Buckwheat pancakes & brown rice syrup

Buckwheat pancakes

Next Tuesday, 5 February, is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day in Britain, so this seems like an appropriate time for me to write about buckwheat pancakes. Using buckwheat is one way to rotate foods and keep food intolerance reactions at bay.

These aren’t the typical pancakes served in the UK for Pancake Day though, if you want those, check out the recipe here and tips on how to make pancakes here. These basic pancake/crepe skills would also be useful for trying out my mock poh piah suggestion too.

I started with a blini recipe from Pancakes, Crepes, Blintzes & Blinis by Susannah Blake but as I’m too lazy to use yeast (and would also prefer to minimise my consumption of yeast) as usual I adapted the recipe quite heavily and used baking powder instead. Here is what I did:

100g organic buckwheat flour [can use 50g buckwheat flour, 50g plain flour if milder taste is desired]
1/2 tsp baking powder
200ml lukewarm milk
1 egg, separated
Having sifted the baking powder and flour together, I beat in the egg yolk and milk.

Following the original recipe, I whisked the egg whites into soft peaks and folded into the batter. In the final result, I didn’t notice any particular benefit from doing this, but then again, I didn’t stick to the yeasted pancake instructions!

Cooked the pancakes in greased 10 cm pan.

Buckwheat flour has less gluten than regular wheat flour (which is why buckwheat flour is mixed with wheat flour when making soba) so the texture of these pancakes is more brittle and less springy than normal wheat pancakes. The buckwheat also lent a distinctive taste and dark colour, which I can imagine might be very attractive when combined with contrasting coloured foods in a bento.

I ate the pancakes with green apples – sliced and stewed in water with no sugar – plus organic maple syrup. Genuine maple syrup, as opposed to ‘maple-flavoured syrup’, can be rather expensive, and I’ve found that organic maple syrup to be no more pricey if you look around and compare prices.

Also ate the pancakes with this sweetener I’m trying for the first time: brown rice syrup from Lundberg (purchased at SuperNature). The taste takes some getting used to and perhaps it was too ambitious of me to combine two unfamiliar flavours of buckwheat and this brown rice syrup!

I’m not sure to what extent this Lundberg product is different from traditional Japanese brown rice malt syrup. As you can read here, Japanese rice malt syrup is made by combining brown rice with enzymes that break down the rice starch into primarily maltose. The traditional method is to use the naturally-occurring enzymes in sprouted barley, but modern production methods often substitute this with laboratory-produced enzymes. The latter product is identifiable by the label, which will list only brown rice and water as the ingredients (whereas the former type will also include sprouted barley).

Well, the Lundberg brown rice syrup contains only brown rice and filtered water, while the label describes the production method as cooking brown rice with water then evaporating most of the water. ‘The naturally sweet golden syrup that remains in pure whole grain goodness.’ No mention of enzymes -?

Anyway, I think brown rice syrup would taste very nice with wagashi-style sweet snacks. I’m thinking of drizzling it over glutinous rice balls in place of instead of soya sauce syrup to look like mitarashi dango (alternative recipe here) ^_^.

If you want to try some brown rice syrup recipes, you could browse here and here.

6 Responses

  1. Tuesday is Pancake Day?! I’ll definitely go for pancake brunch that day then (I wished there were more fun holidays like this).

    I’m a big buckwheat fan, even though I’ve not used it in my own cooking. I remember having buckwheat crepes before and actually liking these more than regular crepes. It has a more “substantial” texture and, as you say, a distinctive taste.

  2. I’m considering making a pancake bento on that day too ^^!

    I was told that in Brittany in France, savoury buckwheat crepes called galettes are very common – and verrry delicious!! Maybe the thing to learn from that is that I should eat buckwheat pancakes with savoury fillings instead. Blinis are usually served with caviar and sour cream too.

    Wikipedia says that in France, crepes are associated with Candlemas on 2 Feb, which is a completely different festival from Shrove Tuesday (known elsewhere as Mardi Gras)! But maybe the purpose of the pancakes is the same – to use up the fats, eggs and milk before Lent.

    I want to try making soba at home soon :). Anyway I have a huge bag of buckwheat flour to use up!!

    Are there any traditional Chinese foods made from buckwheat, do you know?

  3. Wow, you’re going to make soba at home? That sounds so complicated and difficult (i.e. to make the noodles thin). I’m so impressed! :)

    I don’t know. My main source of buckwheat comes from soba and crepes. lol.

  4. Aiyah~!!! I’m not expecting to make super-thin soba! OK, let’s not call it soba, it will be ‘handmade buckwheat noodles’. I don’t even have a pasta cutting machine, much less the expensive Ie Soba gadget
    I have made pasta at home completely by hand before, it was very rough but edible, so that’s all I’m aiming for :).

  5. Talking about noodle-making at home, I want to share this post with you in case you haven’t seen it already: http://cookandeat.com/2008/01/18/udon-with-no-shoes-on/

    Don’t know if your food intolerances are okay with this recipe, but it’s food to read nonetheless! :D

  6. Thanks for the link to gorgeous photos and inspiring post! The heavy kneading sounds tiring though…

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