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Tuesday, February 17, 2015


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It's Pancake Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday)-- I almost forgot! 

What is Shrove Tuesday and what does it have to do with pancakes?  Here's a short history.  It's known as "Mardi Gras" in French-speaking regions (including New Orleans, as I'm sure you are aware). "Mardo Gras" means "Fat Tuesday", the day before Ash Wednesday, when Christian Lent begins.  It's referred to as "Fat Tuesday" because fat and eggs, etc. had to be used up before the Lenten fast. Cakes, rich breads and pastries, and pancakes were made in order to consume these foods and not let them go to waste, and also to let loose and celebrate before the fast. Pancakes seem to be a nearly universal way to celebrate.

I actually had pancakes for breakfast this morning, even though I had forgotten it was Shrove Tuesday. Yesterday I had made some batter for grain and bean-based Indian crepes called Adai.  These were made with soaked, split. skinned mung beans (mung dal), oatmeal and chickpea flour.  They were so easy to make and quick to cook, AND nutritious and delicious. I'll post the recipe soon. (There are two other Indian crepe recipes listed below.)

So, pancakes and crepes can be made out of all sorts of ingredients and they can be sweet or savory.  I've compiled a list (with links to the appropriate blog post) of all the pancake and crepe recipes currently on my blog.  They are all delightful for any meal of the day.  A few can only loosely be described as pancakes, being flat or flattish, but no matter, they are all good!

Of course, being vegan and often low-fat, these recipes are not necessarily the best way to use up fat (and certainly not eggs and milk), but you can always slather them with vegan butter to keep the spirit of the day! And, vegans don't have to "give up" meat, eggs, dairy products and animal fat, but any excuse to eat pancakes!

NORTH AMERICAN-STYLE PANCAKES (or pancakes that are normally eaten with sweet toppings or fillings):


"I wanted a healthful vegan mix that produced a light, fluffy, white pancake (it's full of whole grains, but it looks white!). I also wanted it to have very few additions, so that it was really quick and easy. You only have to add water and a little lemon juice to this mix, and it produces pancakes you can be proud to serve to children, picky eaters, omnis, anybody!"

MULTI-GRAIN, HEMP PROTEIN PANCAKE MIX (There are some options if you don't want to use hemp.)

"Why a hemp pancake mix?
This is a multi-grain vegan pancake mix that I originally devised for a proposed hemp book. That deal fell through, but it's a good mix, and a fun way to add some hemp to your diet. You can read about the ecological benefits of hemp here. Hemp can play a role in an anti-inflammatory diet, since it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp is a good source of fiber and protein, and it is a very sustainable, versatile crop that can grow in North America without pesticides! It is grown in many countries, including Canada, and is considered a good crop to replace tobacco."


"Here is my vegan version [of sourdough pancakes, using whole grain flours. It turned out beautifully! BTW, sourdough pancakes have a slightly different texture from regular pancakes-- fluffy, but a little more "bready". And, of course, with that sourdough tang that I love."

        "BUTTERMILK" PANCAKES (Can be GF and SF)

"Light, fluffy ALL-whole-grain vegan pancakes with the added fiber and antioxidants of flax, cranberries, and pecans. You can use this recipe as a template for plain multi-grain pancakes or pancakes with other flavors, fruits and nuts or seeds...They contain four different kinds of whole grain flour, a combo that makes a very light pancake.  I like to keep all of these flours together in the freezer to have at a moment's notice when we feel like having pancakes, without scrambling around to find everything."

                              BLUEBERRY-OAT PANCAKES (No-Fat)

"This is a great basic high-fiber, but very light and tender pancake recipe, due to the oat flour and wholewheat pastry flour."

                         FAT-FREE WHOLE GRAIN VEGAN CREPES

"When I was at the McDougall Celebrity Weekend in Santa Rosa in June [2008] , we were not supposed to use any added fat or oil, even pan-spray on the pans. I was planning to make no-fat crepes made with whole wheat pastry flour, chickpea flour and oat flour. In the nonstick pans Mary [McDougall] provided, I made about 50 crepes for audience tasting, and then, in the workshop, I made several in front of the audience, with no mishaps. They were very impressed, and Chef Kevin Dunn told me he never would have tried that! This is the crepe recipe I made at that McDougall event."


"Uttapam (or ooththappam or Uthappa) is a South Indian or Tamil pancake-like dish made with a batter of grain (such as rice, semolina or millet), or grain and legumes, similar to dosa batter. Dosa is thinner and crepe-like--sometimes crisp and sometimes softer. Uttapam is a thick pancake, with toppings of vegetables added to the "pancake" when it is just ready to be flipped over. Uttapam is sometimes called an "Indian pizza".  It's a common breakfast and snack food in Southern India."
There is also a fruit variation!


"These crepes are a type of dosa that is made only from dal and is unfermented. These are actually a bit sturdier than the crepes we're used to, but they fold and roll nicely. You can just eat them with chutney or an Indian-style vegetable stir-fry, or with a more elaborate vegetable curry, if you like. They can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or for a lunch or supper dish. (They would be great for a gluten-free diet, too.)... this simple, delicious, nourishing, and filling meal was so inexpensive to make!"

"I've worked on this recipe on-and-off for a little while. Besides making them vegan, I wanted to use ingredients that most North Americans would be able to obtain easily. These vegan savory omelets or pancakes, however you choose to think of them, are so simple, cheap and quick to make, but absolutely addictive!  They originated as frugal street food and were eaten often in the days of reconstruction after WWII."

"So what is this mysterious “pancake”? It’s a delicious and nourishing snack food, a flatbread, really. In Nice, their version, Socca, is a street food, cooked huge copper pans over wood burners (rather than baked), pieces eaten out of hand like French fries in a cone of paper with lots of pepper. In Italy, it is eaten at home, with a knife and fork, or at a bar. In Genoa, there are farinata bakeries everywhere. In Argentina, they eat it on pizza! Both Italians and Niçois will tell you that it should not be made at home and it won’t taste the same if it’s not made over a wood-fired stove or in a wood-fired oven, but, trust me, a very reasonable approximation can be made and enjoyed at home!...This from my book Nonna's Italian Kitchen.
This is a thin version, which I prefer. You can sprinkle the top with chopped garlic and rosemary, thyme or sage before baking, if you like. Ligurians, who eat it with a knife and fork, sometimes also top it with thinly sliced onions or green onions, or even slices of baby artichoke. I like the leftovers cold, too. (UPDATE: Here's another great way to serve farinata.)"

"For some reason, I've always been fascinated with recipes using plain beans and whole grains that are soaked and ground and used to make delicious, simple and healthful breakfast treats, breads and snacks. We need more recipes like this under our belts, so to speak, to get through hard financial times in good health and spirits... I used to make this type of dosa years ago for my children for breakfast.  They loved it and I still do!"

In Arabic and Persian cuisines there is a type of thick baked omelet or fritatta that can utilize almost any vegetable (but always contains some green herbs).  It can be eaten hot or cold and is often used as a picnic food.  In Arabic it is called "eggah" ( عجة ʻaggah or ʻajjah) and in Perisan it is called "kuku" (کوکو).  According to food historian Alan Davidson, these are most probably the origin of Italian fritattas and Spanish tortillas (not the Mexican corn variety)... Sometimes the mixture is made into small "pancakes" or "patties" and is shallow-fried in oil or clarified butter instead of baked.  This is the type of thing I wanted to try, but, of course, egg-free and made with only a little oil.  I also wanted to make the potato variety because it sounded nicely substantial and I thought the potato would help hold things together. (It can be made with eggplant, parsley and green onions, leeks, broad beans, spinach and other greens, cauliflower, squash...)  I decided to try a mixture of mashed tofu and chickpea flour instead of the egg....It was super simple to make and very tasty—open to alot of variation, too, so I will be playing with it further. I think the potato did help, but you could probably use less if it was baked—something for further experimentation."


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