Tag Archives: Pancake

Recipe: Baobab Pancakes

Baobab Pancake

I make baobab pancakes by replacing two tablespoons of white flour with baobab powder. The resulting flavor and chew reminds me of pancakes with yogurt or buttermilk in the batter.

I have been using the same standard pancake recipe for four or five years. I found this recipe on seriouseats.com, I think. As you can see in the recipe below, I no longer measure the milk that I add though it’s probably about two cups. I start with a cup or so and then add more, a tablespoon or two at a time, until I have the consistency I want. The thinner the batter, the thinner the pancake. I prefer my batter to have a consistency of a drinkable yogurt or just slightly thicker than Hershey’s chocolate syrup. At this thickness the batter will cook into pancakes between a quarter and a half inch thick.

Resting the batter helps the batter blend so don’t worry if there are some lumps in your original mixture. It also tends to thicken the batter a bit, thus I start with the batter a little thinner than I want to cook with. After the initial mixing, let the batter rest on the counter for five to ten minutes while you make a cup of coffee, fry up some scrapple or check the score of last night’s game. Then stir the batter and check the consistency. Adjust by adding a little milk or a little flour, a tablespoon or less at a time. If you use a hot non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron pan, no grease is necessary. Though butter makes ‘em better.

Baobab Pancakes: 4 servings

2 2/3 C             white flour^

1/3 C                baobab powder^

4 t                    salt^

3t                     baking powder^

2 T                  sugar^

2                      eggs^

2 T                  vegetable oil^

2 – 3 C             milk ^

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. The batter should be the consistency of a drinkable yogurt. Let the batter rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Add a little milk if its too dry or a little flour if its too wet.
  5. Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan until hot but not smoking. Add some butter or oil if you want. Or don’t. Put a ladle full of batter in. When small bubbles have formed and burst all over the pancake, flip it. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Enjoy.

^          Ingredient purchased in our town and used by locals on a daily basis.

^^        Ingredient purchased at supermarkets in Porto Novo or Cotonou that cater to wealthier Beninese and foreigners.

^^^     Ingredient sent courtesy of friends and families in care packages.

 

Pancakes with Fried Egg and Avocado Sauce

Pancakes with Avocado SauceNot having a  fridge severely limits our pancake toppings. Or expands the possibilities, depending on how you look at it. I decided to take a recent batch of pancakes towards the savory end of the spectrum with an avocado, basil and lemon topping. I mashed the ingredients together in my mortal and pestle with some salt and pepper. The final product was edible but I wouldn’t make this again. Back to the drawing board.

Five Spice Banana Pancakes

Me and Jen’s Sunday morning tradition in the States: pancakes. After ten weeks of living with our host family in Porto Novo and eating the same breakfast every day (bread, butter, jam), our first morning in our new house in Benin meant it was time to revive a tradition. I made a pot of coffee, put on an old podcast of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and got to work. We didn’t have butter or syrup or jam to put on the pancakes, but they were still a tasty welcome to our new home.

Recently I came home hungry for lunch and tired of the normal Beninese fare I buy for lunch (rice with spicy tomato sauce, spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce, rice and spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce). Pancakes sounded good. Fruit flies hovered around some bananas we’d had for several days, so the bananas needed to be included. I mashed them into the batter. Pancakes with banana… still too straightforward.

Red, green and yellow; here are three of the banana varieties available in our town. All three are ripe and ready to eat.

The day before I’d been at our local outdoor market and saw small baggies of a tan flour for sale alongside the usual offerings of garlic, ginger, onions and hot peppers. Soy flour I was told. I’d been told that people cultivate soy beans locally though I hadn’t seen them in our market. Excited to add some flavor, nutrition and texture to our baked goods, I bought four little baggies, each with about ½ cup of soy flour, for $0.30. I replaced 1/3 of the flour in the recipe with soy flour. A step in the right direction but not yet enough flavors different from what I’d been eating.

I still can’t open our reserve of maple syrup because of a lack of refrigeration so I needed something else to make the pancakes interesting. Cinnamon? Couldn’t find it in my spices. But I did see the Chinese Five-Spice Powder. Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds. Ëëëëëëëëëëëëëëë. (That’s ‘yes’ in our local language, Gun.) That’s what the pancakes needed. I put some in the batter and tasted. I added some more.

The finished pancake had a dark brown hue from the spice mix and the carmelization caused by the bananas in the batter. I slathered a bit of imitation brand Nutella on top and dug in.  A winner.

The next day I made a nutella and peanut butter sandwich with two leftover pancakes for a snack at work. Throughout the morning my mind kept wandering to the tasty treat waiting for me. Later, while working with a colleague, I decided to share some American culture and gave him half of the sandwich. He took one bite, tried to hide the look of repulsion on his face and called another colleague over to let her share in his good fortune. Before she tried it, he said something to her quickly in the local language, of which I understand almost nothing. She thanked me graciously and walked out telling me she would try it soon but that she had to take care of something. I should have hoarded the pancake sandwich for myself. 

 Five-Spice Banana Pancakes

1 C       white flour^

½ C     soy^, whole wheat or other flour

2 t        salt^

1½ t    baking powder^

1 T      sugar^

1 T      Chinese Five Spice^^^

1          egg^

1 T      vegetable oil^

1          ripe banana^

1½ C   milk ^

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. The batter should be the consistency of a drinkable yogurt. Add a little milk if its too dry or a little flour if its too wet.
  4. Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan until hot but not smoking. Add some butter or oil if you want. Or don’t. Put a ladle full of batter in. When small bubbles have formed and burst all over the pancake, flip it.* Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Enjoy.

*The pancakes were a little tricky to flip because the banana made them stick to the pan a little more than normal, so be careful if you use this method.

^          Ingredient purchased in our town and used by locals on a daily basis.

^^        Ingredient purchased at supermarkets in Porto Novo or Cotonou that cater to wealthier Beninese and foreigners.

^^^     Ingredient sent courtesy of friends and families in care packages.