Did you know how many varieties of pancakes are out there?! I am talking – pancakes!
I am taking you on a Magic Flying Pancake Trip Around the World!
We will start our journey in Ukraine, the country I was born in. Ukrainian cuisine, although similar to Russian and often mistakenly taken for, has a number of distinctive and dishes. Pancakes are one of such.
Ukrainian pancakes are small, the size of a palm or even smaller, and plump. They are fairly easy to make and almost fool-proof. Buttermilk is used as a base for the dough (instead of milk used in most other countries’ pancake recipes). And we do not add yeast. But we still add a teaspoonful of either baking powder or baking soda. The dough should be thinner than for a cake, but still not too watery, the kind of liquidy sour-cream. The dough is fried by a table spoonful on a hot pan in oil (not deep fried like french-fries, though!). This type of pancakes are called OLADJI. Traditionally, cooked pancakes are not stacked in layers, one over the other, as some cultures do, but we serve them in a mount on a large plate in the middle of the table. We eat them one by one, preferably with one’s fingers for better enjoyment, dipping a pancake into sour-cream (a staple for Ukraine) and/or your favorite jam. Sweet black tea is a good drink to wash’em down, too!
A quick jump and we are in Russia, where pancakes are plenty and Maslenitsa, described here , is in full swing!
Traditional Russian pancakes are large, round and flat, soft and elastic with hundreds of holes. They look very similar to French Crepes, as far as I can tell. In the old Russia they used to judge the cook by the holes in her pancakes – the more holes, the thinner the pancake – the better the cook 🙂
The dough is yeast-and-milk based. Although today many maids step away from yeast base in favor of saving time and “healthier” choices. When dough is ready to be cooked, it should be very liquidy and smooth. Pancakes are fried one by one, on a hot pan, greased with a piece of butter on a fork (often substituted for oil on a brush in modern days). A ladle-full of pancake dough is poured into the middle of the pan and is distributed over the pan by tilting the pan in a circular motion (you know what I mean!). Naturally, cooked pancakes are stacked in a pile to be served. Now, there are several ways to serve these beauties. One is to make pancake rolls with filling. Usually such rolls are filled with cooked ground liver or mushrooms cooked in sour-cream sauce. Therefore, pancake rolls are usually not sweet. Mine below are filled with ground liver and covered with sour-cream (and don’t you go rolling your eyes about the calories!):
But you can also fold them in nice triangles – handkerchiefs, as we call it – and serve to be dipped in jams or sour-cream.
One cool way to eat Russian pancakes is to fill them with cottage cheese – tvorog, in Russian – mixed with sugar and vanilla and sometimes even raising! These are delicious!
Right now I suggest you take a break to go and munch on something as it’ll be a looong trip, even for our Magic Flying Pancake, from Russia to Morocco, the land of my dreams.