These delectably spiced, soft and cloud like pancakes filled with butternut squash are (believe it or not!) originally from a northern area of Iran called Gilān. This area is quite close to Azerbaijan and the Turkish regions of Iran and has a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere – it’s a place that often referred to as “lost heaven” and when you see some of the pictures of the region you can understand!
It’s Gilaki name is “Kooie Kaka” which literally means Pumpkin Pancake – no confusion there then! I first saw this recipe in Maryam Sinaiee’s book “Nightingales and Roses” and ever since it has become a firm family favourite with my boys too. The addition of butternut gives a natural sweetness to the pancake and lightness to the batter and with one of your daily veg portions packed in to this recipe I feel very saintly giving them to my kids for breakfast or a tea time treat!
You can reduce the amount of spices if you feel it’s too strong (personally more is always more in my book) and I leave out the traditional addition of rose water here as I feel the spices take over anyway.
It is VERY important to leave the batter for the hour to sit and allow the rice flour to absorb the liquid – I missed this out in a rush once and the result was disappointing – so make the batter an hour before you want to make the pancakes! You will of course need some pureed butternut – I make this before the weekend when I know I want to make them. I always make double and then I have extra for weekday breakfasts or lunch box additions. They keep very well in a Tupperware in the fridge, if you have any left!
I love to serve these with real maple syrup and toasted pecans or extra walnuts – but I have served them with whipped cream infused with rosewater as a dessert and also with thick Greek yogurt mixed with a bit of vanilla and honey – too much deliciousness. The prep does take a bit of effort – but they are SO worth it!
200g butternut squash peeled and diced (If I am feeling lazy, I buy a bag of ready prepped)
40g Rice Flour (Atlas or Wellness or even Woolworths will have)
Small handful walnuts ground in a food processor to a meal.
¼ tsp Ground Cardamom & ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
¼ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp natural yogurt
2 tbsp golden caster sugar/brown sugar – or you can omit this.
1 large egg
1 tbsp light olive oil – or melted butter/coconut oil
Oil/butter for cooking the pancakes
Pecans and maple syrup to serve
Steam the butternut until soft – mash well with a masher or blend in a food processor
Mix the dry ingredients together: Rice flour, ground walnuts, spices, bicarb, salt and sugar and put to one side
Mix the wet ingredients: The yogurt, egg, oil or butter and then mix gently into the dry ingredients until fully incorporated. The batter should be thick – and it need to be left in a cook place for an hour to stand. In winter I would leave it out the fridge and in summer in the fridge.
To cook the pancakes you should use a decent pancake or griddle – or a good quality non stick fry pan for ease. I have a very nice non-stick La Creuset crepe pan which works well and the ease and joy of non-stick is worth having one pan just for pancakes.
Melt some butter and brush on the pan over a medium heat. I like to make smaller pancakes as they are easier to flip so I dollop a heaped tablespoon at a time and can fit 3-4 pancakes at a time on my griddle pan. Make sure you leave space so you can flip them easily.
Reduce the heat to a medium low and cook for 3 minutes or until the pancake is a golden colour on the one side. Flip it and cook for another two minutes. Keep the cooked pancakes in a warm place while you make the rest of them.
Serve up with toasted or raw pecans, quality maple syrup and whipped cream if you are feeling fancy!