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) ^_^.