Although they have similar names, buckwheat and (regular) wheat are not related – in fact it is closer to rhubarb and sorrel than it is to standard wheat. It has been called a superfood owing to its incredibly high concentration of protein, fibre and selected vitamins and minerals. (Make of that what you will, I’m not particularly taken by so called superfoods, but you cannot argue that buckwheat is healthy.) It is also perfect if you are celiac or gluten free as buckwheat contains no gluten!
Buckwheat is eaten all around the world owing to its ability to thrive in “low fertility” soils. It is perfectly happy to grow in acidic conditions if the soil is properly drained. The plants left after the seeds have been harvested can be dug back into the ground and used as green manure. Its high nutrition levels make it particularly popular when there is little else to eat as it can help reduce malnutrition.
Recently the use of buckwheat in foods has dramatically increased in an explosion of gluten free baking however in Japan and India, unlike in western countries, buckwheat has been eaten for centuries and holds deep cultural significance. Soba noodles, from Japan, are made from buckwheat flour and the lack of gluten meant that an entirely new production system to stretch out the noodles had to be invented. In India, some Hindus will eat buckwheat-based foods on days where they fast as they will only abstain from cereals and buckwheat does not fall under that category so need not be avoided.
The pancakes in this recipe use a mixture of buckwheat flour and wholemeal (or brown) flour. They look healthier than standard crepes… Wholemeal flour comes from regular wheat but unlike the standard white flour we use, it is not bleached (leading to its darker colour). Another difference between the whole wheat and standard white flour is the flavour. There is a distinctive taste with brown flour that you do not get with white.
These pancakes are most definitely savoury. They are delicious for dinner when filled with mushrooms or creamed leeks. You could even treat yourself and have them with smoked salmon and cream cheese! I hope you enjoy them because they are super simple and make a great last-minute dinner when there is nothing else in the house.
2 oz. (50g) buckwheat flour
2 oz. (50g) wholemeal flour
Pinch of salt
Half pint milk
Oil for frying
In a bowl, stir together the flours and salt.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg and half the milk.
Whisk to a smooth, relatively thick paste.
Slowly whisk in the rest of milk to create the pancake batter (for thicker pancakes, only add half of the remaining milk)
Heat a frying pan and add a little oil. If you aren’t using a non-stick pan, don’t go to the next step until the oil starts to shimmer otherwise the pancakes will stick.
Pour 60ml (a quarter cup) of batter into the centre of the pan and tilt the pan to spread it out.
Once the top stops being shiny, flip the pancake. It should be golden brown underneath.
Add fillings of your choice to the pancake while the underneath is cooking and then fold it in half.
You can keep these warm in the oven on a low setting while you cook the rest or serve them straight out of the pan.
Have a good one and I will be back next week with a recipe for a deliciously light cake.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe