Randy is usually the pancake maker in our house. Breakfast is not my thing and pancakes certainly are not the food I would choose to eat for that first meal of the day. My husband and boys are definitely not in agreement with me on this issue. And so, Saturday mornings, Daddy often makes pancakes.
He uses Bisquick and I stay out of the way. Last week we were out of Bisquick (the horror!), but the boys had been promised pancakes. If you have young children, you know you cannot promise something and not deliver. Especially if it involves pancakes. It does not go well. So, out came my copy of the The Joy of Cooking, which I keep on the heavy rotation shelf for just such occasions.
When Graham came home from school the day I made these, he walked in the house, sniffed, and asked, “What is that smell?” Thinking on my feet, I told him I was making tofu tacos. Did he want to taste one? He proceeded to eat three for a snack, three for dinner, and two for lunch the next day. Randy and I each got to taste one and then had to use tortillas as a wrapper fill-in. Those worked well and the size made this more of a main course so if you want to skip making the pancakes, you have my blessing. (Although they are really easy and satisfying to make.) You will most likely have some filling leftover – it tastes great over rice.
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For the pancakes
1/3 cup boiling water
1 cup flour
For the filling
1½ cups boiling water
1½ ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
1 8-ounce package tempeh, cut into thin strips
4 tbsp. soy sauce, divided
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained
¼ cup sliced scallions
2 tsp. minced ginger
3 tbsp. dry sherry
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
For the pancakes:
Stir water and flour together until crumbly. Shape into a ball and knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is very smooth, about 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then into a 3-inch disk. Brush the top of 1 disk lightly with sesame oil. Top with a second disk. Roll out both disks together into a 6-inch pancake, being careful not to wrinkle the dough when rolling. Cook the pancakes in a lightly greased skillet over medium to medium-high heat until the surface blisters and turns the color of parchment; turn often with tongs. Remove from the skillet and immediately separate the pancakes. Repeat with the remaining disks.
Keep the pancakes warm, loosely covered, in a 200ºF oven. At this point, the pancakes can be wrapped well and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. To reheat, arrange the pancakes slightly overlapping on a baking sheet and bake, covered, at 300ºF until warm, 10 to 15 minutes.
For the filling:
Combine the water and mushrooms and let stand for 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain, reserving the liquid, and squeeze out the extra water from the mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms, discarding the tough centers and stems.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of soy sauce over the tempeh strips. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the eggs and cook without stirring, until they are set but still moist. Remove the egg pancake and cut into small pieces.
Heat another teaspoon of oil in the wok or skillet and add the tempeh. Stir-fry until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms along with the bamboo shoots, scallions, and ginger. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully pour in the mushroom soaking liquid into a small bowl, making sure not to allow the grit from the mushrooms go into the bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, the sherry, cornstarch, and sugar and mix together well. Pour into the wok and boil, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Gently stir in the egg pieces.
Spread each pancake with a bit of plum sauce and spoon on about ¼ cup of the tempeh mixture. Don’t overfill or the pancake will be hard to roll. Roll up and eat!