What binds us together as human beings? Family, consciousness and the need for belonging all spring to mind. However, possibly the most important thing that unites us around the world is our love for pancakes.
No matter where you are in the world, every cuisine in every culture pays homage to the humble pancake. And why ever would they not? Pancakes are great. So great, in fact, that humans have been tucking into the round, cylindrical delights for some 30,000 years. Archeologists have found evidence of starch grains on grinding tools, suggesting that cooks as far back as the Stone Age were mixing flour with water and baking it on a hot, greased surface.
Sweet, savoury, fluffy, fermented, stuffed, and sauced. There’s a pancake for everyone and every mood. Read on to find out which pancakes you absolutely must try before you die.
Sour fermented flatbread used in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Somewhere between a crêpe and a crumpet. Delightfully sour in taste, owing to its fermented properties. Lentil, veggie or meat stews such as fiery Doro Wat (a popular spicy chicken stew) are served on top of the injera, inviting you to eat with your hands and scoop up the stews. Injera is made using teff flour, the world’s tiniest grain and also one of the earliest domesticated plants, originating in Ethiopia between 4000-1000 BC.
South Indian savoury pancakes and an extremely pouplar breakfast treat. A fresh batter can take quite a while to make, sometimes up to 24 hours, and consists of soaked rice and urad dal (lentils). However, using a pre-made batter is both convenient and just as good. Dosas are possibly one of the lightest pancakes you’ll ever eat and quite honestly, one of the tastiest. Pocket your dosa with a tangy sambar and a fluffy, moderately spicy potato filling. The world's longest dosa (our kind of dosa) is 16.68m long.
Shoutout to all the indecisive people out there. This is one for you. When you can’t think of one particular thing that you fancy, just have it all. Okonomiyaki is a mix of batter made with egg, flour, root veggies and shredded cabbage with pretty much anything you like. The clue's in the name. ‘Okonomiyaki’ means: 'grilled as you like it'. Popular toppings include spring onions, shrimp, squid, dried bonito flakes, pickled ginger and heaps of Japanese mayo (aka liquid heaven): kewpie.
Popular street food of Nha trang and also known as wet cakes. They’re paper thin and translucent, made with rice flour and tapioca. Usually steamed and filled with savoury fillings such as pork and fried shallots.
Japanese Fluffy Pancakes
You might as well be eating a cotton cloud. These incredibly fluffly pancakes are almost too good to believe they exist. They’re airy, delicate and dangerously easy to gobble down. This takes comfort food to an entirely different dimension. To make the soufflé pillow effect, egg yolks and egg whites are separated and beaten to make a meringue. The batter is then gently folded into the stiff peaks.
Vietnamese cuisine celebrates variety, harmony, and soothing fresh herbs, but that doesn’t mean the resulting food has to be conservative or understated. The Vietnamese ‘banh xeo’ literally means ‘sizzling noise cake’, presumably because of what happens when the turmeric and coconut milk-enriched rice flour batter hits the pan and starts its characteristic crisping up. The batter is dyed a distinctive turmeric-yellow shade and develops a beautiful, lacy edge as it fries.
Galette: France, Brittany
Similar to crêpes but made with buckwheat flour, instead of all purpose. Usually found in the savoury variety and most delicious when egg and garlic mushrooms are invoved. Galettes were actaully invented by sheer accident. A farmer spilt buckwheat porridge over a hot surface and ouila! The galette was born!
Food porn if ever we've seen it. A light, fluffy and caramelised pancake, baked in butter and laced with raisins, rum and sugar...
Originally created for emperor Francis Josef and his wife Elisabeth of Bavaria. Elisabeth hired a chef to create a dish to help her maintain a small wasteline. Based on the above description, you can understand why Elisabeth refused to eat it based on the grounds that it was too rich (not exactly a weight watchers delicacy). An exasperated Francis exclaimed 'now what is this schmarrn (nonsense) our chef has created!'. The emperor took one bite and the dish soon became the most famous dish across the German-Austian empire, named Kaiserschmarrn (the king's nonsense)