It’s pancake day today, or rather it’s Shrove Tuesday in the church calendar, the day that traditionally all the yummy food is eaten up ready for Lent. It’s another religious date that has been commercially hi-jacked; remember the slogan “Don’t forget the pancakes on Jif Lemon Day”?
Pancakes can be a challenge for anyone eating a free-from diet, whether it’s due to excluding wheat, dairy or eggs. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives out there; my favourite for savoury pancakes is buckwheat. Despite it’s name, buckwheat is not wheat but the seed of a crop that’s related to rhubarb and sorrel. It tends to be classified as a grain because of it’s culinary use, but it is gluten free (some products such as soba noodles tend to mix it with wheat, therefore making it no longer gluten free). A great whole food source of protein and fibre, it’s also got a good whack of magnesium, iron, phytonutrients and is really low in fat. It does have quite a distinctive earthy flavour though, so can be an acquired taste to some!
Of course, galettes in France are traditionally made from buckwheat. Whenever I think of galettes though, I picture India rather than France, due to the wonderful creperie in Bangalore, Chez Mariannick. An oasis of European familiarity in the crazy overstimulation of an Indian city, it’s well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in the area (they’re on TripAdviser).
To make a truly free from buckwheat pancake, all you need is some buckwheat flour, baking soda, salt and water mixed together. You can use non-dairy milk and vanilla if you want slightly creamier and sweeter pancakes – just use one to one measurements i.e.: one cup of buckwheat flour to one cup of milk, one teaspoon vanilla and one of baking soda.
If you fancy something a bit more healthy (and hippyish according to my daughter!), then try these buckwheat and sunflower seed pancakes instead. Using the whole buckwheat groat ensures you are eating the whole food with all the nutrients available. Soaking makes the buckwheat more ‘alive’; you can soak this up to three days allowing it to sprout, releasing even more amazing nutrients. That’s if you plan ahead of course. If you’re more like me and plan things at the last minute, 20 minutes soaking will be just fine.
2 cups buckwheat groats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
(apple sauce, cinnamon or vanilla if you want sweet)
First, rinse the buckwheat groats well and place in a glass jar or bowl. Cover with water and leave to soak – somewhere between 20 minutes to 3 days! When you’re ready, pour out into a sieve and rinse well. Pop into a blender along with the other ingredients. Add enough fresh water to cover the top of the the buckwheat and blend until smooth. Poor a ladle full onto a hot pan coated with a little oil. Cook as normal pancakes and enjoy!