In a day and age where an English lady such as myself can stroll down to her local health food store (/battle aggressively through rush hour traffic to get to her local health food store if we’re being more honest) and purchase a variety of different seaweeds, pre-sprouted buckwheat and every product to have ever been produced from a coconut there is little excuse for limiting your pancake day experience to a chaos of refined flour and sugar with the only nod to actual nutrition being a squeeze of lemon juice. These days there are people out there turning all sorts of plants into flours or other easily useable versions of there former selves, many of which lend themselves beautifully to the art of perfect pancake production.
Today I am going to go through 3 styles of pancake, all easy to produce and delicious to consume in the hope of getting your pancake imaginations flowing.
First up is the Gram Flour/Besan flour/ Chickpea flour pancake
This flour is gluten free, high in dietary fibre and protein and perfect for a vegan pancake as it does not require any eggs
You will need (for 3 pancakes)
150g gram flour (a flour made from chana dhal, a member of the chickpea family)
½ a courgette, grated
3-4 cauliflower florets, chopped small
¼ of a green pepper, chopped small
cherry tomatoes (around 8 per pancake)
spinach (large handful per pancake)
mushrooms (around 3 large per pancake)
salt and pepper
coconut oil for cooking (or other appropriate oil)
sift the flour and slowly mix in the water (if you are typically a corner cutting cook like myself do not think you can chuck all the water in at once as you will be highly disappointed when you end up with a bowl full of weird yellow lumps)….try making a little well in the middle of your flour and keep stirring just the middle section so the flour is brought into the mix slowly…..also do this first so the mixture can sit while you prepare your veggies, chopping them all up nicely
Mix in the courgette, cauliflower and green pepper (hopefully you have bothered to cut these small enough that they mix in nicely and don’t create huge blocks of veg that will stick out of your pancake) and salt and pepper
Melt a small quantity of coconut oil in a frying pan, when the pan is hot pour it a third of your mixture (may need spreading out and poking around a bit to get the desired shape and thickness)
Cook for 2 mins each side or until both sides are golden brown
Pop it on a plate and quickly fry your mushrooms in a little oil, herbs and seasoning, add the tomatoes then right at the end add your spinach (I add mine after turning off the heat so it just has time to wilt) and some cheese if you fancy it.
….and this is just one idea, you can of course use any veggies you like or have to hand and experiment with adding your favourite herbs and spices to the batter for added flavour
Secondly we have the Quinoa Pancake
Very popular these days quinoa is mainly famous for being one of the only plant products to be a complete protein (as in it provides all the varieties of protein the body needs on its own – hurrah!)
You will need (per pancake)
slosh of milk (I use almond milk)
½ banana (optional for sweet pancake only)
coconut oil for cooking (or other appropriate oil)
whatever you wish to put on top
(if you don’t have quinoa flakes and wish to use whole quinoa you will need to cook it first)
very simple….chuck that all in a blender then in a pre-heated pan with a bit of coconut oil melted in it for cooking
mixture is still fairly thick so spread it out until you have the size you want, cook until golden brown on each side
In my opinion quinoa makes a lovely versatile pancake which you can have sweet or savoury….i have suggested 2 topping options
Savoury: ½ an avodado with a tomato salsa (chopped tomatoes, red onion, coriander, chilli and fresh lime juice – adjust quantities and seasoning to your personal taste)
Sweet: Natural yogurt with fresh fruit
(if you use the half a banana in the mix for a sweet pancake the pancake itself will already be sweet so even the sweet toothed among you should handily avoid feeling the need for any extra sugar/honey etc on top)
and finally the Apple and Cinnamon Oat Pancake
Oats have always been one of my favourites, very filling, always a great start to the day, packed with nutrients and fibre and providing slow release energy so you wont need a mid morning snack 5mins after breakfast…..
to make a pancake with oats you do exactly the same as in the quinoa pancake above, I use
slosh of almond milk
you can just blend that up as it is and put whatever you wish on top but one of my favourite ways to snazz up this pancake is with apple and cinnamon, for which you will also need
½ an apple (I use granny smith, it works best with one with a sharp flavor)
1 tsp cinnamon
blend your initial ingredients, chop up you apple nice and small so it wont cause too much chaos in its new pancake home, add the chopped apple and cinnamon to the blender but just give it a couple of seconds whizz (if you blend it for too long you will not have lovely pieces of apple still whole in your pancake)
fry as usual in a hot pan with a little coconut oil until golden brown on either side
I then just serve this with natural yogurt on top but if you really must you can add a drizzle of honey.
Hopefully this starting point will help you improve your pancake day experience this year, both for your tastebuds and the smooth, healthy function of your lovely insides.