National Pancake Day: How to make pancakes from every corner of the world

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By: Amelia Hooper

Abi Porter/Flickr

No two pancakes are made the same. 

Sept. 26 is National Pancake Day and pancakes are eaten all around the world.

Sure, we all make them a little differently, so here are five ways other countries make pancakes beyond a traditional stack of buttermilk flapjacks ant breakfast. 

FRENCH CREPES

Who doesn’t know about crepes? This makes me think of my first experience with crepes, in France, no less. People, make these for your kids. Fill them with Nutella. Top them with raspberries. Right now.

From Spicie Foodie.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Unsalted butter for pan

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the butter, until there are no lumps and the batter is well-combined. Set aside for at least 30 minutes (1 hour is better) or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat the crepe pan or regular pan over medium-high heat. Melt a little bit of butter, just enough to lightly coat. Scoop batter into either a ⅓ cup sized measuring cup or a ladle, pour the batter into center of pan. Lift and swirl the batter until you’ve created an even-sized circle. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. The crepe will be slightly crispy around the edges and browned in center. Remove from pan, set aside and continue making crepes until all batter has been used. Every 3 or so crepes, add a little more butter to the pan.

POLISH POTATO PANCAKES

These savory pancakes are known as “placki ziemniaczane,” or a potato pancake. 

From Ren Behan, JamieOliver.com.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. plain flour
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil for shallow frying

Directions

  1. Using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the potatoes and place them into a sieve or colander over a bowl. Using the finer side of the grater, grate the onion and add it to the potato. Using the back of a spoon or your hands, squeeze out any excess water/juice from the potatoes and onion. Discard the liquid, then put the onions and potatoes in the bowl. Add the egg and flour and season with sea salt and pepper. Stir everything together. The mixture should be thick.
  2. Heat a little vegetable oil in a large, flat frying pan. Drop three or four mounds of the mixture into hot oil and flatten to make small pancakes.
  3. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer the pancakes to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat until all the potato mixture is used, adding a little fresh oil if necessary. You can serve the pancakes immediately, or keep them warm, wrapped in tin foil in a low oven.

ROTI JALA

The net-style pancakes are typically used to sop up juices from sauces, stews or curries. Another savory pancake dish, this roti jala from Malaysia would make an excellent side dish with dinner. This recipe calls for a roti mold, but from many of the roti jala recipes I’ve glanced over, any squeeze bottle would suffice. You’re just going for a lacy or netted look when you pour the batter.

From Carey Jones, SeriousEats.com.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Scant ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • 3 oz. coconut milk
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. light vegetable oil
  • Oil for greasing

Directions

  1. Sift flour, salt and turmeric into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix coconut milk and about a third of the water. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Pour in coconut milk mixture, eggs, another third of the water and oil. Using a wooden spoon, gradually incorporate flour into the liquid to make a smooth, thick batter free from lumps. Do not overmix.
  2. Stir in remaining water. Strain batter through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat a heavy iron griddle or nonstick pan over medium heat and brush surface lightly with oil.
  4. Stir batter. Dip roti jala mold into it, filling it about half-full. Moving in steady concentric circles, form fine, lacy pancakes.
  5. Once roti jala is lightly colored, remove using a spatula and place, top-side down, on a plate. (There is no need to cook both sides.) Fold into wedges or form into small neat rolls.

OKONOMIYAKI

You can buy the kewpie mayonnaise and okonomiyaki or tonkatsu sauce in stores, or you can find recipes to easily make your own. In this recipe, they are both garnishes, so it’s up to you if you want to include them at all or substitute accordingly.

From Sydney Oland, SeriousEats.com.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ⅓ cups dashi or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 8 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped raw shrimp
  • 8 scallions, sliced and divided
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 8 slices bacon, sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Kewpie mayonnaise
  • Okonomiyaki or tonkatsu sauce (Japanese barbecue sauce)
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Pickled ginger

Directions

  1. In a large bowl whisk together flour, dashi or stock, and eggs. Add chopped cabbage and mix so the cabbage is gently crushed into the batter. Fold in shrimp and scallion whites, then season with salt.
  2. Heat ½ tbsp. vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add ¼ of the batter, gently pushing the batter down with a spatula until flattened. Cook until underside is browned, about four minutes, then place four pieces of halved bacon on the top side. Gently flip the pancake so that the side with the bacon is now cooking. Cook until the bacon is crisp and the pancake is cooked through, about five more minutes. Serve immediately with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki or tomkatsu sauce, toasted sesame seeds, pickled ginger and scallion greens. Repeat with remaining pancakes.

PANNU KAKKU

Back to breakfast with a super-easy one-batch dish that feeds a family. I’ve made versions of this Finnish pancake before. We called it a puffy-oven pie pancake. I love this because I can make one batch of batter, pop it in the oven and breakfast is served!

From C. Taylor, Food.com

Ingredients

  • 6 
tbsp. butter
  • 1 
cup flour
  • 1 
cup sugar
  • 4 
eggs
  • 2 
cups milk
  • 1 
tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in oven in a 9×13-inch pan; should be sizzling when you take it out.
  3. Meanwhile, mix other ingredients until very frothy. Pour batter into pan with melted butter.
  4. Bake 40 minutes. Eat immediately.

PUMPKIN PIE PANCAKES

From Nealey Dozier, thekitchn.com.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk, preferably whole
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Canola oil (or another other neutral oil), for cooking
  • Powdered sugar, maple syrup, butter and whipped cream, for serving 

Directions

  1. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and spices in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Combine buttermilk, pumpkin puree, egg yolks and vanilla in a blender and process until well-combined. Fold the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until almost combined, but with a few clumps of flour still remaining. Stir the reserved egg whites into the mixture until just combined. Allow the batter to rest for about 10 minutes while preheating the skillet.
  3. Preheat a large cast iron skillet or griddle on medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of canola oil. When the oil is very hot and shimmery, add ¼ cup portions of batter to the pan, pressing it out with the bottom of the measuring cup to help it spread out a bit. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and a bit crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until done, 2 to 2 ½ minutes more. Reheat the griddle before cooking additional batches of pancakes.
  4. Serve the pumpkin pie pancakes with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup, a slab of butter and a pile of whipped cream.
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