Oh, banana pancakes. Just the thought is enough to breeze in the weekend, conjuring up languid afternoons soundtracked by Jack Johnson.
Well, with the ongoing lockdown setting a new kind of normal, I’ve been whipping up this Sunday staple through the week as well – mostly for breakfast, sometimes as a snack and quite often as dessert too!
Having experimented with a different variation each time, my trysts have eventually achieved the gold standard: Wholewheat buttermilk banana & chocolate-chip pancakes. A mouthful to boot, this loaded recipe is substantially-healthy yet decadent, delivering fabulously-fluffy, impossibly-moist pancakes free from refined flour.
If you fancy your stack free from refined sugar too, simply leave out the chocolate chips – the pancakes will still be plenty sweet from the intense flavour of the overripe bananas and the buttery richness and caramel notes of jaggery.
- 1 cup wholewheat flour (atta)
- 2 large ripe (preferably overripe) bananas (the blacker/ spottier, the better!)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk*
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp jaggery powder (or jaggery syrup)
- 1 tbsp baking powder (I often use Eno instead as an easy swap)
- 1/4 tsp salt (I use sea salt here)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I prefer to use dark chocolate chips)
- Knob of unsalted butter
* To make 1 cup of buttermilk, simply pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a measuring cup; then pour in the milk until you reach the 1 cup line. Stir well and set the mixture aside for 5-10 minutes before use.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Chop and mash the bananas, before adding in the cinnamon and jaggery powder and mixing this together well. Add to this: the egg, buttermilk and melted butter; and whisk this “wet mixture” well.
- Add your wet mixture to the flour mixture; and stir until it combines together into a smooth batter. Did you know, the gluten in the flour tends to develop as soon as it comes into contact with the liquid? Hence make sure not to over-mix the batter, so as to avoid pancakes which are rubbery and tough.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium-heat (a heavy cast-iron skillet would work well too). While it’s not necessary, I do like to grease the pan with a bit of unsalted butter (you could use oil too), before dropping in the batter. Unsalted butter is important as its whey content doesn’t burn as eaily.
- Once the surface is sizzling hot (an easy test is to see if a drop of water sizzles on contact with the pan!), it’s time to spoon in the batter in 1/4 or 1/3 cup measures. Keep it cooking until small bubbles pop up on the surface, indicating it’s time to flip your pancake over. Pro tip: wait until around 1/2 inch of the pancake perimeter has shifted from a glossy texture to matte, before you flip.
- Continue cooking until both sides are deliciously golden-brown and the pancakes are cooked consistently through.
- Repeat until you get through the batter, making sure to add more butter/ oil around the edges of the pancakes as required. Do be careful to monitor and adjust the heat, so that the pancakes cook through completely (you don’t want them raw on the inside!).
Finally, it’s time to finish with a flourish, piling on your favourite toppings from a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
In my humble view, the pancakes are naturally-sweet enough in their cooked form, especially if you’ve thrown in the spottiest, mushiest bananas you could find at home. However, if you’re anything like my husband R.R.M., you’ll be partial to adding in all the works regardless – from creamy peanut butter to chocolate sauce, ice cream and yes, even more chocolate chips!