Pancakes, flatbreads, blinis, naan, chapatti... these are foods that unite the world. Every culture has its variation on a pan-fried flatbread. We've been making these world-over for centuries. In the spirit of unity, of the vital importance of sharing our traditions and beliefs, and in a gesture of solidarity with those in crisis, we made these for brunch today. Sounds grandiose, after all they're just pancakes, but food is one of the ways we share, learn, express and understand. I don't know where I'd be without all the food knowledge I've picked up from other countries and cultures. Food opened my eyes and my mind, and is one of the ways I show gratitude.
I first ate BUCKWHEAT in Mongolia. I was travelling solo, aged 18, and a vegetarian. Mongolia is not a good place to go if you're a vegetarian. Staple diets there are animal-based, almost 100%. Very little grows and a lot of people live as nomadic herders. I ended up buying my own gas stove, a bag of carrots, a bag of onions and a bag of buckwheat. All this came from a store that sold cattle food. I raised a lot of eyebrows in that store. Each morning on the road I cooked up buckwheat porridge with water, and each evening made some kind of buckwheat soup. Needless to say, I got pretty familiar with buckwheat, and pretty hungry. The buckwheat grain itself had been shipped in from Siberia and the packaging was all in Russian. I felt extremely grateful to the Russians for producing this grain, to ancestral farmers for figuring out how to grow it, and to the Mongolians for importing it for their horses. It saved me from eating sheep brain (more than once) and by the end I'd even managed to persuade Mongolian friends to try this 'horse food.'
Buckwheat is not a grain, it's a seed, somewhat like Quinoa. It belongs to the same family as rhubarb and sorrel. It grows in harsh climates and is native to Siberia, Japan and China. It's been a staple for Millenia, some dating its use to as early as 1000 B.C.
So, buckwheat pancakes. Gluten free, grain free, paleo and non-milk. We ate ours with plenty of lemon and (coconut blossom) sugar. You could go savoury with these too, by omitting the agave. Works great with a poached egg, avocado and wilted greens.
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp agave nectar, or honey or maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- coconut oil
- fresh lemon
- coconut blossom sugar, or sugar of choice.
Whisk the egg together with the milk in a large bowl. Sift in the buckwheat flour, whisking as you go. Add the baking soda and agave and whisk well until thoroughly combined. The consistency should be pourable, but not too thin.
Heat a tsp coconut oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. When hot, drop a spoonful of the pancake batter in the middle of the pan and swiftly spread it into a smallish circle. If you want bigger pancakes, pour in 1/4 cup of batter each time and tilt the pan to it reaches the edges. Wait for 2-3 minutes for it to brown on one side. Air bubbles should form. When golden brown, flip and wait again for 2-3 minutes. Turn out onto a warm plate. Repeat. The batter should make around 10 small pancakes, or around 6 large ones.
Serve with fresh lemon, berries, crème fraîche, yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, compôte etc.
Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 15 mins.