Traditional East Indian Pancake Recipe

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Pancake Tuesday is just around the corner, and my friends have already called dibs on my mom’s pancake recipe. It’s the recipe she got from granny but tweaked a bit, and it’s perfect!

We East Indians, celebrate Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras with pancakes. They’re a bit different from chocolate pancakes which are yummy too. But this goes back to age-old traditions when Christians were banned from eating any animal products during Lent and not just meat, to confess and be absolved of their sins. They would use their supplies of eggs, butter(fat) as well as milk which are perfect for sweet pancakes, and indulge in them one last day before Ash Wednesday, which is also why it’s called Fat Tuesday.

What’s different about East Indian pancakes?

These traditional East Indian pancakes are absolutely yummy and lush light crepe-styled pancakes filled with a dense rich coconut stuffing. But you already know they taste awesome, else you wouldn’t be searching for the East Indian pancake recipe, right? (If you don’t know what East Indians are, click this link for more information.)

So lets get straight to it. Here’s how to make delicious East Indian Pancakes right in your home.

By the way, if you’re in a hurry, my friend Evelyne makes some awesome Finnish pancakes with blueberries that look just like a tantalising pizza. Something that must be tried!

Recipe for Traditional East Indian Pancakes with coconut filling

You need grated coconut, cashews, almonds and raisins for the filling - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
You need grated coconut, cashews, almonds and raisins for the filling

You’ll need to grate one fresh coconut. If you can’t find fresh coconuts, you can use about 200 grams of desiccated coconut powder, but fresh usually tastes better. Along with this you need about 100 grams of almonds, cashewnuts and kismis aka raisins.

Chop the dry fruits - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Chop the raisins, almonds and cashews fine for filling

Chop the raisins in half and the cashewnuts and almonds to similar sized pieces.

Use ground sugar and grated coconut - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Use ground sugar and grated coconut for filling

Add about 200 gms ground sugar aka powdered sugar, half a cup of water, 1 wine glass of rose water and the coconut to a vessel and mix well on a low flame.

Stir the pancake filling till quite dry - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Stir the pancake filling till quite dry

After a few minutes add in the grated nuts and raisins, along with a
few drops of vanilla essence and continue to stir till quite dry. Take off the flame and set aside. (One of my aunts also adds condensed milk to this mixture, making the sweet East Indian pancakes super rich, and it tastes heavenly, but that’s a bit too sweet for us.)

Beat the ingredients for batter - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Beat the flour, eggs, milk, water, sugar and salt till light and fluffy

In a mixing bowl, add 300 grams maida aka fine wheat flour, 3 small eggs, 200 ml milk, 200 ml water, quarter teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons sugar and beat all the ingredients together till light and fluffy.

The batters ready - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
The batters ready

Once the batter is ready, add in a few drops of vanilla and beat for a minute.

Making batter colourful - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Add colour to the batter and stir

Separate the batter into 4 or 5 smaller vessels and add different colors. We used to use lighter colours for our cakes and desserts, just white and pink like granny loved them; but now that granny’s enjoying her pancakes in heaven we have started going brighter and bolder with colours.

Fry the pancake for 2 minutes - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Fry the pancake for 2 minutes

Chop an onion into half, stick a fork in it, and use it as an oil rub for a small frying pan. (Around 12 inches wide.) Add a spoonful of batter to the frying pan and fry till it looks cooked. They look a bit like the crepes in France.

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Spoon the coconut filling on one side of the pancake before rolling it - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Spoon the coconut filling on one side of the pancake before rolling it

Smear oil onto a few thalis (Indian steel plates) or a board with the onion rub and keep ready. Flip the pancake over onto the thalior board.

Add the coconut filling to pancake and roll it - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Add the coconut filling to pancake and roll it

Spoon a bit of the coconut filling onto one end of the pancake and fold it in to form a roll.

Pan Cakes are ready to be served - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Pan Cakes are ready to be served

And finally, we have our unusual pancakes ready to be served. Since we make dozens of pancakes at a time, we usually work in twos to make these pancakes, one person frying and one person rolling.

Pancakes ready to serve - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Pancakes ready to serve

Lush, aren’t they? Have you tried this recipe? Comment and let me know what you liked and what you did differently.

Another option is to make the Pancake batter plain and add Colourful fillings

Make the batter as given above, but do not add any colour to it. Fry the pancakes the same way in a pan and place on the thalis.

Watery pancake batter mix is ready.
Pancake Batter
Make the pan hot and add oil and spread it with onion.
Fork and onion for the oil
Make layer of thin batter and turn it over on oiled steel plate.
Turn it over on an oiled steel plate

The coconut filling is also be made the same way as given above, but now you make 2 or 3 portions and add food colour to it.

Fresh coconut sweet filling.
Sweet Pancake filling
Add different colors to sweet coconut filling.
Brightly coloured coconut filling

Fill the pancakes with the colorful coconut filling and roll them up. See how yummy they look when you slice them in half. Tempting aren’t they?

Stuff the sweet filing of different colours in pancake.
Surprise color on the inside
Colourful coconut filling pancake ready to eat.
Pancakes ready to eat

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You can print off the list of ingredients and instructions to follow for making this recipe via the recipe card below (for home use only).

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Pan Cakes are ready to be served - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork

Traditional East Indian Pancakes

Abby
East Indians make sweet pancakes with a coconut filling for Shrove Tuesday. This recipe is the traditional one used by my grandmother and tweaked a little bit.
5 out of 5 Stars by 3 readers!

Click the stars to add your rating!

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine East Indian

Ingredients
  

Coconut Filling

  • 1 Grated coconut Equivalent to 200 gms desiccated coconut
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 100 g Almonds
  • 100 g Cashewnuts
  • 100 g Raisins Kismis
  • .5 cup Water
  • 30 ml Rose Water
  • 3 drops Vanilla Essence

Pancake Batter

  • 300 g Fine Wheat Flour (Maida) Maida
  • 200 ml Milk
  • 200 ml Water Add more if required
  • .25 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 5 drops Vanilla Essence
  • 10 drops Food Colour Different colours

Instructions
 

For the Coconut Filling

  • Grate one fresh coconut. If fresh coconuts are not available, use 200 grams of desiccated coconut powder.
  • Chop the raisins in half and the cashewnuts and almonds to similar sized pieces and set aside.
  • Add the powdered sugar, half cup owater, rose water and the coconut to a vessel and mix well on a low flame.
  • After a few minutes add in the grated nuts and raisins, along with a few drops of vanilla essence and continue to stir till quite dry. Take off the flame and set aside.

Making the Pancake

  • In a mixing bowl, beat the flour, eggs, milk, water, sugar and salt till light and fluffy.
  • Add in a few drops of vanilla essence or extract and beat for a minute.
  • Separate the batter into 4 or 5 smaller vessels and add different colors as desired.
  • Chop an onion into half, and use it as an oil rub for a small frying pan. (Around 12 inches wide.) 
  • Add a spoonful of batter to the frying pan and fry till it looks cooked. 
  • Flip it over onto a greased board.
  • Spoon the coconut filling on one side of the pancake before rolling it. And that’s it! Onto the next one.

Please click to rate the recipe!

Notes

The cook time depends on the amount of batter you prepare.
Since we make dozens at a time, we usually work in twos to make these pancakes, one person frying and one person rolling. 
Traditional East Indian Pancake Recipe - By Abby from TheWingedFork
Pinterest images of Sweet coconut filling and ready pancakes.
Recipe for the pancakes East Indians eat on Shrove Tuesday - By Abby from TheWingedFork
Pinterest image of East Indian Pancakes with colorful coconut filling.
Recipe for the traditional Shorve Tuesday pancakes made by Mumbai's indigenous Christians

5 thoughts on “Traditional East Indian Pancake Recipe”

  1. My mom would use a sliced potato instead of onion as an oil rub because pancakes, being a sweet, the odour of onions may be overpowering and she used to put the stuffing on the smooth side and roll so that the porous side is the outer side. I want to compliment you for our traditional recipes, which some other communities call as their own traditional ones. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Gilda, thanks for reading. 🙂
      We use onions because once they heat up they add a certain sweetness to the oil. We’ve not heard about the sliced potato version rub before. Will try it this Mardi Gras. Why did your mom put the porous side outside?

      Reply
  2. They’re a bit more trouble than the regular pancakes that we make. But they turned out quite well. My partner had 3 for dessert. For me, one was more than enough. Lol!5 stars

    Reply

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