I haven’t heard of anybody who doesn’t cook pancakes at home yet. All I know, every home has its own favorite pancake recipes that were even treated as a sacred script, kept and transferred from great grandparents to their newest generation. But I have a different story…….
My parents were not equipped to make soft and fluffy pancakes when they made them for us when we were young. It was the very basic ingredient, a combination of flour, water, muscovado sugar ( product of our neighbor “barangays” a village), and baking powder. Using a stainless steel wok heated under a controlled wooden fire as they swirl a tiny amount of cooking oil, once it is heated; they pour a big ladle of batter and cook undisturbed with a lid on. After how many breaths in and out, flip and continue cooking until they’re nicely brown. There were no eggs, vanilla, milk, butter and syrup added. It comes out thick, dense, heavy and nicely sweet giant pancake, shall I say “wokcake”? We ate it as is, it was a pure form of food, pure joy and bliss I guess. Up to this moment (45 years later), Our parents still make humongous pancakes but lighter and fluffy, they also evolve as we make great food at last.
One thing I like about writing is the ability to go back to history. It makes me laugh and wonder about it. I’m still wondering how my parents made a perfectly cooked pancake using a wok and controlling a medium heat from a wooden fire comparing to how I cook pancakes now? I laugh whenever I reminisce the first time I made a pancake for my employer when I was a nanny/housekeeper in Hongkong. It was one of those Pancake mixes from the box. It smelled so good while cooking them. I was told, “you should try it, it’s delicious.” (I made it, of course, I tried one) My response, “thank you Sir, I finished me eat already“. When he turned around, Holy Stick, what did I just say????? I wish I could have corrected my English but I didn’t. Two decades passed, the worst grammar still hunting me but it makes me laugh every time I start to make pancakes – I finished me ate already….. Another story of my life.
Pancakes or griddled pancakes no matter what they’re called are all simple to make. The most important things to control in making pancakes are the heat from the pan or griddle and the consistency of the batter. If you think it’s too thin, spoon a little of the flour and if it’s thick, spoon a little of milk or water but resist over mixing. There will be some lumps but that’s okay; it will soften as it cooks. When cooking, use a little oil as you can. I use extra oil when I use a heavy bottom stainless steel frying pan, but when I use a non-stick pan, I only need a very little amount of oil, a very thin brush of oil is more than enough. Remember, pancakes are not supposed to be panfried. Make the cakes large or small but make sure to give enough space to spread.
- Stainless steel skillet, non-stick skillet or griddle pan
- 1 Cup All-purpose flour
- 1¼ Teaspoon Baking powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking soda
- 2 Tablespoon Dark brown sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Large Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- ¾ Cup Milk + 2 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 Small Banana, thinly (but not too thin) sliced
- 5 Medium Strawberries, sliced
- Soft butter and maple syrup to serve
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk to combine the milk, egg and vanilla. Quickly incorporate the liquid mixture into the flour just until combined. Fold in the sliced banana and strawberries.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat or a griddle pan preheated to medium-heat (about 325°F) and paint a very thin oil. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and cook undisturbed until bubbles appear on the surface and the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and continue cooking the second side for a minute or until nicely browned. Transfer to a warm plate and continue cooking the rest. Serve immediately with your favourite syrup a soft butter.