As Mardi Gras / Pancake day is on February 28th this year, let me share with you my tips, recipe and a how-to video in Chinese!
Have you ever asked yourself why your ayi loves crȇpes? Does the word jianbing 煎饼 mean anything to you? Jianbing are what Chinese queue for every morning in front of street food vendors – the best example of a Chinese breakfast! Shandong or Shanghai’s egg-based jianbing with crispy flat bread has become as popular with visitors as it is with locals. I asked a vendor one day to explain to me why this is so and he said “It’s simple: it appeals to almost everyone because they can be made with any number of ingredients, according to the eater’s own taste.” To learn more about jianbing http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/08/jianbing-chinese-savory-breakfast-crȇpes.html
It really reminds me of the crȇpes you find from street vendors in France, they are everywhere and everyone loves them. I’m personally fond of savory crȇpe with ham, grated Emmental cheese and sunny side up egg. But I have to admit that I am also a big fan of sweet crȇpes filled with salty caramel sauce and apples or chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Yummy! So if your ayi loves crȇpes, it’s most probably because it reminds her of the Chinese bing she has every morning.
I discovered that it’s not only ayis who don’t know all the tricks to make perfect crȇpes; it’s expats too. The key, as we emphasise in our ‘Cuisine mei wenti’ programs for ayis, is to follow the recipe step by step and don’t deviate from it at all. So, here are my top tips:
- Use the right pan. When it comes to cooking crȇpes, it’s important to use the right pan. I’d recommend a crȇpes pan, or if you don’t have one, to make sure the one you’re using is
- about 20 cm ( 8 inches) in diameter
- with a non-stick surface
- thin and light so that it can be warmed quickly
- Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, overnight would be even better
- You don’t want the crȇpes to be too thin or too thick, so pour about 50 ml of batter per pancake
- I like adding some light beer to get a smoother texture.
- Don’t add sugar to the batter. If you want savoury crȇpes, clearly you don’t need it, and you will probably spread some sweet fillings on your crȇpes anyway, so it’s not necessary to over sweeten it. Also, sugar makes the crȇpes soft.
- Grease the pan with a tiny amount of vegetable oil. (One friend asked me if after cooking them I placed the crȇpes on paper to remove the fat? Let me tell you that it is not necessary. Don’t over grease your pan and after the first pancake, they won’t stick and you’ll be fine)
French crȇpes recipe
250 g all purpose flour
1Tbsp sunflower oil
Pinch of salt
In a salad bowl, sift the flour and a dash of salt.
In a second bowl, beat the three eggs. Add the eggs to the flour and turn gently with a wooden spoon. Pour in the milk and whisk until all the flour is well incorporated and you get an even texture.
Add the oil and beer. Strain to remove the lumps.
Put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Use a napkin with oil to grease a non-sticking pan. Heat over high heat.
Pour one small ladle of batter while swirling it to distribute the batter evenly (your crȇpes should be very thin)
Cook 1 minute until the sides come away from the pan and becomes golden brown. Turn the crȇpes upside down with a spatula or flip it if you’re feeling brave cook the other side one more minute.
Here is the video of the crȇpes in Chinese for your Ayi to have a try!
Olivia, originally from the south of France, is a food lover with an eye for nutrition. She has published a bilingual cookbook and is the founder “Cuisine mei wenti” Academy, where she uses her expertise to guide your Ayi, step-by-step, in becoming a great cook!
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