Celebrate pancake day with flapjacks from around the world

It’s Shrove Tuesday, and if you’re celebrating by making pancakes, there’s a world of options. Not all pancakes have to be sweet. Here are some savoury versions to change things up from the usual morning stack. 

Cacio e Pepe Dutch Baby 

Here’s a recipe for Cacio e pepe Dutch Baby. That Italian means ‘cheese and pepper.’ (Julie Van Rosendaal)

If you struggle to get your Yorkshire puddings to dramatically rise, you won’t run into the same challenges with a Dutch baby. The same principles apply: whisk the thin batter of eggs, flour and milk, pour it into a hot buttered pan and slide into a hot oven. 

Try not to peek for at least 15 minutes. 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter 

1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil 

3 large eggs 

½ cup all-purpose flour 

½ cup milk 

¼ tsp salt 

¼ cup freshly ground black pepper 

plus extra 

¼-½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 450 F (232 C). Put the butter and oil into an 8-inch ovenproof skillet, and put it into the oven as it preheats, so that it gets very hot. While it’s heating, whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, salt and pepper.

Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out. Pour the batter into the hot pan, sprinkle with cheese and slide it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pancake is puffed and golden. Cut it into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 4. 

Dosas 

Dosas are often served with cilantro or coconut chutney, or both. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Serve dosas with cilantro or coconut chutney, or both. The filling gets better after a day in the fridge, so consider making it when you make the dosa batter, and both will be ready to go at dinnertime.

If you like, a small can of drained chickpeas is delicious in the filling along with the potatoes.

This formula is partly from the New York Times, partly from friends who make dosas.

Batter: 

2 cups rice (some recipes specify short grain)

½ cup urad dal (split black lentils, with or without their skins)

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

½ tsp salt

Filling:

vegetable oil or ghee, for cooking

2 tsp mustard seed

1 tsp cumin seed

1 onion, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper

seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp grated ginger

¼ cup chopped cilantro (plus extra)

2 tsp turmeric

8 curry leaves (approximately)

3 medium thin-skinned potatoes, boiled and chopped

salt, to taste

Preparation:

To make the batter, soak the rice and urad dal with the fenugreek seeds in separate bowls, covered with plenty of water, for 4-6 hours.

Drain and blend them separately in a good quality blender or food processor with about ½ cup water until perfectly smooth — this could take several minutes.

Combine the two in a large bowl, cover with a tea towel and let stand on the countertop for 8-12 hours, or overnight. It should have the consistency of thin batter or heavy cream. 

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To make the filling, set a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a generous amount of oil or ghee and heat the mustard and cumin seed for a minute or two, until they start to pop. Add the onion, jalapeño, garlic and ginger and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.

Add the cilantro, turmeric, curry leaves, potatoes and salt and cook for another few minutes. Add about a cup of water and cook until it reduces and the potatoes start to break down; smash some of them with your spoon. Adjust the salt and set aside. 

To make your dosas, heat a large flat skillet (or your largest skillet) over medium heat, add a drizzle of oil and brush it over the surface with a crumpled piece of paper towel to coat.

Pour in about 3 tablespoons of batter, swirling the pan and spreading it thin with the bottom of your ladle or measuring cup. Let it cook for a minute, until the edges start to curl and look dry. Flip with a thin spatula and cook for 30 seconds or so on the other side.

Spread a couple spoonfuls of filling down the middle and fold over both sides, making a package (if you’re using a large skillet, you could even fold it in four, making a big filled wedge).

Let sit for a minute until crisp and golden and heated through, and serve your dosas with chutney.

Serves 4 to 6.

Irish Boxty

Boxty is a traditional potato pancake from Ireland. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Boxty are made with a combination of mashed and grated raw potatoes. You could also add some grated or crumbled cheese, finely chopped ham or sausage, a bit of grated onion, or anything else you think might be delicious. 

Sometimes they contain an egg; crack one into your measuring cup, stir it with a fork and top up with buttermilk, if you like.

Ingredients:

½ cup mashed potatoes

1 medium potato (any kind) coarsely grated

¾ cup buttermilk or sour cream, thinned with milk or cream

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

vegetable oil and/or butter, for cooking

sour cream and chopped green onion, for serving (optional)

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, grated potato and buttermilk. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until you have a soft, thick batter.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil and, if you like, a lump of butter.

When the skillet is hot, drop the batter in large spoonfuls and spread to flatten into small, thick pancakes. Cook until golden on the bottom, then flip and cook until golden on the other side, and cooked through. Serve warm.

Makes about 8 pancakes.


Listen to food columnist Julie Van Rosendaal every week on the Calgary Eyeopener Tuesdays at 8:20 a.m.

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