Go global this pancake day with ten recipes from around the world
Life may have given us lemons this year, but it’s not compulsory to squeeze them onto our pancakes. Instead of sticking to the standard flavours come Shrove Tuesday, why not take a break from the predictable lockdown routine by flipping over to another culinary culture? We’ve put together a list of some easy international variations that will provide just as much fun on 16th February – and with any luck, won’t end up stuck to the ceiling.
These thick, fluffy delights from across the pond are familiar to most of us as an indulgent brunch staple, but there’s something extra special about whipping them up at home. As opposed to the classic mix, the addition of baking powder gives them a beautiful rise, and you can even add cocoa to the batter for an almost cake-like consistency. For a Canadian touch, slather with a classic combo of maple syrup and bacon, or elevate your pancake game further by combining them with Heston Blumenthal’s bacon-infused maple syrup.
Commonly known as Scotch pancakes, drop scones are smaller in size than your average American stack but sweeter and richer in taste. Unsurprisingly, they originate in Scotland, where they were traditionally made by dropping batter onto a metal griddle. Nowadays, a non-stick pan does the job just fine for a lovely teatime treat. We recommend this classic recipe from Mary Berry.
Those looking for a savoury option may want to get stuck into some moreish Japanese street food. Okonomiyaki is made by incorporating meat and vegetables into the mixture, making for a crispy outside and a moist, doughy interior. It’s both nutritious and tasty, and is often served with a combination of okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, seaweed and dried bonito flakes. Check out this easy recipe from Just One Cookbook.
These thin, crispy pancakes hail from South India and are made using a fermented batter of mainly lentils and rice. Traditionally they are served up hot alongside a variety of chutneys, but they are also commonly accompanied by a sambar, a fragrant vegetable stew. They can be shaped dramatically into impressive pyramids, or simply rolled up like a classic crepe. Meera Sodha’s vegan Dosa with coconut chutney and greens incorporates buckwheat into the mix for a fuss-free method that’s both quick and easy to follow.
You’ve probably seen this delicacy smothered with a huge helping of Nutella or cream (a delicious desecration), but for a true appreciation, it’s best to go back to classic French techniques. The Crêpe Suzette elevates this thin pancake with a buttery sauce incorporating fresh oranges and a generous swig of Grand Marnier. Who better to teach you this favourite than Alain Ducasse, who heads his own eponymous three-Michelin-star restaurant at London’s Dorchester hotel. Ducasse’s recipe breaks down exactly when to flip and when to flambée.
If you’ve visited the Netherlands, you might have come across the best word in the history of human language: pannenkoekenhuis. Dutch pancake houses are certainly easy to come by, especially in the capital, but that doesn’t make them any less special. The traditional cooking method involves incorporating fillings into the batter while they are cooking and we recommend this classic recipe which pairs speck or bacon with a mild Dutch cheese like young gouda. For a sweet variation, add sautéed apples or stroop (Dutch syrup).
Though it may sound like we are staying in the Netherlands, these intriguing pancakes are closer to Deutsche babies and originate from the American-German community known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. The puffy popovers resemble Yorkshire puddings, flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon for a sweet spiced note. They rise dramatically in the oven, but when taken out, the pancakes sink and are usually filled with lemon, butter and a sprinkling of icing sugar. Try with Nigella’s tempting topping of berries, crème fraîche and maple syrup.
For another savoury option, it’s worth stepping across to Poland for some hearty potato pancakes. These are great as a side or for soaking up stews, making them perfect for the winter months. If you’ve got some spuds to use up or you fancy an alternative to chips or roasties, try this Eastern European delicacy and you just might be converted. Check out Ren Behan’s recipe with mushroom sauce for a warming vegetarian supper, mix with shredded apple for a sweeter version, or simply serve with soured cream for a quick snack.
These spongey semolina-based pancakes come all the way from Morocco. The North African variety has a unique honeycomb texture which means that though they are much thinner, they are as absorbent and holey as your classic crumpet – and impossibly light. The batter has to be mixed to the right consistency in order to achieve all the air bubbles – try this quick recipe – but when done right they achieve a melt-in-your-mouth softness, which works beautifully alongside the traditional honey-butter sauce.
South America is famous for its corn-based comfort food, and capachas are no exception. Like their cousin, the arepas, these Venezuelan delights are often sold at roadside stands, but they are bigger and usually folded over an indulgent filling. This commonly consists of queso mano, a soft mild cheese favoured by locals, but mozzarella or cream cheese also make a good replacement. Whip some up for breakfast, lunch or dinner using this easy method.