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Pancake is a usually round shaped, flat cake, technically a quick bread which is prepared in most cuisines across the world. prepared in sweet, savory or any other flavor, a pancake is consumed during any meal of the day depending upon the popular practices of a cuisine. For example, pancakes of a number of interesting varieties are popular breakfast food in many American homes. Fried food items, they are one of the first foods prepared with cereals and generally considered a filling and nutritious food are consumed for the first meal of the day. Numerous pancake recipes prescribe preparation with yeast leavening and fermentation while others do not include this step and involve preparation by simply mixing flours to make a flowy batter which is spread on a griddle and cooked.

A Pancake may be prepared with or without fillings and maybe flavored differently depending upon the culinary choices of the cuisine in which they are prepared. Cheese, vegetables, jelly, jam, chocolate chips, fruit and meat are all different types of fillings that are used as fillings for the pancake.

Origin of Pancake Recipes
The existence of pancake seems to be traced to the prehistoric times when dishes similar to the item under discussion seem to have been prepared with cereal flours which were rich in carbohydrates. The early pancake recipes consisted of mixing the flour with egg or milk, protein-rich liquids, to form a batter which would be spread on crude pans or shallow cookware which were placed on earthen stoves for cooking. On the whole, the dish prepared, would be a wholesome and nutritious food. Though the early pancake was baked, the ones in the medieval and modern era were prepared by shallow frying in a pan.

Ingredients Used in the Preparation of Pancake Recipes
A pancake, as already noted, is made in different cuisines of the world depending on which the cuisine-specific pancake recipes use ingredients that are typically chosen according to their preferences. The ingredients basically used in the preparation of pancakes of some cuisines are discussed as under:

  • European pancake- basically made using three ingredients: flour, eggs and milk, it is made both as sweet and savory varieties with the inclusion of sugar as an ingredient in the preparation of the former variety. The cakes, made using oatmeal are often savory and dessert pancakes are made with a variety of toppings like lemon juice. Scotch pancakes use buttermilk, soda bicarbonate, and cream of tartar apart from the other basic ingredients used by the European cuisine.

  • North American pancake – rising flour being mandatory for most American pancakes, they acquire a soft and light consistency which makes them suitable for consumption as breakfast food. The pancake of the United States, also called a hotcake, griddle cake or a flapjack, is made both sweet and savory. Ingredients used for a sweet version are fruits, chocolate, vanilla extract, jelly, and jam, chocolate nuts and honey. The savory versions are made with bacon and cheese.

  • Asian pancake- this maybe from any of the constituent cuisines of India, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and the Middle Eastern countries. The Indian pancake recipes are mostly made of savory ingredients like salted and spiced batters of urad bean flour, besan and wheat flour. Dosa, Uttapam, and Cheela are some of the most popular Indian pancakes that have gained a place for themselves in some of the best cuisines of the world now. The Chinese pancake, again, maybe a sweet or savory type and unlike its counterparts from other cuisines it is made with dough and not batter. The Malaysian, Singaporean and Philippine pancakes are mostly of the sweet variety and are eaten as an afternoon snack with condiments like maple syrup. The Malaysian pancakes have sweet corn and condensed milk filling.

  • Australian Pancake- also known as pikelets they are small and generally made sweet. Served with whipped cream, butter or jam, this snack food essentially consists of self-raising flour eggs, icing sugar, and milk. The Australasian pancake, similar to its American counterpart, is a sweet pancake that is served with ice cream, fruits, maple syrup, mascarpone etc.

  • French crepes- these are by far, the most popular variation of pancakes, which are enjoyed with sweet or savory fillings. Essentially, a crepe is a fine and very thin, sheet-like pancake which is filled with seafood, ice cream or fruit.

  • African pancake- also called crepe; this is a sweet dish which is enjoyed with cinnamon-flavored sugar topping.

Method of Preparation of Pancake Recipes
Though prepared with widely varying ingredients, a pancake in any cuisine is prepared following a basic process. A leavened or unleavened batter is made and spread evenly in the round shape or any other shape on a frying pan or griddle smeared with some oil or butter, so that the batter does not stick to the surface of the pan. The surface in contact with the cookware is fried with some oil, margarine or fat, and when cooked completely it is flipped to the other side which is cooked in a similar way. Nowadays, with non-stick cookware being widely used, the pancake, after being cooked on one side, automatically detaches itself from the surface of the pan, making it easy for the chef to hold it with a ladle and flip it to the other side. Though this is the basic process of preparation of pancakes, some may involve baking, steaming or any other method as per the specifications of the pancake recipes under consideration.

Variations of Pancake Recipes
The basic pancake is prepared in a number of interesting ways in different cuisines and some of the dishes may be ones that are not exactly pancakes, but those which resemble it. Apart from crepes, the French also prepare the galette, which is a round and flat, freeform pancake made of buckwheat. Cannoli is a sweet Italian pancake with ricotta and chocolate filling.