:19 PM

                                these are the pancakes i grew up with. my mom would rarely let us have them as she said they didn't have anything good in them. imagine the disappointment I encountered when I moved to the states and had US pancakes. you can also make doughnuts with the mix.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: trolley
                                  jackie2830 RE: trolley Aug 4, 2009 05:46 PM

                                  trolley, check this out..........http://altjapan.typepad.com/photos/te... some homeland humor especially for you from some real U.S. pancake lovers!

                                  1. re: jackie2830
                                    greygarious RE: jackie2830 Aug 4, 2009 07:08 PM

                                    link broken

                                2. k
                                  kayowinter RE: tokoyoko Oct 31, 2009 07:14 AM

                                  I found a box of this at Hmart in Burlington and decided to try them based on this thread that I had read before. I looked at all the links and I agree - not sure what the deal is with the wet towel and the pan then returning to the stove, I suspect it is the Japanese way of testing if things are the right temp. After a couple of trial runs I figured that with my gas stove on med low flame and 3/4 cup batter in a nonstick pan, flip once then cover the pan with a lid (not smash the face of the pancake like the humor link) yielded a very, very high light and fluffy pancake. Almost unnaturally so. No one has posted what is supposedly in these so on my box there was an english translation of ingredients that were as follows:
                                  wheat flour, sugar, palm oil, wheat starch, salt, corn syrup, baking powder, (corn starch, calcium sulfate, calcium acid sulfate) as emulsifier (soybean origin), sodium caseinate, artificial flavor, riboflavin.
                                  That is verbatim. There are also packets of syrup that amount to glucose/sugar/cornsyrup and caramel coloring that I didn't try.
                                  These are very weird but very delicious and I've decided I don't know what magic/chemicals make them this way but I want more!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: kayowinter
                                    Tripeler RE: kayowinter Nov 1, 2009 04:03 AM

                                    Japanese food processors are remarkably skillful at doing these kind of products. What they are particularly good at is making products like this come out perfectly under a wide range of preparation conditions. That said, try something like Bisquick and see how it compares with Morinaga.

                                    1. re: Tripeler
                                      kayowinter RE: Tripeler Nov 1, 2009 10:34 AM

                                      growing up Bisquick was my mom's go to for pancakes - Morinaga is nothing like a Bisquick 'cake. The irony is...my mom is japanese!

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