If you have a day in mind associated with "Pancake Day" (and not everyone does) it's likely Mardi Gras. But in France, there's yet another holiday devoted to pancakes or crêpes -- Pancake Day or Chandeleur falls this Meatless Monday, which is why we're assembling some of our favorite international pancake recipes from around the world.
The holiday falls 40 days after Christmas and was originally a pagan holiday, intended to use wheat before the new harvest to symbolize prosperity for the coming year. The holiday is also associate with candles -- and indeed is called Candlemas in English -- as candles were intended to add a purifying element to the holiday.
Pancakes in America tend to be sweet, but internationally you're just as likely to see simple batters poured into a pan, cooked up over a hot flame and served with savory fillings. French crêpes and savory galettes are an obvious example, but there are so many versions of these savory pancakes throughout the world that we decided to spend some time seeking out our favorite Meatless Monday pancake recipes.
Savory pancakes are common in a lot of East Asian cooking, and the Korean version, or pajeon, is a tasty favorite. While many versions of this recipe include seafood, you definitely don't have to -- fresh scallions and a hint of Korean pepper are perfect. These pancakes are eggier than American pancakes you may be used to and are more similar in texture to French crêpes, but with a definite East Asian flair to the filling.
Image by: Kate Sears
Of course, as we all know from recent Hanukkah festivities, pancakes don't have to be made just with flour. Potato pancakes are a tasty version of pan-cooked treats, and topped with a poached egg and tasty green onion sauce, they constitute a complete meal.
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Pancakes can just as easily be gluten-free, and some versions of savory pancakes naturally are, like Ethiopian teff flour injera. Teff is a naturally gluten-free grain native to Ethiopia, and it's notably used to make injera, which is used as an eating surface and utensil in Ethiopian cuisine. Different stews, many of which are naturally vegetarian and vegan, are placed atop one large piece of injera, while other pieces are served rolled and used to pick up the stews and eat.
Of course, chandeleur wouldn't be complete without some French crêpes. Savory crêpes are perfect for a Meatless Monday meal. Buckwheat galettes from Brittany are a unique specialty that have to be folded in a certain way while cooking to ensure that all those tasty fillings stay inside, but if you're planning on serving both sweet and savory crêpes for chandeleur, why not use a wheat flour crêpe recipe and make your life even easier? By making only one batter, you'll be able to make a big pile of crêpes -- letting the kids help flip them in the air, if you want! -- and once the pile's done, everyone at the table can assemble their own sweet and savory crêpes. For a Meatless Monday crêpe party, include fried or scrambled eggs, cheese, tomatoes, sliced green onions and sautéed mushrooms, and be sure you have lots of jam, lemon, sugar, and chocolate-hazelnut spread for dessert.
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Top image: Jinho Jung