Fresh corn is the only vegetable I used to eat always in the same way: whole cobs, grilled or boiled, then salted and smothered with butter. Then, two days ago, I was watching a video from 3分クッキング (3-minute cooking), a famous Japanese food program and decided to prepare a pancake they presented. To be frank, I didn’t have high expectations and was simply glad to try something new with fresh corn, but the first bite was so surprisingly delicious, I still keep on wondering how something so simple could taste so good.
I have adapted the recipe to my taste (for example smoked bacon instead of raw pork belly is my obligatory change in most Japanese recipes) and will probably tweak this recipe often in the future. As long as you keep fresh corn and chives or green onions, you can change many things here: if you don’t have garlic chives, use normal chives or green onion and crushed garlic clove instead; you can put on top whatever you want (any fresh seasonal herb you like eating raw, any spicy sauce or seasoning…), etc.. If you can read and understand Japanese, 3分クッキング is a wonderful huge source of easy home recipes with videos changing every week (but written recipes stay forever).
UPDATE: For those who might be interested, a Japanese friend has told me this type of pancake (called “chijimi” チジミ) is considered by the Japanese as Korean-style and is usually inspired by Korean green onion thin pancakes (this one, especially in the original recipe, did contain a big amount of garlic chives, which are quite close to green onion).
TIP: In the original recipe “tare” (here a mixture of water, soy sauce and Korean chilli paste “gochujang”) is brushed on top of the pancake before the mayonnaise is added. I preferred my bacon to stay dry and crips (not moist), so I skipped it and added taberu rayu (thick chilli oil with sediments) instead. It worked perfectly, but it’s up to you which sauce you prefer.
Preparation: about 40 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
2 medium fresh corn cobs (or one very big)
a big handful of chopped garlic chives or normal chives/green onion tops + 2 crushed garlic cloves
6 thin slices of smoked streaky bacon, cut each in 3-4 pieces
mayonnaise (I have used Japanese Kewpie low-fat ; I strongly recommend it because it’s really delicious, especially compared to other light versions)
oil for frying
chopped shiso leaves or chives or any other fresh herb you like (for the topping)
tare (equal amounts of soy sauce, water and Korean gochujang paste) or chilli oil, preferably with sediments (I have used my homemade Japanese taberu rayu), sriracha or any spicy sauce of your choice
6 heaped tablespoons wheat flour
3 heaped tablespoons potato flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
100 ml chicken stock (or chicken stock in powder/cube dissolved in water)
Cut the corn cob horizontally in half, place each half onto a chopping board and cut off the corn, starting from the top (you can also do it with a whole cob, but I found it more difficult).
Put the fresh corn into a bowl, add all the batter ingredients, the chives and mix well.
The batter should be like thick pancake batter, so if you think it’s too watery, add some more flour and if it’s too thick, add more stock or water.
Heat oil in a pan, spread a thin layer of the pancake batter (it shouldn’t be more than 1 cm thick), cover with pieces of bacon and then cover with a lid.
Let it cook at medium heat for five minutes.
Lift the pancake and add about 1/2 teaspoon oil, move the pancake around the pan (it will maje the further frying easier) and flip it. Fry it for 5 more minutes until the bacon becomes crisp.
Place the pancake on a plate (of course bacon side up). If using tare (see the TIP), brush it over the pancake. Then add the mayonnaise, and (if using) chilli oil or another spicy sauce and finally chopped herbs.
Do the same with the remaining batter.