Delight in these toasty, fragrant coconut pancakes

KUALA LUMPUR : I can’t decide if the aromas that fill my kitchen are more toasty in flavour or more savoury. Nutty or creamy? Why not both?

Such is the glory of a tall stack of coconut pancakes fresh from the griddle: many things are they, but delicious and fragrant above all.

And all this from simply stepping off the well-trodden path of a trusted but tired recipe.

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. Day in and day out, everything remains much the same. A regular schedule can be a reassuring hand guiding us through uncertain times: a constant companion, a comfort.

These coconut pancakes are delightfully easy to make. – Pictures by CK Lim
These coconut pancakes are delightfully easy to make. – Pictures by CK Lim

But tedium does set in. We miss the unbridled joys of tiny surprises. We miss delight.

Which isn’t to say we crave a dramatic change in our lives. What works works for a reason.

We have steadily built up our daily routines, after all, be it making our beds and journaling upon waking upor reading an enjoyable book and lowering the lights before we fall asleep.

We don’t want to upend all that.

Which is why these coconut pancakes are such an astonishing, unexpected remedy. The structure of the recipe is not that different from one for more conventional pancakes.

Which, perhaps, makes it all the more surprising, all the more delightful how easy it is.

Rather than white sugar, try using coconut sugar, palm sugar or 'gula Melaka'' for more depth of flavour.
Rather than white sugar, try using coconut sugar, palm sugar or ‘gula Melaka” for more depth of flavour.

We simply swap out all purpose flour for coconut flour; we replace milk (dairy, that is) with coconut milk; we substitute coconut or palm sugar for the ordinary white or caster sugar.

That’s it in a nutshell. (A coconut shell, even, if you’d pardon the pun.)

Coconut flour adds a toasty, nutty flavour to the pancakes.
Coconut flour adds a toasty, nutty flavour to the pancakes.

Yet by making nearly every key ingredient a coconut-y version of itself, we have raised the game: here are previously undetected toasty and nutty notes; the warm, comforting aromas; the stacks of pancakes now feel more generous, more substantial.

More satiating for our bellies, more satisfying for our souls.

We lift ourselves up by making a few tiny tweaks. Tiny, yes, but also tremendous. One small step in our kitchen, one giant leap for our taste buds.

Sometimes all we need is to do things a little differently, to see where that takes us. We might be pleasantly surprised. We might welcome delight back into our lives.

COCONUT PANCAKES

For truly coconut-y coconut pancakes, we have used it in its myriad forms here: coconut flour, coconut sugar, coconut milk and even coconut oil to cook the pancakes with.

Coconut oil might be a bit of a dark horse, given butter seems to be the default cooking fat of choice for pancakes; one might argue pancakes and butter go hand in hand like Hobbits and pipe-weed.

Ah, but coconut oil has one major advantage over butter: a higher smoking point, which is fantastic if you’re worried about burning melted butter while trying to ensure your pancakes don’t leave the pan undercooked.

Toppings make or break your pancakes (or so I believe). To continue the coconut trend, consider nata de coco, those translucent cubes of fermented coconut water jelly.

Using pomelo adds a layer of refreshing juiciness.
Using pomelo adds a layer of refreshing juiciness.

Given coconut is tropical in nature, pair the nata de coco with cubes of ripe mango and juicy sacs of pomelo. Peanut butter might seem like a counterintuitive addition but trust me, it works.

Pondered from above, these vibrant toppings create a “circle of life” around the tall stack of coconut pancakes. And that’s what we can do more of – sheer delight in our lives.

Ingredients

60g coconut flour

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

A pinch of salt

3 large eggs

250ml coconut milk

Coconut oil

Recommended toppings: Cubed mango, nata de coco, pomelo and peanut butter

Method

Using a large bowl, mix together the coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set these dry ingredients aside.

Break the eggs into another mixing bowl. Beat the eggs until well combined before adding the coconut milk. Whisk well to combine. This is our wet mixture.

Pour the wet mixture into the first bowl of dry ingredients. Slowly stir to combine until you’ve obtained a uniform batter. (If the batter is too thick and stodgy, you can thin it out further with a little water.)

Allow the batter to rest, covered, in the fridge for about half an hour before cooking.

To cook the pancakes, heat a pan (or griddle, if you have it) on the stove. Use medium heat. Add some coconut oil, just enough to coat the surface of the pan.

Using a ladle, pour a small amount of the batter onto the pan. Cook for about three minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding more coconut oil to the pan in between pancakes as needed.

Peanut butter (left) and ripe mango (right) go well with coconut pancakes.
Peanut butter (left) and ripe mango (right) go well with coconut pancakes.
The vibrant toppings create a ‘circle of life’ around the pancake stack.

Top each plate of coconut pancakes with cubed mango, nata de coco, pomelo and peanut butter. Serve immediately whilst the pancakes are warm.

By : Kenny Mah – MALAY MAIL

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