Yesterday was National Pancake Day in the UK! I love all these silly pancake days and apple days that I never got in Singapore.
In honour of this special day, all the supermarkets were having sales on things like self-raising flour and maple syrup, but when I think pancakes, the first thing that pops into mind are these peanut pancakes that my mum will buy fresh from the local market for breakfasts. Unlike western pancakes, they are folded over, kind of like a sandwich. There are two versions, thin and crispy, or thicker and spongy, and they will have brittle delicate edges. My favourite filling is the original one-- crushed roasted peanuts (not peanut butter!) with sugar and butter, although it's also very common to find them filled with sweet red bean paste (Chinese/Japanese style), or sweetened coconut flakes, or (tsk.) chocolate/Nutella.
I decided to adapt a recipe for sourdough pancakes to make these. There are some very good sourdough pancakes recipes, like this one by the Nourishing Gourmet, but they mostly needed some planning ahead. This one just made use of my starter, which sounded perfect because I wanted my pancakes NOW. My previous try with this recipe made a pancake that was really crumbly, almost like a biscuit, and really salty, so I made quite a few adaptations, after comparing it with the recipes for the non-sourdough pancakes.
Singapore Peanut Pancakes (Mee Jian Kuih), Sourdough-style
will yield 4 wedges (2 -4 servings)
1 cup sourdough starter
1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil (or evoo, if you don't mind that strong olive note in your pancakes...)
1/2 tsp natural vanilla essence
1 tsp of my make-ahead pancake mix (see below)
My Make-ahead Pancake Mix
You can make a larger mix, and keep it in your pantry for fuss-free pancakes on lazy Sunday mornings.
1 part baking soda
3 parts baking powder
5 parts raw cane sugar Rapadura
I made mine a "deluxe" version with added crushed walnuts(:
3/4 cup peanuts, soaked and dehydated to get rid of phytic acids
1/4 cup walnuts, soaked and dehydrated
2-3 tbsp raw cane sugar Rapadura
2 tsps of salted butter
1. Toast the nuts over medium high heat, then grind coarsely or just crush the rustic way. Mix with the sugar and set aside.
2. Heat a 9" flat pan over medium heat. Grease.
3. Whisk all the ingredients together well, making sure that you don't get lumps of pancake mix here and there.
4. Add in the sourdough starter and then whisk again, for no more than 30 seconds, and pour in the batter.
5. Roll the pan around so the batter gets evenly distributed. Some of the batter will just run over the sides of the pan a little, and that's how you get that thin crispy edge! This obviously won't work with a too large pan.
5. When the pancake is almost cooked. sprinkle the peanut filling over half of the top and dot with butter.
6. When pancake is fully cooked, flip the empty side over into a half-moon, leave for 1-2 min more than dish out.
7. Cut into 4 wedges. Or if you do this in batches in a small pan, just serve them as half-moon sandwiches!
Oh, biting into the crisp edges and soft doughiness of these pancake "sandwiches" really bring a sense of nostalgia. The aroma of those roasted nuts, together with the sweet raw cane sugar and the salty butter against the new hint of tanginess introduced by the sourdough, is pure joy. Pure joy also, is having the filling fall out all over your plate and frantically scooping them up with your hands and into your mouth, so do be a bit over-generous with yourself (:
If you don't like the idea of a sourdough mee jian kueh, but want to up the nutrition of your pancakes anyway by using wholegrain flour, you could try going ahead with the original recipe. Minus the eggs and leavening agents and add a small amount of yogurt or vinegar then leave the batter to soak overnight first, like at Heavenly Homemakers. I want to try this out, adding the rice flour as recommended by My Kitchen Snippets, which probably will help the pancake be a bit more chewy and springy. Check for future updates ;)