For those of you who’ve followed me on Instagram all these years you probably know I’m a fan of pancakes (but lets be honest, breakfast food in general). Crepes are great because they’re lighter than normal pancakes making them ideal for those mornings you’re craving something sweet but you’ve not got the appetite for a full stack of fluffy pancakes. For a little mid-week pick me up, here’s a healthy version of those golden sheets of goodness with a Southeast Asian twist on flavours!
If there’s one thing I encourage you to do it’s to make use of local ingredients. Coming back to Malaysia from England I’ve learnt locally sourced ingredients taste best where they originate from. I can guarantee wherever you live, there are native ingredients that while may seem ordinary to you, are exotic to people overseas (who are dishing out 5x more money for them). Take advantage of the exotic flavours and produce you have in abundance around you as they’ll not only be the freshest and cheapest ingredients, but they’ll also be what makes your dishes unique.
My introduction to lemongrass as a flavouring in something sweet was from the first restaurant I ever worked at. It was a drink called the ‘Lemongrass Citron Presse‘ – a sparkling citrus concoction the bartenders whipped up that imprinted the herb’s unique light, fragrant aroma in my mind.
In this recipe I’ve translated those delicate tones into my tropical crepes by infusing it in the coconut milk. I’m pairing it with mango and passionfruit for that tangy kick, and a rich, almost buttery coconut ‘caramel’ sauce for sweetness. All of this topped with toasted shredded coconut and little segments of dokong (a Malaysian fruit that tastes like nature’s jelly!)
These crepes are gluten free (deceivingly buckwheat is not a wheat, but a fruit seed) as well as nut free and refined sugar free. While I don’t avoid gluten or nuts, as a vegan I understand the struggle of having limited options to choose from. One of the aims of my blog is to cater for a variety of dietary restrictions – I remember how happy my one of best friends (who’s coeliac and vegan) was when she found out she could actually have the pancakes we served at Kitch. I want delicious, healthy food to be accessible to everyone and not just a luxury for special occasions. So coeliacs, nut intolerant readers – this ones for you!
RECIPE: Lemongrass infused Buckwheat Crepes with a Vegan Coconut ‘Caramel’ Sauce (GF, NF)
- Infuse coconut milk with lemongrass. Bruise the lemongrass by bashing it with the back of your knife and cut into chunks. In a small saucepan gently heat the coconut milk and lemongrass on low, bringing it to a boil and turning the heat off immediately (don’t let it curdle). Let it cool down before pouring your mixture into a container to chill in the fridge overnight.*
- Blend ingredients. Strain and discard the lemongrass. Put your infused coconut milk and all the other crepe ingredients (except coconut oil) in the blender and blend until combined.
- Preheat and grease pan. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and grease with coconut oil.
- Pour batter in pan. Once you pan is hot, move your pan away from the flame and pour a circle of batter roughly ¾ the size of your pan’s surface and swirl it around to make a thin, round crepe. Return the pan to the heat.
- Flip it! When you start to see the edges lifting and getting golden (roughly 3 mins) give your pan a little shake to loosen the crepe and flip it. It takes a few tries to get it right so be patient!
- Cook the other side. Cook the other side until golden (roughly 2 mins) before sliding your crepe off onto your plate. Feel free to make rolls, V-shaped cones or stack them up.
- Repeat with remaining batter.
Coconut ‘caramel’ sauce:
- Deseed and chop dates. Remove the seed from your dates and chop into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the better it will melt.
- Heat dates and coconut milk. In a small saucepan on low heat, stir the chopped dates with your coconut milk until incorporated.
- Blend. To make your sauce extra smooth and lump free blend the mixture once it’s cooled down slightly. If you don’t mind a few lumps, skip this step.
Garnish. Garnish your pancakes with mango and passionfruit. Drizzle on your sauce and top it off with a sprinkle of toasted shredded coconut** and segments of dokong. Finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice (optional).
* I do mine the night before so I get the most flavour out of my lemongrass but if you’re in a hurry 30 mins will do (but the longer it infuses, the better).
** I buy freshly shredded coconut and toast it on a dry pan but desiccated coconut or coconut flakes also work.