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, December 2, 2012

To Burundi or not to Burundi? That is the Question - Is the Answer So. Cal.?

So this Sunday finds us having had too much work to do the previous week and no time to do any research into pancakes for Burundi, the next and final country in the Bs.  Seriously, trying to paint a kitchen and get report cards done at the same time are two activities that just don't mix.  Anyway, I digress as I often do, back to the important discussion of making pancakes.

It's now Sunday, and we find ourselves without a pancake recipe and little energy to put into researching one for Burundi.  While waiting for the dog to finish his business so that I could close the back door, I discovered this:

All of my previously slightly yellow, but mostly green lemons had decided to ripen up at the same time.  Yippee!  My mind said, "Let the lemon madness begin!"  I'm always excited by the first big batch of ripe lemons on the tree despite the fact that we pretty much have lemons on the tree year round (just not so many).  Thoughts of lemon cookies, lemon loaf, and lemon curd started dancing in my head!  Anyway, as soon as I saw the number of ripe lemons I was immediately reminded of a lemon poppy seed recipe that I stumbled upon on one of my several forays onto the StumbleUpon website.  It's a blog from a baker named Joy called Joy the Baker, and I remembered thinking how fantastic they looked.  So we decided to postpone our trip to Burundi for a week, and instead we took a detour to our own backyard of Southern California.  As I read her blog, Joy is apparently from So. Cal. too!

So off we go to Southern California.  To make these pancakes, you can look at Joy's site if you'd like to, or you can just continue reading and I'll recreate it here for you.  For these pancakes you'll need the following:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
butter, shortening, or vegetable oil for frying

The first thing you'll need to do is pick your lemons if you're fortunate enough to have a lemon tree in your backyard.

After picking your lemons, you'll need to zest and juice them.  I needed six lemons to get enough zest, but my lemons were a bit on the small side. Once you have your lemon zest, mix it with the sugar until it looks something like this:

Now you're ready to whisk together your dry ingredients.  Sorry, we don't have a picture of the whisked dry ingredients this time.  After you whisk the dry ingredients together, mix in the sugar/lemon zest mixture with a wooden spoon.  Then set it all aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients.

After whisking the wet ingredients together, pour them into the dry ingredients and add the poppy seeds.  Mix with a rubber spatula until everything is combined.  You might have a few lumps in the batter, and this is O.K.  Set the batter aside and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Once the batter has rested, heat up a pan with your oil.  We used olive oil because we though the taste of the olive oil would enhance the flavors of the lemons and poppy seeds.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, ladle batter into the pan.

Let the pancakes cook on one side until they are dry around the edges.

Once they are dry around the edges, flip the pancakes and cook on the other side for a couple of more minutes until the pancakes are cooked all the way through.

Oops!  One of these got a bit too crispy.  A lesson to not walk away from a cooking pancake.  Continue cooking until all of the batter is used up.  Keep the pancakes warm in an oven until you are finished making all of them.  This makes a lot of pancakes!  Joy warns you of this on her site, and she was not stretching the truth at all.  We made 8 pancakes and still had a little bit more than half of the batter left.  We decided to stop making the pancakes after 8, and we froze the rest of the batter as Joy suggested.  This is what we ended up with on our plates:

I must say that these things were just as yummy as they originally looked on Joy's blog!  I loved these and found myself craving more later in the day.  They poppy seeds gave them a nice little crunch, while the lemon flavor was just enough.  It was a very subtle lemon flavor and in no way overpoweringly tart.  It's a good thing I froze the batter, or I probably would have eaten another 10 throughout the rest of the day!  This was a nice little detour from being on the "road" (or should I say in the "air?).

I have one last picture for you to look at:

More flowers on the lemon tree!  Yay!  I was fearful we wouldn't have our normal bountiful lemon crop (usually two harvests, one now and one towards the end of February beginning of March) as the poor tree has been put under a lot of stress over the last 5-6 months.  Now I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing I'll have my second crop of lemons to look forward to as well.  Woohoo!

Is it Burma or Myanmar?

As we researched this week's pancake country, we were presented with a bit of conundrum.  We had arrived in Burma (at least that was where we should be according the the list we were using).  However, upon arriving there we discovered that they call themselves Myanmar, while much of the rest of the world continues to call them Burma.  What are a couple of poor pancake bloggers to do in this situation?  Do we classify them in the Bs, or do we wait and eat their pancakes in the Ms?  After much research into the history of the country's name and and why so many western countries continue to call the country Burma, we discovered that this country's people refer to themselves in both ways, and the official name of the country is much less of a controversy to those outside of the political arena.  So, we went ahead and put them in the Bs for now (who knows, we might decide to revisit them when we get to the Ms as well). 

We discovered that pancakes in Burma/Myanmar are called mont pyar thalet.  Knowing the name of the country's pancake usually makes it pretty easy to find an actual recipe.  This was not the case for Burma/Myanmar.  All I kept finding was a picture of the same pancake with it's name, but no recipes anywhere.  I did finally find a YouTube video for making them; however, it was not in English, and no ingredients were listed anywhere.  Thus, I couldn't even use a translator to try to find out what the ingredients might be.  I was seriously bummed.

I finally found a website that had the recipe for a Burmese pancake, well, sort of.  I found this recipe on the blog of Chili-Lime-Garlic, who was born in Burma.  However she currently resides in the United States.  In her Burmese pancake recipe, she readily admits that she doesn't use the same type of flour that is used in Burma (which is typically rice flour), but instead uses a pancake mix, from what appears to be Whole Foods, as the base, and then turns that base into her version of a Burmese pancake.  Drat!  We don't use no mixes here at Around the World in Pancake Sundays!

So, I continued my search.  Eventually I found a lovely website that focuses on Burmese food from Tin Cho Chaw.  Here I found another type of recipe for Burmese pancakes.  So we decided to make this version of pancakes, thus, we bookmarked the page and thought nothing more about it.

Well, once again, we should have done a little bit of planning ahead.  As we woke up on Sunday morning, we discovered that we didn't have the red beans necessary for the filling.  We also didn't have the time to prepare it.  So what we decided to do was use the pancake recipe from Chaw, and use the "filling" from Chili-Lime-Garlic.  Then we would have all of the ingredients for the Burmese pancakes.  So now we're ready for the ingredients used in this week's pancakes:

160g self rising flour
80g rice flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
100ml coconut milk
300ml water

sliced almonds
poppy seeds
shredded coconut
oil for frying

The first thing you'll need to do is toast up the sliced almonds a little bit.  Put them in a heavy skillet, and heat while stirring until just lightly browned.

Next you can mix together all of the dry ingredients (the self rising flour, rice flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar) using a whisk.

 After they are all mixed together, you'll probably need to whisk the coconut milk in a separate bowl since it has likely separated in the can.  

After the coconut milk has been mixed, you can add it along with the water to the dry ingredients until you have a runny batter.

 Now it's time to let the batter rest for 10 minutes.  While you're waiting, get your crepe pan out and some oil.  Also get some shredded coconut out and ready to put on your pancakes.  After the batter has rested, heat and oil your crepe pan, and then ladle some batter onto the pan and swirl in the usual manner until the entire pan is covered with batter.

I think my batter might have been a bit too thick since it didn't spread as nicely as a thin batter usually does, and the pancake ended up being quite a bit thicker than I expected.  I went with the batter as is instead of making any adjustments.  If I were to use this recipe again, I'd probably thin the batter out a bit more.  Anyway, after putting the batter in the pan, sprinkle the slice almonds, grated coconut, and poppy seeds over the top.  

Cook until batter is mostly dry on top, and then flip pancake to finish cooking.  It took about 3-5 minutes for it to cook on the first side.  We finished up with another 2 minutes on the other side.

When the pancake is cooked, remove it from the pan and keep warm in an oven or under a clean towel.  Continue cooking in the same manner until all of the batter is used up.  When you're finished, you'll have pancakes that look like this:

I have to say that these were just O.K.  There was nothing utterly fantastic about them, and to be honest, they were a bit dry (taking us back to my whole theory that my batter might not have had enough liquid in it).  We will likely be visting this country again when we get to the Ms, and this time we'll make sure we have the red bean filling to do the original recipe correctly.