Surprise your mom for breakfast with these delicious, healthy pancakes for Mothers’ Day or just treat yourself any time.
This naturally gluten-free pancake recipe is the successful marriage of the traditional American buttermilk pancakes and the Russian buckwheat pancakes (blini). I wanted to replace the white flour with something healthy and then I remembered the Russian pancakes and started experimenting. Let’s face it, white flour is tasty but is not very nutritious or filling. Furthermore, many of the flour alternatives can be also lesser quality. So after using buckwheat over the years, I decided to experiment and see how it would do here. I have to say the result quickly became a family favorite.
Buckwheat is an ancient plant but has been forgotten. It has recently become a popular food again in the West because it lacks gluten that causes gastrointestinal problems in so many people. It is a staple in Russia, in fact, the Russians have survived on it for centuries. Eating buckwheat might have been their secret. So why should we eat buckwheat on a regular basis? Even if there is no crisis, buckwheat can be included in our diet as it is incredibly healthy and nourishing. It is not a grain but it is the seed of the buckwheat plant and does not cause digestive problems like wheat does but it actually nourishes the digestive tract.
Let’s look at its energetics. Its neutral thermal nature and sweet flavor are an indication that it is a tonic food. It is rich in protein (13g). It has also intestine cleansing and strengthening and appetite improving ability. Rutin, a bioflavonoid in the grain strengthens the capillaries and blood vessels, hinders hemorrhaging, decreases blood pressure, and promotes circulation in the hands and feet. Rutin also has the ability to protect against radiation.
To improve the texture, I added tapioca pearls. The trick is to grind both grains before you make the pancakes. It is worth it! The store-bought flours yield a lesser quality for sure. You can get the tapioca flour ready ground instead of grinding it yourself if your grinder isn’t strong enough but the store-bought buckwheat flour is too bitter. Another trick/personal preference is when you grind the grains, leave the flour a little coarse. This gives the pancakes a bit of texture. Try not to grind too long though.
In the spring, I like to serve the pancakes with rhubarb sauce. The rhubarb stems are great in the spring. It is the first fruit, oops I meant to say vegetable here. Yes people often think it is a fruit because of its fruity, sour taste but it is in fact a vegetable. I can’t believe I get excited about rhubarb but it is really the first new plant that shows up at the farmers market in the Midwest. While it is not a fruit, it can be prepared with sugar to –kind of cheat- make them be like they are fruits. Rhubarb has favorable health effects as it is cooling and detoxifying to the liver. (Just on the side, I will have a rhubarb cobbler recipe soon posted when the berries are ready. Please check back).
EDIT: I have been trying to figure out how to balance the sourness of the rhubarb. As I mentioned before I got the recipe straight out of the cookbook Joy of Cooking but there is something missing. I can’t believe I didn’t come up with this earlier. So I added a little fresh chopped ginger root, orange peel and sprinkled it with a little cinnamon powder and salt. It did the trick so I will add these ingredients to the recipe now.
The PANCAKE RECIPE
What you need
- 2 cups of freshly grounded buckwheat groats
- 1 cup of freshly ground tapioca pearls
- 2 cups of fresh buttermilk or powder would work too
- 1-1.5 cups of milk (use only 1 cup of milk if using already ground tapioca flour)
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 3 whole eggs.- lightly beaten (at room temperature)
- 3 Tbsp of melted butter
- ½ tsp salt
- sugar (optional)
- oil for the pan (I like to use ghee but sunflower or grapeseed oils are fine too)
- Grind buckwheat and tapioca. Put them in a large bowl.
- Add the buttermilk and let the mixture sit overnight but at least for 4 hours.
- Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, corn starch. I like to add these right before I make the pancakes.
- Have a bowl ready.
- Melt butter in a heavy bottom pot and add to the bowl.
- Wisk eggs. You can beat egg whites separate if you want to make pancakes fluffier. Add to the bowl.
- Add milk to the bowl.
- Mix together and when ready add this mixture to the grains from earlier.
- Blend batter using a wooden spoon. Stir only until it’s just blended. Do not over stir!
- Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat. You can flicker water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it’s ready!
- Poor or scoop the batter onto the baking pan, using approximately 1/3 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
- Serve with your choice of yoghurt, rhubarb sauce, maple syrup, nuts, fruits, jam etc.
The RHUBARB RECIPE
What you need
- 4 cups of rhubarb stalks (Choose firm stalks that are not wilted).
- ¼ – ½ cup of sugar (can omit if sugar is an issue)
- little salt
- 1 tsp fresh ginger root (finally chopped)
- 1 Tbsp orange peel
- cinnamon powder + freshly graded nutmeg – (I use apple spice from penzeys.com)
- Wash and trim the top greens off.
- Cut into 1 inch pieces lengthwise. If the stalks are wide (more than 1 ½ inches), slice them lengthwise in half.
- Put rhubarb and sugar in a smaller pot for about 15 minutes or until the rhubarb exudes some juice. No need to add water! Add also the ginger and orange peel.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is tender and the liquid thickened. (10-15 minutes).
- Remove from the heat.
- Let it cool for 15 minutes, the sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- (This recipe is straight out of the cookbook Joy of Cooking).
- Irma S. Rombauer: Joy of Cooking
- Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods
Written by twincitiesherbs.com