Happy Pancake Day!
In celebration of this delicious day, we thought we’d mix up the lemon and sugar for some international inspiration. True, Pancake Day isn’t celebrated everywhere around the world, but pancakes themselves certainly are. And the best thing is, they take all different shapes, tastes and sizes as you skip from country to country.
So if you want to try out something new today, get a mouthful of these:
Kenyan Style Pancakes
These Kenyan-style pancakes are much like the ones we have in the UK: a cross between the American and the French crêpe, except with a touch of cinnamon or cardamom thrown into the mix for extra flavour.
All you need is:
Butter/ margarine/ vegetable oil
And optional extras:
Ground cardamom or cinnamon (optional)
Get the full recipe from Simba’s Jiko
Make it vegan:
To keep these plant-based, simply use vegetable oil or non-dairy margarine (like Pure or Vitalite) and swap the egg for apple sauce or mashed banana (use one cup of apple sauce or one banana for one egg). Use your preferred plant-based milk, but soya is probably more dependable for baking than a more watery one like almond.
Fluffy Japanese pancakes
If you fancy a thicker pancake today, why not try out these small and fluffy pancakes that we may come across when cycling through Japan in 2020? Made with self-raising flour and baking powder, these tall pancakes should jiggle if you get them right.
To make these jiggly pancakes, all you need is:
Golden caster sugar
Make it vegan:
Again, if you want to keep it plant-based, simply swap the milk for soya and the eggs for apple sauce or banana. You should also make sure to use a vegan vanilla extract (some brands aren’t).
Thai Coconut Pancake
We’ll come across many a coconut as we cycle along the South coast of Thailand for Women V Cancer, but why wait till then to go coconuts?
These Thai-style pancakes will bring you a little bit of sunshine today.
Of course, to make these, you’ll need to add a bit of coconut to your average pancake ingredients:
Eggs (or mashed banana/apple sauce for vegans)
Coconut oil or melted butter
Oil for frying
Roti - Nepal and India
You probably know the Indian and Nepalese Roti. Halfway between a flatbread and a pancake, these thin, wheat wonders are traditionally used to scoop up curry, but as there’s no distinct flavour, they can go with everything, sweet or savoury.
You’ll be sure to come across rotis on our challenges in this part of the world, cycling through Rajasthan and from Mumbai to Goa or trekking through the Indian Himalayas and even the iconic Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
For this simple, sugar-free and vegan recipe, all you need is a frying pan and the following ingredients:
Plain flour – white, wholemeal or half and half
Palačinke – Croatia
The pancakes in Croatia, known as palačinke (pah-lah-CHEEN-keh) are a pancake party pleaser, because they suit all tastes.
They're very thin like French crêpes and you can have them as a sweet or savoury dish. We're hoping to have a taste of these delights in 2020 when we cycle along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia for Women V Cancer, but rather than waiting a year to try, fry them up this Pancake Day in your own kitchen.
To keep it a little bit healthier we’re sharing the savoury version, but to make it sweet, you literally just need to add sugar and vanilla to the mix.
To make these very thin, Croatian crepes, all you need is:
Butter and oil for frying
Make it vegan:
Again, the best egg substitute to use for crepes is apple sauce or banana, but please be aware that these will make your palačinke sweet, rather than savoury. Then just swap the milk for soya milk and opt for oil, instead of butter, for frying.
Bing - China
A healthy, zesty mini pancake from China is called the Bing, made from just flour, salt, veggie oil, water and spring onions. It’s more of a dough than a batter, which means you use only minimal oil to fry them. Traditionally served with soy sauce, this is definitely a contrast to our sweet treats in the UK - and you can gorge on them, along with other, more flavourful Chinese dishes, on our bucket-list challenge trekking or cycling along the iconic Great Wall of China.
All you need to make bing at home is a frying pan and the following ingredients:
Vegetable oil (in this recipe, they use canola)
Chorreadas - Costa Rica
Costa Rica loves its corn, the sacred food of the Maya, Inca and Aztecs. So it comes as no surprise that the Costa Rican pancakes are made from the delicious, golden plant. If you’re lucky enough to travel the gorgeous country (which we recommend you do on our coast to coast cycling challenge), you’ll find Chorreadas on the menu for snack shops and restaurants.
But you can make it in cold and frosty England with the following ingredients:
Fresh sweet corn on the cob
Yellow corn meal or corn flour (masa)
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Banh Xeo - Vietnam
Vietnam is a country full of amazing cuisine. From the steaming hot bowls of Pho (noodle soup) to spicy stir fries and curries to the best coffee in the world, if you’re a foody, you need to visit this place! And we get to taste the country and culture in the best way in 2019, by cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia on an epic challenge that burns off the calories as we consume them!
For now, you can throw some Vietnamese Banh Xeo pancakes together in your own kitchen. This eggless omelette-type pancake is typically mixed with pork, shrimps and onions; but to keep the crêpes super simple and vegan, you only need the following ingredients:
Raggmunk - Sweden
Skip the chips and get your potato fix with these thick Swedish potato pancakes. Not the healthiest of options, but by spud, they are good! You’ll have a chance to enjoy these when we arrive in Sweden on our Husky Sledding Challenge - a great way to warm up after five days in the snow!
For today, you can replicate them in the comfort of your own kitchen following the below recipe. To keep it simple, we've found a recipe with minimum ingredients.
These can be made both vegan or non-vegan with these ingredients:
Raw grated potato
Non-dairy milk (or cow's milk if you prefer)
Margarine (either dairy or plant-based)
Farinata - Italy
Italy isn’t all pizza and pasta! You can enjoy some delicious (and delightfully simple) pancakes in this country, too, ideally to reward the burn in your muscles after cycling from Milan to Venice on our open challenge or for Women V Cancer.
Chickpea flour, olive oil and water are all you need for this mix - and as you bake rather than fry them, they’re guilt free in every way: vegan, gluten free and low in fat! Just mix the ingredients together with water and a pinch of salt, let it sit and then bake.
All you need is a pan and the following ingredients:
Ground black pepper
(Optional) Onion and rosemary
Crêpe - France
We cannot write a blog post about pancakes without mentioning the exquisite French crêpe. Not the healthiest of options, but ooh-la-la, are they delicious. And you have not lived until you’ve tried the crêpes fresh in Paris, made even more enjoyable after 3 days of cycling from London to the city of love (and crêppey deliciousness!).
Make them now using only a frying pan and these ingredients:
Make it vegan
As with the recipes above, to keep it free from animal products, just swap the milk for soy milk and the eggs for apple sauce or mashed banana.
Fancy a healthier, plant-based spin on the traditional crêpe? We've just stumbled across this vegan recipe from Jen Reviews and it's to die for!
Jen's Water Spinach Crêpes with Coconut Cream Sauce are not only delicious but they're also packed full of veggie goodness - so guilt-free in every way. You can gorge on these and get your fix of anti-oxidants, iron, magnesium and much more.
Injera - Ethiopia
In Africa’s Ethiopia, home to the stunning Simien Mountains, the spongy, savoury Injera pancake is the staple for most meals, enjoyed with stews and eaten with your hands. The real deal is made from teff flour and fermented for several days. But as with most recipes, you can cheat and make a quick and simple alternative.
All you need is a skillet and the following ingredients:
Teff or whole-wheat flour (a finely milled type, like whole-wheat pastry flour, works well)
Unbleached white flour
Get the full recipe from Exploratorium.
Have a delicious day
We hope you have fun making these global pancakes in the comfort of your own kitchen. But as we well know, international dishes always taste better when you try them in their country of origin! When in Rome, do as the Romans do and all that! All our overseas challenges give you the amazing opportunity to not only taste the local food, but they also give you a real feel for the local lifestyle, trekking or cycling off the beaten track to quaint countryside, sleepy towns and rural villages.