Photos by Shoji Kudaka

Photos by Shoji Kudaka ()

Chinpin is an Okinawan sweet often described as a pancake or crepe flavored with brown sugar.

According to Jitsuyou Ryukyu Ryori, a textbook on Okinawan cuisine, this sweet used to be a special treat made to celebrate Yukkanuhi, a seasonal festival marked on May 4 or May 5 of the lunar calendar.

Today, you can have chinpin year-round at local cafes with a cup of tea or coffee. It’s really easy to make and doesn’t require special ingredients you don’t already have in your kitchen.

The recipe for chinpin calls for brown sugar, which gives it a delicate and restrained sweetness different from traditional pancakes and crepes made with regular granulated white sugar.

Adding to the sweetness is the brown sugar syrup topping which will not ruin the taste of the treat itself. So, let’s dig in and try this Okinawan delight!

Ingredients (for approx. eight cakes)

  • Flour (approx. 600cc)

  • Baking powder (a small spoonful)

  • Salt (a little)

  • Brown sugar (Crushed and powdered, 500cc)

  • Water (600cc)

  • Egg whites of one egg

*Ingredients for brown sugar syrup

  • Water (100cc)

  • Powdered brown sugar (50g)

Recipe (for Chinpin crepe/pancake)

  1. Crush and powder brown sugar.

  2. Pour the powdered brown sugar and an egg white in a pot and mix in water. Smooth out clumps with a whisk.

  3. Heat the pot on a stove with moderate heat while constantly whisking the mixture.

  4. If the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring and continue heating the pot for about five minutes more until the brown sugar melts in the pot.

  5. With a strainer, remove the foam that collects at the top. (If you have a larger strainer, you can carefully pour the hot mixture into a bowl instead.)

  6. Let the mixture cool.

  7. Sift flour and baking powder into a separate bowl.

  8. Pour the cooled brown sugar-egg-and-water mixture into the bowl, and add salt.

  9. Whisk the mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes with a wet towel covering the bowl.

  10. In a pan, pour a little mixture as you would a crepe or pancake. Use oil or non-stick spray so the cakes do not stick to the pan.

  11. As it starts to cook, make sure to roll your crepes.

* Ingredients (especially the brown sugar) can be adjusted to your preference.

Recipe for Brown Sugar Syrup

  1. Pour 100cc of water and 50cc of powdered brown sugar in a pot stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let the ingredients reach a boil.

  2. Once the ingredients start to thicken into a syrup, it is time to top your chinpin!

Bon appetite!

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