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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 March 2019

Pancake Day in the UAE: Recipes and restaurants to try this Shrove Tuesday

From healthy peach and vanilla pancakes to sinful stacks with chocolate chips and peanut butter, here's how you can get your pancake fix today

Nutella pancakes at The Coffee Club
Nutella pancakes at The Coffee Club

Looking for ways to celebrate Shrove Tuesday? In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada, Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, is also known as Pancake Day. As the name suggests, it’s customary to eat pancakes. A lot of them.

Recipes to try at home

Healthy recipe: Peach and vanilla pancakes

These pancakes make for a relatively quick, quite impressive-looking breakfast or brunch dish, and can easily be customised to suit individual tastes and preferences. The peaches add a nice natural sweetness – try to find ripe ones – which goes well with the tangy natural yoghurt, but you won't go far wrong with a combination of bananas, cinnamon and honey either.

The wholemeal flour makes the pancakes denser than those made with the finely milled, white variety, but also more nutritious because the bran and germ are retained during processing, meaning the flour is higher in fibre. On average, healthy wholemeal pancakes have 105 calories per 55.2g.

Using fresh vanilla rather than extract here does make a difference, although if you don't have any, you could use vanilla-flavoured yoghurt. Just bear in mind that some of the sourness that the natural yoghurt brings to the pancakes will be lost.

Serves 4 (makes approximately eight pancakes)

Ingredients

375g plain wholemeal flour

1 tbsp baking powder

tsp salt

100ml natural yoghurt

200-250ml semi-skimmed milk

2 eggs, separated

1 tbsp honey

1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced

For the garnish

Natural yoghurt

1 peach, stoned and thinly sliced

Few mint leaves

1 lemon, zest only

Method

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat together the yoghurt, 200ml milk, the egg yolks, honey and seeds from the vanilla pod. Add this to the flour mixture and stir together until you have a smooth batter. It should not be too thick; you can always add more milk later.

Whisk the egg whites (by hand or with an electric mixer) until stiff, then fold carefully into the mixture. If it now seems too thick, add a little extra milk.

Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add half a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Ladle in some of the pancake batter, swirling to coat.

Top with three or four peach slices and cook for two to three minutes, until the underside of the pancake is brown and bubbles are starting to appear on the top. Flip the pancake over and cook for a further one to two minutes. Remove from the pan, keep warm in a low oven and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve the pancakes with a spoonful of yoghurt and the extra peach slices, with the mint leaves and lemon zest scattered over the top.

Chebaab (Emirati pancakes)

In Table Tales, author Hanan Sayed Worrell writes about some of the special people she has met in Abu Dhabi and shares the recipes they provided for her cookbook. Abu Dhabi entrepreneur Ahmed Al Bawardi, one of the people featured, says: “Chebaab is our pancake, spiced with cardamom and saffron, which gives it a golden colour. It can be made thin like a crepe or thick like an American pancake. I prefer the thinner batter, which brings out the artist in me and allows me to create abstract shapes on the griddle instead of the conventional round chbaab. The batter is prepared at the farmhouse and we then make the chbaab fresh at the campsite over a fire on the multipurpose metal disk known as a tabi. It can be eaten sweet with honey and date molasses or savoury with cheese.”

Ahmed Al Bawrdi at Farm and desert at Sweihan, pancake cooking. Courtesy Martin Nicholas Kunz; Heike Fademrecht
Courtesy Martin Nicholas Kunz; Heike Fademrecht

Makes 8 to 10

Ingredients

150g all-purpose flour

1 tbsp sugar

½ tsp yeast

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cardamom

1 egg, slightly beaten

240ml milk

1 tbsp cooking oil

Pinch of saffron

Butter or ghee

Method

Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a small bowl. Whisk the egg, milk, oil, and saffron in a medium bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients into the milk mixture. For a thinner pancake, add more milk. Cover and keep in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes.

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter or ghee. Pour about 60ml of batter on to the griddle for each pancake. Cook for one to two minutes. Flip and do the same for the other side.

Serve with honey, date molasses or cheese.

Festive Scotch pancakes by chef Gary Rhodes

If you have a fruit cake that needs finishing, look to chef Rhodes's recipe for Scotch pancakes, which uses crumbled-down fruit cake that is stirred into the pancake batter, with a raisin syrup to elevate the dish. “It’s a full meal, and 70 per cent of it is made up of items sitting in your fridge. It all relies on simple cooking, and this is the kind of cooking I do at home, to be honest,” he says, adding: “Ready-made custard and pouring cream are perfect accompaniments to pancakes."

Christmas pudding Scotch pancakes. Courtesy Gary Rhodes
Courtesy Gary Rhodes

Ingredients for the syrup

100g raisins

150ml water

50g caster sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 vanilla pod, split

Method

Simmer all ingredients together and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the pod, blitz to a puree, and push through a sieve.

Scrap out the pod and add the vanilla seeds to the syrup

Ingredients for the pancakes

350g self-raising flour

40g unsalted butter

225ml milk

3 eggs

140g caster sugar

1 tsp mixed spice

85g currants, sultanas and raisins (more can be added for a fruitier flavour)

20g mixed peel, chopped

Butter for cooking

Pinch of salt

Method

Sift the flour. Melt the butter and whisk into the milk with the eggs, sugar and pinch of salt. Add all of the remaining ingredients and the batter is ready.

To cook the pancakes, heat a non-stick frying pan and brush with butter or oil.

The batter can now be spooned, using a tablespoon, into the pan allowing 1-2 spoons per pancake. These will take approximately 2 to 3 minutes before small bubbles appear on the surface, after which they can be turned over.

Once turned, cook for 2 minutes before removing from the pan.

In a large pan, 4-6 pancakes can be cooked at the same time. Once all are cooked, keep covered with a tea towel; this prevents them from becoming dry.

To serve, warm the pancakes and present on a large plate drizzling with the warm raisin syrup over the top, finish with a spoonful of thick cream.

Pancakes from around the world

Courtesy Spheerz 
Japanese wobbly pancakes from Spheerz
  • At the ongoing Beach Canteen, part of the Dubai Food Festival, Spheerz will serve its popular light and fluffy Japanese "wobbly" pancakes.
  • Australian concept The Coffee Club, which has multiple branches across the UAE, offers blueberry crumble pancakes and mixed berry pancakes with Nutella.
  • Black Tap, which has multiple branches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including a new one at Dubai Festival City, serves butter milk pancakes stuffed with orange, cranberry and ricotta topped with sweet cream cheese spread.
  • Pancake House in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has a menu-full of sweet and savoury pancakes, including the delicious-sounding chocolate chips pancake with peanut butter.
  • Aseelah at Radisson Blu Hotel in Deira has chebab, an Emirati-style small, sweet porous pancake that can be filled with dates, coconut, saffron cream, cream cheese, date syrup or honey. in Abu Dhabi, order in from the aptly named Khameer and Chebab.
  • Brothaus at Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, Dubai, serves apfelpfannkuchen - a classic German pancake with pan-roasted apples, cinnamon sugar and crushed hazelnuts.
  • Nourish, a healthy, home-grown concept in Jumeirah's Dar Wasl Mall, serves a pancake stack with macerated assorted berries, orange blossom, pistachio and (optional) maple syrup.
  • Pantry Cafe does the Canadian, a hearty pancake stack with multiple syrups to choose from.
  • The MOE Club House at Mall of the Emirates blends food with technology at its 3D-printing station, and you can select pancakes to be printed and watch them come to life in customisable shapes.
  • While pancakes are traditionally sweet, one can always make an exception for duck pancakes. Sontaya at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi serves a delicious version of this Asian dish.
  • Riva on Palm Jumeirah has created a new breakfast menu in collaboration with the Ripe Organic Company, and serves gooey banana pancakes with a salted caramel sauce.

Updated: March 5, 2019 01:25 PM

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