Pancakes are in many cultures of the world a kind of dish that makes you feel right at home. Most people eat them for breakfast to start off their day with a small delicious boost. And then there’s Pancake Tuesday – also known as Shrove Tuesday – celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the last day before Lent, the 40-day Christian fasting period. Each year, the day is determined according to when Easter is – this year Easter Sunday falls on April 12. The word shrove comes from the old middle English "Shrovetide" or "shrive," akin to German, "schreiben." It means a way of cleansing, to absolve someone of their sins so to speak. Nowadays, this festive day has evolved into some of the best-known celebrations, namely the Brazilian Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, and Carnevale di Venezia. In French-speaking places, it is often called Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday.
Now, why pancakes you might wonder? Fasting in Christianity is a bit different than the Islamic tradition and involves eating simpler food rather than abstaining from all food and drinks during the day. So, the day before the fasting, all kinds of “rich” foods are used up. Eggs, milk and sugar were considered just that and mixed together with some flour made pancakes in all its wonderful shapes and versions.
As an excuse to celebrate this day, we'd like to explore two pancake options with you. One non-American crepe-like version and one salty Turkish version.
The classic crepe
6 tbsp flour
250 milliliters milk
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar (add more or less to taste)
Don’t be afraid to make the dough thicker for more traditional, fat and fluffy pancakes.
You can even add grated apples to the dough and a few more tablespoons of flour to turn them into delicious apple pancakes! Raisins are also a nice combination.
The Turkish pancake we'll be making is called "kaygana" and originates from the Black Sea region.
This savory alternative is great with veggies that give it some nice flavor and some optional cheese for a bit of a tang.
100 grams flour
200 milliliters milk
1 handful of chopped parsley
1 handful of chopped dill
3 stalks of green onion
1 teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients together, except for the vegetable oil, whisking them well until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Heat up a pan of your choice and put a tablespoon of vegetable oil on it. After it heats up a little, pour enough dough (about a ladle or two full) to cover the pan. Let the pancake cook on medium heat and flip it when you start to see bubbles. Cook for another minute or two until both sides are golden.
When you put them onto a plate to serve you can put some paper towels under the pancakes to soak up the excess oil.
Some like to add different kinds of cheeses into the dough mixture for more flavor. Make sure you don't put too much as the cheese could burn. Crumbled feta cheese is a good option.
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