They may be simple, but pancakes are awesome. It’s amazing to think that some of the tastiest things on earth can be made with some combination of eggs, flour and milk, plus a few added extras.
Though the basic pancake template may be straightforward, it wouldn’t be cooking if clever chefs hadn’t come up with a few ways to experiment over the years. The result is a panoply of different dishes that, though they all share common ancestry, often couldn’t look and taste less like each other. For the batter connoisseur, here is a world tour through the global pantheon of pancakes.
1. Classic American Pancakes
Probably the signature American breakfast item, big fluffy pancakes drowned in bacon and maple syrup are more a cultural right of passage than a plate of food. The key to the American pancake’s signature structure is in the addition of baking powder to the batter, which causes air bubbles to expand when it hits the pan.
As the spiritual home of all things vaguely baking related, it’s no surprise to see France’s signature riff on the global tradition included on this list. Far flatter and thinner than their American counterparts, crepes can be stuffed with and wrapped around a wealth of delicious fillings and form the backbone of any self-respecting European ski trip.
A cross between pancake and puff pastry, Morroccan m’semen is the bedrock of many North African dining experiences. Featuring many folded layers of buttery semolina flour, usually stuffed with all manner heavily spiced tasty treats, m’semen is an awesome accompaniment to many meals.
If there’s one thing that is absolutely indispensable to Ethiopian food, it’s injera. This pancake, made from fermented teff flour, is usually topped with a hearty spicy stew known as wat and served to a group, who tear of chunks to dip into the sauce.
This classic curry accompaniment is found everywhere from Thailand to Trinidad and Tobago, but it’s in India that the roti has really made a name for itself. The durum wheat disks are typically cooked on a griddle over an open fire, though they can also be deep fried as well layered with ghee butter to make poori and paratha respectively.
It might share a name with the world’s most laughed at search engine, but there’s nothing funny about bing. These traditional Chinese pancakes come in literally hundreds of different varieties, ranging from wafer thin and elastic to stodgy and stuffed with meat. Though it’s impossible to pick out one bing for this list, it’s clear that they are a pancake worthy of recognition.
Staple of tacos and Tex Mex and an absolutely key component in Twisted’s own culinary arsenal, the tortilla is possibly the most flexible pancake on the list. Made from cornmeal mixed with water and pressed, the tortilla is almost single handedly responsible for turning Latin American food into the global institution it is today.
When you’re only exposed to one or two types of pancake, it’s easy to forget that there’s actually a whole world out there to discover. They may look different around the world, but there’s no doubt that pancakes are one of the few things that can be absolutely delicious wherever you are.