Seven Exotic Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

Japanese dorayaki pancakes

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dorayaki-pancakes

Japanese dorayaki pancakes

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Jian Bing

It is the bold yin and yang contrasts of flavour and texture that make this crisp-fried yet crepe-thin pancake made with mung bean flour so enticing. It’s a firework of taste: the soft egg, crackly wonton skins, zingy coriander, fresh cucumber, and crunchy Chinese leaves and spring onions, plus the sweet-spicy-salty hit of hoisin or chilli sauce.

Jian Bing is one of the world’s oldest street foods, originating in Shandong Province during the Three Kingdom Period (AD220-89) when military strategist Zhuge Liang reportedly had his soldiers cook batter on shields over open fires. Now it is the most popular street food breakfast in China.

Socca

It’s sunshine in a pancake. Easily made with chickpea flour, olive oil and water (gluten-free), Socca is a Nicoise speciality and best served with anchoide, a gutsy anchovy dip. The real deal is Chez Pipo in Nice’s Old Town where it is cooked to order in a mightily impressive wood-fired oven and has a satisfyingly deep, earthy smoky tang. New Middle East restaurant Jeru in London will be cooking up socca in a wood-fired oven in their wine bar. If making socca at home, add a generous teaspoon of cumin to the frying pan to give a toasty, wood-fired note. 

Socca

Socca are savory crépe-like pancakes made with chickpea flour, olive oil, and salt. 

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Arepa

Reflecting Columbia’s growing popularity as a travel destination, Arepas are made from masarepa maize flour (either white or yellow variations are good) which comes pre-cooked, often mixed with herbs, sweetcorn or mozzarella-like cheese and brimming with substantial fillings, such as chicken and avocado, black beans and plantain.

Arepa

Arepa with black beans, cheese and chicken

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Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki means ”as you like it, grilled”. There is no definitive recipe and many restaurants in Japan offer the option of cooking one’s own okonomiyaki over a teppan or a hotplate. Elsewhere, it is more usual to enjoy watching the theatre of its preparation. The core ingredients are okonomiyaki flour containing seaweed and dashi and eggs.

The obligatory topping is shredded cabbage with the addition of seafood, pork and other vegetables. What makes okonomiyaki special are the garnishes: an addictive sweet and sour brown condiment, along with Japanese kewpie mayo, seaweed powder and bonito flakes that dance on the top of the pancake, all imparting umami richness.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a delicious, savoury pancake

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Dorayaki

Legend has it that dorayaki were first prepared when a samurai warrior named Benkei accidently left his gong (dora) behind a farmer’s house where he was hiding out. The enterprising farmer used it to bake “gong cakes”, hence the name. Manga comics have made dorayaki (rather like flat Scotch pancakes) popular among millennials. Soft fluffy dorayaki are traditionally served filled with azuki (red bean) paste and a custard cream, though creative patissiers offer chestnut, matcha and all manner of enticing combinations.

Dorayaki

Dorayaki are very popular among millennials

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Mkate wa maji

Ground cardamom spice makes these Kenyan pancakes distinctive and aromatic. The batter is cooked in a pan with ghee. The pancakes are often served hot for breakfast sprinkled with sugar paired with a cup of strong tea on the side.


Atayef

Middle Eastern pancakes prepared by street vendors in Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, and Egypt. Atayef are only fried on one side and are folded so that one side is lace-like, and the other is velvety and filled with bubbles. They are most usually filled with pistachio or walnuts flavoured with cinnamon and white cheese. They may be either deep fried or simply drizzled with rose water syrup to finish.

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