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Cooking Japanese in Jamaica - Himawari yaki

Published:Thursday | June 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Ai Irisawa-Coney, Contributor

As I am writing this column, I am enjoying a mushroom and swiss cheese crêpe accompanied by frozen mint lemonade at Tea Tree Creperie.

I'm very excited about this café because I love crêpe and pancakes. In fact, I used to be a regular visitor of a crêpe stall in Camden Rock and Old Dutch in Chelsea, both of which I miss greatly.

I particularly love savoury crêpes and pancakes, over sweet ones like the one I'm having now. On my next visit, I'm going to bring my sister who will be visiting me from Belgium in a few days and try crêpe with nutella and tea.

My mother used to cook Japanese pancakes. One of them is himawari yaki. But this recipe won't be found on any restaurant menu and it doesn't even carry an official name. We just call it himawari yaki since this pancake used to be cooked at fund-raising event for my mother's nursery school 'Himawari' (sunflower in Japanese). The word 'yaki' means pancake, grill or seared.

Himawari yaki is very quick and easy to prepare. Again, like any other recipe I have introduced in my column, you can choose any topping you fancy. Cheese will go well with this, cabbage, chopped tomato, sardine or tuna or absolutely anything you like.

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves 1 person (approximately 8 inches in diameter)


50g flour

60ml water

1 egg

1 stem of spring onion (scallion)

20g Chikuwa (Japanese

fish paste)

pinch of salt

1tbs of soy sauce

1tbs of mayonnaise

1tbs of cooking oil

Cooking Instructions

Finely chop onion and slice Chikuwa (fish paste). If you can't find chikuwa, this can be substituted with any fish paste found at any good supermarket or Asian grocery store.

Mix flour, water, egg and salt until there is no lump.

Heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in frying pan. Then pour half of the mixture in.

Then sprinkle chopped onion and sliced Chikuwa to cover the thin surface of the mix.

Cook it for two minutes on medium heat. Pour the other half of the mix in and continue cooking for another two minutes and then turn and cook for another minute.

Remove himawariyaki from the pan to a plate. Spread one tablespoon of Mayonnaise and equal amount of soy sauce. You can sprinkle some more spring onion for a better flavour.


Try this recipe and let us know how it turns out! Send comments or questions to, or our Facebook page at

- Ai and her husband operate a Jamaican/Japanese food takeout restaurant. She is also a founder of Epiphany Media Solutions, ACI International, Kingston Rock and Recovery Japan.