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The pancake possibilities are endless
Nothing says American breakfast like a stack of hot pancakes topped with a slab of butter and a pool of maple syrup slowly dripping down the sides. But in some countries, the doughy pancake isn’t a dish limited to breakfast. From savory sides to the main meal to sweet desserts, here are 10 ways that pancakes are dished out around the globe.
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Scallion pancakes | China
In China, the cong you bing, or scallion pancake, is a pan-fried flatbread with minced scallions. They’re a bit chewy because the recipe calls for dough instead of batter, but they also have a crispiness, thanks to the hot oil they’re fried in.
Scallion pancakes are often served with a dipping sauce made with soy, vinegar, garlic and more scallions, which adds a bit of saltiness and tanginess to the dish.
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Pannukakku | Finland
Finland’s official pancake, the pannukakku, takes the best of pancakes, French toast and crepes, and combines them in a deliciously, puffy delight. Unlike American pancakes, where you have to cook batter over a hot griddle and flip at the right moment, pannukakku is baked in the oven.
You know it’s done when the sides get puffy and a little crispy, while the center maintains a custardy texture. Pannukakku goes perfectly with fruit and whipped cream, and can be served alongside savory breakfast meats.
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Palacsinta | Hungary
Hungarian palacsinta are very similar to crepes in the sense that they’re flat and smooth. But instead of being folded like crepes, the palacsinta is rolled up with either a sweet or savory filling.
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Dosas | India
Dosas, which are a South Indian staple, look similar to crepes, but they’re made from a fermented rice batter. When cooked, they become light and slightly crispy. They’re usually served as a side that can be dipped in chutneys, curries and other dishes.
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Okonomiyaki | Japan
Unlike other pancakes around the world which are served as a side, the okonomiyaki in Japan is the main course. A pancake made of a batter and cabbage is topped with a wide variety of meats, seafood, vegetables and sometimes even cheese.
The Japanese word okonomi means “how you like” or “what you like” and yaki means “cooked,” which is the perfect way to think of this dish. It is literally cooked however you like it.
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Pannenkoeken | Netherlands
This Dutch pancake is way bigger and thinner than its American counterpart. One pannenkoek can take up an entire pan, and can be cooked with sweet or savory fillings added to the batter while its cooking. They can be served as a savory lunch or dinner or can be sweetened up for breakfast or even a dessert.
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Arepas | South America
The arepa in South America is a prime example of pre-Columbian cuisine. Like many South American dishes that predate colonization, the arepa is made from corn. The corn is ground to make a dough that is then cooked to make a flat, round cornmeal cake.
It’s a dish that is very prominent in Colombia and Venezuela, and in recent years, has made its way into the American foodscape.
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Ebelskivers | Denmark
Most often, pancakes are part of the meal, and sometimes they’re even the whole meal. But in Denmark, they’re eating pancakes as a small snack.
Ebleskivers are small, spherical dough balls that are sometimes filled with jam, almost like a donut. They’re cooked in a pan with special molds which help them to achieve their iconic spherical shape, and also cook them evenly.
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Placki Kartoflane or Placki Ziemniaczane | Poland
Closely related to the latke, the placki kartoflane or placki ziemniaczane from Poland is a potato pancake. They’re often served with goulash, sour cream, apple sauce, mushroom sauce, cheese or fruit syrup.
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Baghrir | Morocco
Morocco’s take on the pancake, the baghrir, is made from a crepe-like batter of semolina. Thanks to the yeast that’s added to the batter, the baghrir has tons of little bubbles in it, making it spongy and light. Baghrir are often served with honey or syrup, making them even sweeter.