Middle East inspired pancakes

Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Why would you want to eat the plain ol’, tiresome pancakes for breakfast, when you can have a super fluffy and more wholesome kind?

For starters, consuming refined flour — the major cause for constipation and bloating — in the first meal of your day isn’t exactly the wisest option. While white flour tends to stick on the walls of your intestine like glue, a more fibrous, wholegrain variety will not only smoothen digestion, but also control the release of sugar in your bloodstream in a far more controlled way. So if you’re currently fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, these pancakes make a great Suhoor option (a meal consumed early in the morning).

Moreover, keeping in sync with Middle Eastern tradition, we also chose to use ghee instead of regular butter in our earthy, aromatic version of this breakfast staple. Dubai-based nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary recently wrote: “Having a tablespoon of ghee, organic butter or coconut oil first thing in the morning will heal your gut and reduce constipation and bloating, have a positive effect on insulin, and help you burn fat if you follow it up with a meal with the correct macros for you.”

To top it off, the addition of dates and bananas means you get a great dose of potassium, calcium and magnesium in one go, while eliminating the need for any added sugars. We really doubt you’ll want to keep eating regular pancakes at the dining commons anymore.

Makes: approximately 7 medium-sized pancakes

What you’ll need: 

5 oz / 1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

300 ml / 1 1/3 cups buttermilk or regular, unsweetened yogurt

1 medium-sized egg

3-4  Medjool dates, deseeded and chopped

1 medium overripe banana

3 cardamom pods

30 grams / 2 tbs ghee (clarified butter) or butter, melted

Unsweetened yogurt, to serve

Dried roses for decoration (optional)

What you’ll do:

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Step 1: Place the flour, baking powder and baking soda in one bowl. Peel open the cardamom pods and mix the seeds into the dry ingredients.

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Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Step 2: Crack open the egg in another bowl and measure out the buttermilk.


Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Step 3: Lightly whisk the buttermilk and egg, until both are well mixed.


Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Step 4: Pour over the wet liquid in the flour mix. Carefully stir the components to form a lump-free, smooth batter.


Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Step 5: Mash your overripe banana completely using a fork.


Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Step 6: Incorporate the banana into the batter.


Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Step 6: Finally, add the chopped dates into the batter and mix uniformly.

Since this batter contains bananas, it doesn’t retain the beige color for too long even upon refrigeration. Thus, it’s preferable to prepare this just before you intend to make the pancakes. Remember to add the required amount of melted ghee or butter to the batter right before you cook them on a griddle.


Heeral Shivnani/Staff

Once ready, serve the pancakes with unsweetened yogurt, whole dates (for the inexhaustibly sweet-toothed) and, if you’re feeling a wee bit fancy, embellish with dried roses for added charm.


Contact Heeral Shivnani at [email protected].