Cooking pancakes is a rite of passage – you're bound to have flipped them countless times in your life. Everyone loves these thin discs of fried batter, and it's hard to walk down a city street without finding pannenkoekenhuizen. But everywhere has their own take on pancakes, from Russian blinis served at Players to Vietnamese banh xeo from Viet Street.
While pancakes are traditionally made with wheat flour and milk, there's versions for all diets too – and BitterSweetz rustle up their pancakes gluten- and lactose-free.
Pancakes are such a staple that every country has come up with their own version. The basic mix remains the same though: flour, eggs, and milk. Melt a knob of butter in your pan, swirl it around till it bubbles, and then ladle in the batter and fry until gorgeously golden. French crepes are thin and flexible, while traditional Dutch pancakes are larger but a little thicker.
We might think of pancakes as a European food, but nothing could be further from the truth – they're popular all over the world. You'll find lahoh in the Horn of Africa, thin rice pancakes in China or sweet cheela in India. Japanese people love okonomiyaki, mixing savoury ingredients into the batter and cooking them on hot-plates, while Americans make their pancakes small and fluffy.
You can trace pancakes all the way back to the Ancient Greeks, to at least the 5th century BCE. Tagenias – from the Greek word 'tagenon' for frying pan – used olive oil, wheat flour, honey and curdled milk. While the ingredients might have changed, some things never do – they were still eaten hot out the pan for breakfast.
Best of all, there's references to pancakes in early poetry. Cratinus and Magnes were a pair of Greek poets who specialised in comedies. But they were clearly foodies too, as they're responsible for the oldest written references to tagenias by mentioning it in their writings. Thanks to them, we know pancakes go back at least 2,500 years, if not even more.
Whatever kind of pancake you're after, it's guaranteed to put a smile on your face and add some sunshine to your day. BitterSweetz are all about giving you the best things in life but in guilt-free packages, so their popular almond pancakes make an innocent brunch treat. They're made with ground almonds and are lactose-free, topped with fresh fruit for that extra feel-good factor.
Vietnam's own take on pancakes, banh xeo, are named for the loud sizzling sound the batter makes when it hits the pan. They're savoury, made with rice flour, and vibrantly yellow from turmeric. It's stuffed with lettuce and herbs, but then you get to pick your own filling – choose from pork belly and shrimp, or go vegetarian with marinated tofu.
While pancakes are traditionally humble, sometimes they get fancy. Blinis are the epitome of style, as they're often served up with smoked salmon and salty beads of caviar. Players bring the posh stuff with these little Russian pancakes – and you can even enjoy that elegance at home, thanks to Deliveroo.
Don't miss out on pancakes when you're in the mood. Get them brought straight to your door with Deliveroo.
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