Pancakes with sugar and lemon will never quite cut it again after you’ve tried these fluffy fennel-infused yoghurt pancakes, soaked in a fragrant saffron-and-cardamom syrup, and topped with pistachios. Popular in the Bengali regions of Bangladesh and India, malpua vary from place to place, but are generally served as a dessert or snack during festivals.
- 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 2 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 280 g (1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
- 160 g (⅔ cup) ghee
- pistachios, to serve
- 330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
- large pinch saffron threads
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tbsp rosewater (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 4 hours
Combine flour, sugar and fennel in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine yoghurt and 125 ml (½ cup) water and whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 4 hours or until mixture bubbles slightly.
Meanwhile, to make syrup, place sugar, saffron and 375 ml (1½ cups) water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook for 8 minutes or until thickened and reduced. Cool slightly, then add cardamom and rosewater. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 120°C. Heat enough ghee in a heavy-based frying pan to generously coat surface over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop 2 tablespoonfuls of batter per pancake onto pan and spread gently to form 9 cm rounds. Cook for 3 minutes or until deep golden on the base, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, coating pan with extra ghee before frying.
Serve pancakes topped with warm saffron syrup and pistachios.
• Rosewater is from Middle Eastern food shops and select supermarkets.
Photography Brett Stevens. Food preparation Leanne Kitchen. Styling Vivien Walsh.
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2014, Issue 37.