The abundance of chives and green onion on my balcony garden has led me once more to look for new dish ideas. As a result I found one of most original ways to cook canned tuna and made my very first Okinawan dish. This deliciously addictive pancake proved also an excellent occasion to take out the rectangular pan previously used only for Tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelette) and practice the tricky rolling process.
Encouraged by the fantastic Udon and Spring Onion Burgers, I decided to continue browsing through Japanese recipe sources. When I read this pancake had Okinawan origins, I was thrilled to learn a Japanese regional dish. I learnt from this website that “Hira Yachi” (ヒラヤーチー) is the Okinawan dialect version of the term “hirayaki”, which means roughly “flatly fried”. In fact, all the other Hira Yachi I saw on internet are fried in one thin layer, so I guess I was lucky to stumble upon this unusual rolled version published on Cookpad by Kirakira. Of course, this pancake can be made flat and then rolled on a plate, but finding a second use for my tamagoyaki pan was such an exciting perspective, I wouldn’t even consider skipping this step!
It’s difficult to describe the flavours of this pancake, but it tasted much better than I imagined. Most of all it is really pleasantly chewy and slightly bouncy, so a pure delight if, like me, you are a fan of such textures. I love dried bonito flakes, but instead of adding it into the batter I sprinkled them on top. The author suggests Worcestershire-style sauce or okonomiyaki sauce, but I found thick chilli oil (taberu rayu) the ideal pairing. I have also used much less flour, so go to Cookpad to see the original Kirakira’s recipe and the step-by-step photographs (here is the Japanese version in case you are interested; strongly recommended for all the Japanese learners who are also passionate cooks).
TIPS: If you cannot get garlic chives, use normal chives or green onion leaves and grate one small garlic clove (this is what I did).
If you don’t want to roll this pancake, simply fry it flat making several thin pancakes (the amount will of course depend on the pan size).
Preparation: about 15 – 20 minutes
Ingredients (serves two as a snack):
sesame oil (or any cooking oil) to fry
100 g flour
pinch of salt
150 ml Japanese dashi stock (I have used this “emergency” shortcut dashi recipe)
80 g (a small can) drained tuna (I buy only white tuna, but any tuna would be ok here)
katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
several leaves of garlic chives (nira); I have used green onions and small garlic clove instead (see the TIPS)
In a bowl combine the flour, the egg, the stock, the salt, the tuna and the chopped garlic chives.
You should obtain a pancake batter consistency, so adjust the flour or stock amounts accordingly.
Heat some oil in a pan and heat it (the best would be rectangular, but a round pan will do the job too).
Pour a thin layer of the batter and cook it al low heat; when it’s half set, lift the pan from the heat and start rolling the pancake. (I found that rolling in the direction towards me was easier.)
(Either finish here your rolled pancake and continue the same way with the rest of the batter or, like me, roll the second layer.)
Push the roll towards one side of the pan (the the handle side is more practical).
Grease the pan once more, holding the soaked paper towel in chopsticks.
Pour once more the same amount of the batter. Spread it evenly, moving the pan.
Make sure it arrives under the rolled first part of the pancake (lift the roll slightly while spreading the mixture).
When this portion is almost cooked, lift the pan from the heat and roll the pancake, starting with the roll you have previously made. Take the roll out of the pan.
(Do not make a third layer or the pancake will become too thick and soft – I have tested it -, so if you are left with some more batter, make a second rolled pancake.)
Squash slightly the roll with a wide spatula, transfer it onto a chopping board.
Let it cool down slightly and cut into equal pieces.
Serve with katsuobushi, green onions and chilli oil if you like it.