Pancakes from Around the World
How many times have you attempted to flip a pancake and it’s ended up landing on your floor, ceiling or even your windows and doors (uPVC obviously!)
It’s considered quite a skill to get that perfect flip so your pancake lands comfortably back in the pan without any unsightly edges - all you need to do is combine one confident flick of the wrist with a couple of practises and your skill level will take you from Shrove Tuesday to brunch and beyond.
In other countries around the world, pancakes are enjoyed throughout the year and used in various different delicacies both sweet and savoury. So why should we eat pancakes on just one day of the year?!
From Malaysian Apam Balik to Chinese Scallion pancakes with the addition of a Soy Sauce dip. Pancakes are flipped, filled, topped and feasted on in a variety of ways around the world. To make the most of this fantastic delicacy we’ve found some great alternatives to the average British pancake. Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with some great international inspiration...
Malaysian - Apam Balik
Apam Balik meaning Turnover or Folded Pancakes are made with a rice flour blend, and then stuffed with a sweet filling - usually presented standing upright.
- 1 cup Whole wheat Pastry flour (you can also use All-purpose flour or a combination of APF & WWPF)
- ½ cup Rice flour (for a healthier alternate, use brown rice sugar)
- 2 tbsp Corn Starch
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- ¼ tsp Baking soda
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1/3 cup Sugar
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp Egg water replacer - whisked in 3tbsp (or 1 large egg)
- ½ cup~1cup Water
For the Filling:
- ½ cup Peanuts
- 1 ~ 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1 Banana - medium, chopped
- 2 ~ 3 tbsp Nutella
- butter Melted - as needed
- For the Pancake Batter: Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Whisk the wet ingredients in a measuring cup. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until the batter comes together without any lumps.
- Cover and set the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. I stowed some leftover batter for 2 days and made the pancakes on the 3rd day and they tasted pretty good.
- For the Fillings: Coarsely grind/ chop/ pulse peanuts and sugar, set aside. Keep the chopped banana and Nutella handy.
- To make Apam Balik: Heat a non-stick crepe pan or small skillet on medium flame. Once hot, rub some butter or lightly spray some vegetable oil, then pour a ladle full of batter and swirl the pan around to evenly coat the surface. Let cook for 1~2 minutes and once the top surface dries out and bubbles start to form, sprinkle the fillings and some melted butter on top. If adding banana and Nutella then add them on one half of the pancake, but chopped peanuts can be sprinkled all over the pancake.
- Continue cooking till the bottom is golden brown and crispy, this will take another 1~2 minutes depending on the size of the pan and the intensity of the flame. It might take a couple of trials to figure out the optimum heat level to make good Apam Balik.
- Roll up or fold the pancake and serve immediately.
Chinese - Scallion Pancakes
These pan-fried pancakes are typically made from dough, not batter — they’re divinely chewy, flaky, and savoury - often served with a Soy dipping.
For the Pancake:
- 2 Cups of all-purpose flour/Maida
- 5 Green onions (chopped, green parts only)
- 3/4 Cup + 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 Cup Canola oil
- In a medium bowl add flour and gradually add warm water (approximately 1 tablespoon) and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Knead the dough for about 15 minutes to make it fully smooth and cover with a damp kitchen towel - set aside for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, add flour to your kitchen surface and divide the dough into two equal sized balls. While you are working with one ball of dough make sure to cover the other dough ball with flour to prevent it from sticking.
- Roll the dough into a thin circle for about ⅙ inch thickness. Brush the dough with a teaspoon of oil and sprinkle salt evenly all over the pancake.
- Sprinkle ½ cup green onion/scallions all over the pancake. Roll the pancake from one end to the other and seem the ends.
- Cut the rolled pancakes into 11 two to three inch pieces. Then spread separate each piece into small 5 inch discs. Dust with flour if you find they are sticking to the rolling pin.
- Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a skillet to medium heat and add 4 pancakes for about 2 minutes. When brown spots start to appear flip onto the other side and cook for about another two minutes. Make sure to continuously press the dough for uniform cooking.
- Continue to fry the pancake until you use all of the dough and add more oil if needed.
- Remove from the heat and cut into wedges - enjoy with soy dipping sauce.
Netherlands - Pannenkoeken or Dutch Baby
A sweet souffléd pancake often baked in a large, bigger than 12" pan – topped with sugar and fruit.
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- optional garnishes: powdered sugar, butter, lemon wedges, fresh berries, maple syrup
- Place a 10″ cast-iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs together vigorously until light and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add milk, sugar, salt and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Sift in flour, and whisk just until smooth. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the skillet from the oven, add the butter and let melt completely, swirling the pan to allow the butter to coat the entire bottom. Pour batter into hot pan, and place back in the oven, shutting door quickly so oven loses as little heat as possible.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the sides have puffed up a lot, and the entire top of the pancake is golden brown. Remove from oven and use a spatula to loosen the edges of the pancake. Transfer to a serving platter, dust with powdered sugar and cut into large wedges. Serve immediately.
Korean - Jeon
Finely sliced vegetables, shredded meat or seafood are pan-fried and covered in batter to make Jeon Korean pancakes. These savoury pancakes are often served with a dipping sauce, and are eaten as a starter or snack.
- 75g plain flour
- pinch of chilli powder
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp oil
- 4 spring onions
- trimmed and shredded lengthways
- 100g small cooked prawns
For the dipping sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- pinch of sugar
- Mix all the dipping sauce ingredients together and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the flour, chilli powder and a pinch of salt. Beat together 100ml water, the egg and garlic. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the water mixture, beating all the time to make a smooth batter.
- Heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and cook the spring onions for 1 min until beginning to soften. Scatter over the prawns, then pour on the batter to cover. Cook on a medium heat for 3-4 mins or until the bottom is fully set and turning golden, and the top is beginning to set. Flip over and cook the other side for 3-4 mins more until cooked through. Slice into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.
Get flipping and try out some alternative cuisines from around the world – remember, practice makes perfect, you’ll soon be creating flawless pancakes in seconds!