Pancakes must rank among the most popular breakfast options in many countries and one of the fastest breakfast dishes you can rustle up (perfect for singletons!). Apparently, it was even eaten in prehistoric societies in a rudimentary form. They are also called flapjacks in the US, pikelets in Australia (a smaller version), and crepes in France (a thinner, lacy version).
In my native town of Mahe, which was once a French colony in India itself, I remember my grandmother used to make something called "ottayappam" (called so because of the holes-"otta" in Malayalam-on its surface). This was an evening snack, served with coconut milk and sugar (recipe given below). She had a special clay pot for making this, which had a concave shape and an identically-shaped lid. When I started making pancakes, I correlated it with the "ottayappam", as I remembered my grandmother saying it was French in origin and had almost the same ingredients as the pancake, with the exception of the addition of coconut milk, which I figured must have been a local adaptation made to an essentially French recipe.
I love having pancakes for breakfast, with a good dollop of butter and an equally generous serving of maple syrup. My son also enjoys this, but I make sure to add some grated apples in his pancakes and substitute half the quantity of all purpose flour with wheat flour instead.
In this day and age of ready-to-make pancake mixes, I'm sure many of you will be wondering why on earth would anyone want to make a pancake from scratch?! That was what I thought too until I used a recipe of Nigella Lawson's to make a home-made pancake mix---and have never looked back! I admit ready-to-make pancake mixes have their advantages, if you're feeling especially lazy or have some unexpected guests drop in for breakfast, etc. I used to use Betty Crocker's mix, which is great, but after watching the lovely Nigella drool her way through her own home-made pancake mix, I thought if the one and only Nigella (my domestic Goddess extraordinaire!), rustles up her own mix at home, why should I buy mine from a store? So I'm giving you the recipe for that, which makes about half a kilo of pancake mix. Just take out the appropriate measures (in cups) of the mix each time you want to make the pancakes.
Recipe #1: Nigella Lawson's Ready-to-Make Pancake Mix
- 600 grams all purpose flour (maida)
- 50 grams baking powder
- 50 grams Castor sugar
- 2 teaspoons soda bicarbonate
- 1 teaspoon salt
Just sieve all this together, mix well with a spoon, and store in an airtight jar.
To make the pancakes (roughly 4 to 6):
- Take out 1 cup of this mix in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center, and stir in 1 cup milk, 1 beaten egg, and 1 teaspoon melted butter. Stir well to make sure there are no lumps.
- Heat a nonstick griddle or tava and pour one spoon (about 1/4 cup) of the batter on it. You can either spread it out if you want it thin or just leave it as it is to be thick.
- When bubbles arise on one side, flip it over and cook till that side too is done. It will be brown and dry. This will take about 1 minute on either side and is best done on a low flame.
Serve with honey/golden syrup/maple syrup, fresh fruit like bananas or strawberries, or a fruit crush (you can make a fruit crush with some strawberries or similar fruit, sprinkled with sugar, and cooked on a low flame until the water oozes out. Spread this on the pancakes and serve)
Recipe #2: Ottayappam
Makes 4 to 6 appams (rough estimate!)
- 2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
- 1 egg
- Half to one cup coconut milk (the second extract-if you are using freshly extracted coconut milk. If using coconut milk powder, then mix in 25 grams coconut milk powder with half to one cup warm water).
- Heat a nonstick griddle/tava.
- Pour the batter on the griddle with a spoon (about 1/4th cup each), spread it till it is just about 2 inches in diameter. Wait till bubbles arise on one side and then flip over and cook till bubbles arise on the other side too. This will be white in color even when cooked. Do not use oil or butter.
- Serve with sugar sprinkled on top and coconut milk (the first extract-if you are using freshly extracted coconut milk. Otherwise, just mix in another 25 grams of coconut milk powder with one cup warm water. Or substitute with plain milk).