Mini pancakes: One dish, different forms

Who here loves a mini pancake? A dish that can be eaten for breakfast,lunch and dinner. As a meal or a snack, sweet or savoury.

It’s versatility is appealing and it’s also fun to make!

A mini pancake is a word that is universally recognised. However, I have come across this fun dish in different forms across my travels, referenced by different names based on the region it comes from.

Here are a few mini pancake variants:

1. The Indian mini Idli

A soft, fluffy breakfast dish from South India served with a spicy lentil curry called Sambar. A comfort dish for most Indians and absolutely delicious.

It is healthy as well, as it is steamed.

Mini idli recipe:

1. Combine par-boiled rice and thick beaten rice and enough water in a deep bowl and mix well. Cover with a lid and keep aside to soak for 4 hours.

2. Perform the same with a cup of urad dal-fenugreek seeds mixture, add the salt and mix very well.

3. Blend the two mixtures, Cover it with a lid and keep aside to ferment in a warm place overnight. After fermentation, mix the batter well once again and pour spoonfuls of the batter into each of the greased idli moulds.

4. Place the moulds in a steamer and cook for 15mins.

5. Serve with hot sambar and chutney.

2. The Dutch Poffertjes

A deliciously light and airy pancake that’s not only famous in Holland and cute as well!

Dutch poffertjes recipe:

1. Heat a cup of milk until it’s a little bit warmer than lukewarm.

2. Remove the milk from the heat and mix in the sugar and yeast. Wait until the mixture becomes foamy, this will take about 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of the milk, yeast mixture and egg and whisk until you’ve reached a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with a clean damp kitchen towel and let it rest for about an hour. Or until the batter volume has doubled.

4. Spoon the batter into the greased moulds and serve with powdered sugar or Nutella!

3. The Japanese Takoyaki

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour based batter and cooked in a special molded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps, pickled ginger and spring onion.

Japanese Takoyaki recipe:

1. In a large bowl, mix well Dashi, eggs, soy sauce, salt, and flour with a whisk.

2. Heat a Takoyaki pan with oil to very hot, just until the oil begins to smoke. Use enough oil to coat the pan using a paper towel so that the batter won’t stick. Then pour batter to fill the holes of the pan.

3. Drop octopus/ prawn pieces in the batter in each hole, and sprinkle chopped green onions and ginger all over the pan.

4. Cook at medium heat for 1-2 minutes and turn over using a Takoyaki turner (you can use a chopstick too). Cook another 3-4 minutes, turning constantly.

5. Place the cooked Takoyaki on a plate and pour Takoyaki sauce and mayo over them (to taste). Finish the dish by sprinkling the Takoyaki with Aonori (green dried seaweed).

It is amazing how a single dish can vary around the world, based on the region and culture.

Do let me know if you know of any other batter based pancakes that you’ve tried in the comment section below.


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