I ran across this recipe for pork pancakes on an obscure, now defunct, food blog operated out of a community kitchen in Vancouver.
I had never heard of these before, and they intrigued me. I departed from the recipe they had listed, using it as a basic guide for wrapping the meat and frying the pancakes.
They turned out really nice, and I strongly recommend making these. They’re almost like a version of Japanese niku-man.
What you’ll need for 6 pancakes
- 500g (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1t instant yeast
- 250ml (1 cup) water
- 1 lbs ground pork
- 0.5t five-spice powder
- 2-3t Korean barbecue sauce, or a similar Asian-style sauce that you like
- 1 small shallot or 0.5 onion, finely chopped
- 5 fresh or dried shiitake mushroom, finely chopped (follow reconstitution instructions, if dried)
- Splash of sake, mirin or white cooking wine—optional)
- pork floss (also called yuk sung, pork sung or bak hu)—optional
- sesame seeds for topping—optional—I didn’t use because I’m not a fan of them
What to do
Add the flour to a medium-size bowl. Now, add the yeast to a cup of 100-degree water. Mix the yeast into the water, then add the water/yeast to the flour and mix well. If the dough is too dry, add about 1t of water at a time until you can knead the dough without it sticking, until it is soft and smooth. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic and let the dough rise for at least an hour. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork, five-spice powder, Korean barbecue sauce, shallot, mushrooms and sake, if using. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to get everything mixed properly. When it’s mixed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. You could also mix the filling 24 hours ahead of time so the flavors can meld.
When the dough has risen, knead it again for a few minutes. Weigh the dough and divide it into 6 equal-weight pieces shaped into balls. They should be about 130g, each. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Now for assembling the pancakes. Here’s what to do for each one:
1. Roll out a dough ball on a work surface (floured, depending on the surface) into a disk about 10 inches in diameter.
2. Spread 65-70g of meat across the surface of the disk. Top with pork floss, if using.
3. Cut a slit from the center of the disk to the edge, then move some of the meat away from the slit (you’ll see why when you roll them—if the meet is up to the edge, it will come out of the pancake).
4. Roll the dough along the circumference of the disk to form a cone.
5. The meat cone will look like this when fully rolled.
6. Stand up the cone with the wide end on the bottom and gently push it down into a thick pancake. It will be a little more than an inch thick—as shown in the photos of the cooked pancakes. You could gently roll it with a rolling pin to make it thinner, if you wish.
To cook, fry the pancakes in an oiled nonstick pan over medium heat. If you have an infrared thermometer, the pan surface should be about 325 degrees F. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. After the pancakes have browned on each side, ready a pan cover and add a few tablespoons of water to the pan, then quickly cover it. The resulting steam will help cook the meat. Cook covered, until the water has evaporated.
Check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer. Fully cooked would be about 160-165 degrees in the middle.
You could also bake these in a 400-degree F oven on a sheet pan for about 10-15 minutes. Brush each side with oil and flip halfway through the cooking time. Again, test for doneness with an instant-read thermometer.
Serve hot or warm. Eat with a knife and work or cut them into slices like a pizza.