Japanese Fresh Corn Pancake with Bacon and an Indian Twist

I’ve always been waiting for the asparagus or edible tomatoes, but this is the first year I’ve also been longing for fresh corn cobs. The only reason is this quick dish I saw last summer at 3分クッキング, a fascinating Japanese cookery website (which is also great for language practice!).  As soon I saw it, it wouldn’t get out of my head… a savoury pancake with fresh corn seemed so extraordinary! And so easy! After dozens of cooking sessions I still find this idea fantastic, though I’ve modified this dish several times, of course always keeping fresh corn. This version, with a slight Indian touch, was my very first of this season. My shiso (perilla) plants grow like crazy, so this Japanese herb topping was my first choice, but fresh coriander would have made it even more Indian-inspired.

TIPS: If you’ve never bought fresh corn cobs, slightly press the corn before buying: the softer it is the better. Pay also attention to the leaves the cobs are usually sold with: they should be green and fresh (not yellow and dry). I don’t know why but here some cobs are sold with corn tough as rocks…

The main Indian twist (and an excuse to write about this pancake again!) is my homemade Indian-style spicy tomato chutney and if you happen to have any Indian tomato chutney, I’m sure it would be great. (Turmeric, Kashmiri chilli and chopped green chilli in the batter are the other typical Indian accents).

In the original recipe “tare” (here it means a mixture of water, soy sauce and Korean chilli paste “gochujang”) is brushed on top of the pancake before the mayonnaise is added (in Japan this pancake is called chijimi チジミ and, as all the pancakes bearing this name, Korean-inspired, hence the presence of the Korean gochujang paste).  If you don’t want to prepare “tare”, you can use any sauce you like, preferably chilli-based if possible (such as taberu rayu, a chilli oil with lots of sediments). I think, sriracha with a splash of mayonnaise or thick yogurt would be perfect too.

Preparation: about 40 minutes

Ingredients (for two pancakes):

2 medium corn cobs

a handful of chopped garlic chives (or normal chives/green onion tops+2 crushed garlic cloves) or simply 2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 big medium-hot green chilli (such as jalpeño) or 2 smaller ones, chopped

8 thin slices of smoked streaky bacon, cut each into 4-5 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 coriander or any other fresh herb you like (for the topping)

tomato chutney (see here my recipe) or tare (equal amounts of soy sauce, water and Korean gochujang chilli paste) or chilli oil, preferably with sediments (see here my easy 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

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 mild chilli powder (Kashmiri for example)

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

100 ml (about 3.3 oz) chicken stock or water

1 egg

Cut or break 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 (or garlic), the green chilli 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), top with pieces of bacon and cover with a lid.

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 make 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). Brush the tare or any other sauce over the pancake. Then add the mayonnaise, and (if using) chilli oil and finally chopped herbs.

Do the same with the remaining batter.

10 Replies to “Japanese Fresh Corn Pancake with Bacon and an Indian Twist”

  1. I loved the Korean pancake you made in 2012, I made it shortly after. I know I would love this. Who wouldn’t, the fresh corn and bacon? I can’t do the hot spices and chilis but I know this would have so much flavour even without the heat. It’s beautiful too, I would definitely consider making this dish for a brunch for friends, maybe with a homemade bread. I usually like to grill my corn on the Barbeque, I simply strip the husk off and lightly brush with oil and just rotate the cob as it caramelizes. The slightly charred kernels add so much flavour (I usually do a large batch and cut the kernels off the cobs and freeze), I think your pancake would be quite delicious with the BBQ’d kernels.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. You are so lucky to have a barbeque! I wouldn’t even have enough space on my balcony… I also love grilled corn! Your barbecued kernels sound like a fantastic idea! Let me know if you try them in this recipe. PS Actually, given the presence of flour, I don’t even need any bread or other carbs… which is pleasantly surprising because I tend to have bread with everything!

    1. Thank you, Katerina. Since I can eat it only for a very short period in a year, I don’t worry too much about their sugar content (I guess it’s what you mean).

  2. You are more than welcome to introduce as may pancakes as you wish. I love your pancakes and this one is no exception. Bacon and corn – how can you go wrong? 🙂 And that tomato chutney….you can bet I’ll be making this in August once I’m able to pick some fresh tomatoes. As I said before, I do love all of your pancakes, but this one might just be my favorite.

    1. Thank you so much, MJ, for all the kind words. I still have tomato chutneys from last year…. wish I could give you some… The tomato chutney is fantastic with all the sausages (instead of ketchup for example).

  3. So impressive that you can speak Japanese, I have never met an European person that could. 🙂 Fresh corn is great, but not easy to come by, unless is the vacuum packed sort, which I think is precooked. Would that do?

    1. You are very kind, Adina, but I just speak a bit Japanese (those who finish Japanese at the university really speak it though!). Sorry for answering only now, but I have no idea how it would taste with precooked corn. Probably a bit less fresh, less crunchy but it should be ok. I’m probably lucky because in my city supermarkets sell fresh corn during the summer every year.

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