Welcome to Our Pancake Blog

Welcome to Our Pancake Blog!

So, what does a married couple with no children and free time do? Why think of creative ways to eat of course. So begins the Around the World in Pancake Sundays project.

One day while eating pancakes made from sprouted wheat and chocolate chips, we started talking about how fun it would be to eat a different type of pancake each Sunday. I know, you must be stuck on the whole sprouted wheat pancakes. I'm sure many are thinking eeeeewwww, sounds yucky right now. However, they are actually quite tasty. We were given our first taste of them by a friend last New Year's Eve (well, technically the morning after New Year's Eve). We were so enamored of them that we went searching for our own sprouted wheat to make some for ourselves a couple of months later.

O.K., enough digressing. While eating the above mentioned pancakes, the conversation started about eating a different type of pancake each Sunday. We began to wonder if we could find a different type of pancake for each Sunday for a whole year. So we set ourselves the challenge of finding a unique pancake recipe to try out each Sunday.

We continued to talk about this idea for the next couple of weeks. We started thinking about how most cultures actually have their own versions of pancakes. This led us to try to find a pancake from each country in the world. We finally began our project last Sunday, and decided to chronicle it here in this blog.

So welcome to our pancake blog, we hope you enjoy it as much as we are sure to enjoy making and eating them! Heck, we hope you make some and enjoy them too!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Black Eyed Peas Please - Benin

Our pancake travels now take us all the way from the Caribbean to northwest Africa.  I will say that our journey to discover pancakes in Africa has been a big challenge thus far.  We were unable to find a recipe for the last African country we visited.  We feared the same might be true for Benin, but we eventually stumbled upon (no, not my new addiction stumble upon, we literally stumbled upon it through old fashioned web searching) a website called Food and Cooking in Benin from the University of Pennsylvania.  Here we discovered that they eat a food for breakfast called akara in Benin.  Next we searched for akara recipes, and we discovered they are a bean type of pancake (because black eyed peas are really a type of bean and not a pea).  Alright!  Now we have a name to search for a recipe.  Well, the only akara recipes we were able to find were for Nigeria.  We decided to go ahead and make the Nigerian akara recipe since they border each other.  We figured it was probably the same type of preparation in both countries.  If anyone from Benin happens to read this post and wants to email me their version of the bean pancake, let me know and we'd love to make your version!

So here we go with the akara recipe I found.  This is what you'll need to make akara:

1 bag of black eyed peas (I don't remember what size bag we used, but it was just the normal size bag you find in the grocery store)
1 large pinch of salt

First you need to bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Place the beans in the water and boil for 1-2 minutes.  This is so that you can loosen up the skin on the outside of the beans.  After boiling, strain the water out of the beans.

Alternatively, you can also soak the beans for an hour or so.  Now, if you take a look at this video, they say it is easy to take the outer skin off of the peas once it's been boiled.  However, we didn't find it so easy to take them off.  We watched almost an entire football game (which was pure torture for me as I loathe football) while we tried peeling the skins off.  It was a terrible, time consuming process.   Here are some pictures we took during this process:

The first picture was after about 15 minutes.  This next picture is after a little over an hour.

Despite the fact that it looked like we had made good progress, we hadn't.  We still had a lot of beans to take the skin off.  We were tired of this process and felt like we had enough beans to make a few bean pancakes, so we stopped peeling the skin off of the rest.  When you are finished peeling the skin off, you'll end up with an entirely white bean left.  Place the beans in a blender and add enough water to make a thick paste.  I can't give you exact measurements for this since we didn't use the entire bag of beans.  I will show you some pictures though!

Once you have a thick paste, you're ready to scoop tablespoonfuls of the paste into a preheated pan of oil.  I believe we used vegetable oil this time instead of olive oil.  As always, use whatever type of oil you prefer.  Gently flatten the mixture with the back of the spatula until you have a pancake shape.

Cook 3-4 at a time until golden brown on both sides.

While we didn't get as many as I'd hoped (because we were tired of peeling off the skin), we did get quite a few considering we only used about 1/4 of the bag of beans to make them.

If I could find an easier way to take the skin off of these, I would definitely make these again!  These were fantastic!  Besides being tasty, they also give you a large amount of protein per serving (1/2 cup of blacked eyed beans contains about 19 grams of protein).  So despite the fact that they are fried in oil, at least you're getting a nice amount of protein as well.  If you have the time to spend and are brave enough to peel them, go ahead and give these a try.  Enjoy!

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