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, November 18, 2012

The Land of the Magical Fruit - Burkina Faso

This Sunday brings us to Burkina Faso, and I must say that I'm quite ecstatic to be writing a post about it on the same day that we actually ate the pancakes.  Woohoo!  I guess that's what happens when you have the following week off of work and none of your errands seem all that pressing.

For those of you familiar with the old saying about beans, you might have already guessed from the title of this post that this week's pancakes involves beans, black eyed peas to be more specific.  Our visit to Burkina Faso takes us back to the African continent this week.  It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the region that Burkina Fasoans eat a bean type of pancake just as those residing in Benin.  Burkina Faso and Benin border each other for a small portion of each's border.  Of course I had no clue about this until I started my research for this week's pancake, that's half of the fun of this project, discovering new and interesting facts about the world and its people.

As frequently happens with me, I digress once again.  I actually found two different types of foods that were listed as pancakes in Burkina Faso, the one that involved black eyed peas and another one called Banfora.  After looking at pictures of Banfora, we concluded that they were more of a fried biscuit type of food, so it disqualified them for eating on this Sunday.  I was really bummed, because I wasn't really looking forward to the time consuming work of making a bean pancake.  For anyone who hasn't read my post on Benin, you can go here to check it out and understand my dread. 

So I began doing more research on this bean style of pancake, and much to my surprise I found that some Burkina Fasoans do not peel the skin off of the black eyed peas.  Yay!  We obviously decided to use one of these recipes.  Also, unlike so many other times, we actually looked at the recipe the day before to make sure any soaking batter rest time issues would be taken care of ahead of time.  If you decide to make these, make sure to soak the beans in water overnight in the refrigerator.

Now on to the recipe.  Here is what you'll need to make the bean cakes:

14 ounces of dried black eyed peas
half of a small onion, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

As I stated above, you need to soak the black eyed peas overnight in the refrigerator, so rinse and cover them with water, and then put them in the refrigerator.  When you wake up in the morning, drain off the soaking water, and rinse well.


After rinsing them, place the black eyed peas in a large stock pot and cover with water.



Now comes the wait time.  Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.  Since I had so much wait time, I decided to roast some butternut squash and prepare the rest of the ingredients to make butternut squash soup later in the day.  After the beans are finished cooking, drain off the water again and set aside to cool.  While the beans are cooling, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Chop the carrots and onion.


O.K., I forgot to mention that while we did look at the recipe to make sure we did all of our pre-soaking, etc., we did forget to buy carrots the day before at the grocery store.  So, Sam had to rush to the grocery store to get some.  Fortunately it is only a couple of blocks away.  After chopping the onion and carrots, beat the egg.


Now you're ready to mix it all together in the blender.  We put everything in the blender all at once, including the salt and pepper.


I do not recommend putting everything in at once, as the above picture is what you'll get.  You'll get some beans being blended at the bottom, but nothing else happening.  We put some water in to try to help the process out, but didn't have any luck with that.  Since you are supposed to blend it until it's a paste, I didn't want to put in too much water and have it become too liquidy.  I would recommend doing half of the beans, beaten egg, carrots, and onion first.  Then put the rest in and blend the rest.  We did eventually get it into a paste though, it just took a while and a lot of scraping down the sides of the blender.  Here is what it should look like:


We still had some large chunks of onions and carrots because we got tired of scraping down the side and our blender overheated.  Now, the original recipe called for pressing the paste into patties, and then dipping it into flour before frying it.  We tried this, but the paste was just too wet to be able to do this effectively.  I looked at some other recipes, and some called for the flour dipping, while others didn't.  I decided to stop trying to dip them in flour, as it was just making a big mess.  I ended up using a double spoon method to get these into the frying pan.  I first spooned a heaping tablespoon out, then scraped it into the frying pan using another tablespoon.  Then I slightly flattened and shaped the bean pancake.  Sorry we don't have any pictures of this process, Sam didn't appear to take them.  Anyway, fry them until they are browned on both sides (about 5-6 minutes per side).


Be careful when you flip these, as they are very delicate and could easily fall apart.  Once they are browned on both sides, remove from the oil and place on a cooling rack to allow the oil to drain off.  We didn't use the entire batter, as it made a lot.  We only used enough to make a total of 6 pancakes.  We decided to put the rest in the refrigerator to see if it would firm up a bit better and make it easier to cook these.  We added some grapes and juice and were ready to enjoy our meal.



These were very yummy, and since the primary ingredient was beans, high in protein as well!  We've decided to use the rest of the batter to turn them into some sort of bean burger for me.  We'll probably put another egg and some sort of bread crumbs in it so that we can make them slightly larger and they'll bind together a bit better.  Thanks Burkina Faso for this magical meal!

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