With what seems to be an annual event, Pancake Tuesday is not something I would routinely celebrate until a decade ago. Growing up as a Catholic in Hong Kong, I am aware of the Ash Wednesday penance, but there would rarely be any pancake eaten the day before. Don’t get me wrong, there are variations of the pancake in many parts of Asia. In Hong Kong, there are the familiar egg waffles (雞蛋仔) from Cantonese hawkers and spring onion cake (蔥油餅) associated with Shanghainese fare, but these are local snacks and have nothing to do with religion. I remember first encountering the American-style ones eaten on Pancake Tuesday, the day my US-born husband would call Shrove Tuesday, from the Betty Crocker pancake mixes available at the supermarket when I started to try out some ‘Western’ styles of baking. Just add egg and water, it would say. And that I thought was the only way to make pancakes!
Pancake Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season, during which Christians are meant to give up certain luxuries in life and ponder upon the meaning of Easter – Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. Pancakes have been made for hundreds of years and they seemed the perfect dish to make in order to use up the fats, flour and eggs, ingredients which did not come by easily in the old days and according to Historic UK based on folklore, also symbolise certain qualities of life important for this time of the year.
Now that we live in the UK, I do try our best to embrace the local traditions and have been making pancakes at least once a year. I have to say pancakes are the easiest base to make for any sort of breakfast topping. An early encounter with the Jamie Oliver one-cup pancake was an inspiration – I’m glad there is a quick alternative to my pancake mixes! I usually just stick with 3 ingredients, as suggested by FAB flour. Instead of having mine sweetened with sugar and lemon juice, I prefer savoury options, and here’s one I made this morning:
125ml flour (4-5 tbsp)
4-5 pieces sundried tomato
1/2 spring onion
30g Parmesan or cheddar cheese
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Mix flour, egg and milk in a large bowl. Snip tomatoes and spring onion into small pieces, add with cheese into batter. Heat oil in pan. Pour batter into pan and flip when bubbles appear, cook the opposite side. You can make one big one to share which I did, or smaller ones if you like (which would require slightly more oil).
4 small portions. Add a dollop of creme fraiche for that extra creaminess!
Per 100g: Energy 188kcal 789kJ | Fat 9.1g of which saturates 2.5g | Carbohydrate 20.5g of which sugars 2.9g | Fibre 0.9g | Protein 7.3g | Salt 0.5g
Per serving (140g): Energy 265kcal 1114kJ | Fat 12.9g of which saturates 3.5g | Carbohydrate 29g of which sugars 4.1g | Fibre 1.3g | Protein 10.3g | Salt 0.72g