Spinach, spring onion and spice pancakes with lime and coriander crème fraîche

26 Sep

Spinach, spring onion and spice pancakes with lime and coriander crème fraîche

We were in Dubai in June and my then 16month child lost a few hundred grams in weight over the first few days of our 10 day stay.

We were very lucky to be staying at the Atlantis, which is not only stunning with its in-house aquarium which felt as big as the London aquarium, beautiful clear views of the azure sea, towering heights and arches, shimmering lights; but it is architecturally astounding with its arabesque domes and spires. They couldn’t do enough for us and I lost count of the number of restaurants they had that served fresh and delicious foods from throughout the world. My favorite was the Lebanese restaurant; they served an entire table of vegetarian dishes at each course and I’m not kidding.
So why, with such lovely and helpful staff and so much variety did my boy not eat? Why, when they made him whatever we asked for, either on or off the ‘menu for kids’, would he just not eat? The truth is, I don’t know. Could have been the heat, but then the hotel was air-conditioned. It could have been the time changes, but then we stuck to UK time for him. It could have been the fatigue of travelling, but surely that would settle after a couple of days. It could be because mumma didn’t make it. But come on.

So, as is typical of my assertive and self-proclaimed solutions-not-problems focused husband, he said, ‘babe, just go and speak to the chefs like you normally would and go into the kitchen and make what he will eat’. Normally I wouldn’t go and cook uninvited because that is so rude. But my baby wasn’t eating and this made me so sad that I felt like it was the only thing I could do.

The head chef came out to meet my boy. The restaurant manager came to meet him. The sous chef took the head chefs instructions and then I went in to tell them how he likes it. My boy doesn’t even know lucky he is. We made him what he has at home, a spinach uttapam. I make this south Indian style crispy pancake with fermented and ground lentils and rice, loads of spinach. My little monster guzzled it down and the whole team was happy, especially me. Naturally.

The thing is though, that I don’t always have fermented rice and lentils to hand when he asks for the pancake and I know that instant versions are available in a packet and that too at the major supermarkets, but I worry about the amount of salt in them. So, I created this recipe that my whole family enjoy…even my fussy old man (my dad) loved them. My chappati-loving mum let out high-pitched praise. My Italian and Caribbean neighbors loved them (I’ve trialed this recipe out a couple of times so needed mouths) and best of all, my boy loves them. For a kids version skip the chili and salt if this is your normal practice given your child’s age. My boy is young so that’s what I’ve done.

These pancakes are really well-balanced in terms of spice and depth, they are smooth and really light and fluffy. Herby and moorish, they are so easy to make and even easier to eat.

Ingredients to serve 3-4

225g fresh spinach, finely chopped in a food processor
75g spring onions finely chopped
2 green chilies finely chopped (leave them out for kids or cut the amount of chili if you don’t like it hot)
One whole egg
One egg white, beaten until you get soft white peaks
150g self-raising flour
150ml milk
50g butter
Salt to taste (I used 1tsp)
1 tbsp baking powder

The spices; 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp dried mango powder (amchur powder)

For the lime and coriander crème fraîche

250g crème fraîche
The zest of one lime
1 tbsp very finely chopped fresh coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper


1. In a large bowl mix the spinach with the cumin, salt, garam masala, mango powder, spring onions and chilies and mix it well.
2. With a fork, mix in the flour and then add the milk, butter and egg. Whisk it all together, add the baking powder and whisk again.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until the egg whites are soft white peaks and then gently fold into the pancake batter.
4. To make the crème fraîche, add the zest of the lime into a bowl and add the coriander, salt and pepper. Mix it in gently with the crème fraîche and leave it in the fridge until you serve the pancakes.
5. To make the pancakes heat a non stick pan and grease it with a couple of tablespoons of oil. Pour a couple of tablespoons of batter onto the pan and ensure that the height is about 1 cm. Cook them until they are golden brown on one side before flipping over.

Serve the pancakes hot and with a dollop of the crème fraîche.

20 Responses to “Spinach, spring onion and spice pancakes with lime and coriander crème fraîche”

  1. Amruta September 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    I have never tried spinach in pancake form! They have brilliant green color and the recipe sounds wonderful. I will try it for sure..

    • Deena Kakaya September 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      Thank you for the lovely feedback Amruta, I really appreciate it! I do hope that you’ll try these..they are so fluffy, scrummy and spicy. Xx

  2. Sonia September 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I don’t normally like savoury pancakes, but this recipe is amazing! I can’t wait to try it! X

    • Deena Kakaya September 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      Oh thank you Sonia,that is very kind! I hope that you’ll let me know how you like them x

  3. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) September 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    These sound lovely, especially with the coriander crème fraîche on top! I love the color of the pancakes, too.

    • Deena Kakaya September 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      They were really fluffy and yes, the colour is beautiful! The creme fraiche is zesty…I’m glad I had leftovers! Thanks so much for giving me some lovely feedback Alison xx

  4. Lisa@FacelessFood September 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Oooh Deena, those pancakes look amazing!

    • Deena Kakaya September 28, 2013 at 6:48 am #

      Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for the lovely comment…I think even I was surprised at how well they turned out! They hold their colour really well and are so airy. I hope you’ll try them xx

  5. Jacqueline September 29, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Those pancakes look amazing! I’m definitely going to try them. I love spinach in dishes.

    • Deena Kakaya September 29, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Thank you so much Jacqueline, really appreciate your lovely words. Please let me know how you like them, I will look forward to hearing from you xxx

  6. veganmiam.com September 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    Dubai is one of our list of destinations to visit! The savory pancakes look beautiful, I wonder if it’s easy to veganise them.

    • Deena Kakaya September 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

      Hello! It’s great to hear from you…we love Dubai too and my 1.5year old keeps saying, ‘lets go Dubai!’

      Yes, I guess you could use egg replacer. I add fruit salts to get a bit of fizz and fluffiness x

  7. Catherine Taylor October 1, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Looking forward to trying these out with my 10 year old son. Look delicious xx

    • Deena Kakaya October 1, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Will he be cooking them? They’re actually really easy to make and even easier to eat! If he does cook them please send me a pic, I will share it xxx

  8. Vina October 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Deena, your recipes seem to be getting tastier by the day! Can’t wait to try this one xx

    • Deena Kakaya October 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Thanks Vina! How flattering! I love this one, do try it x

  9. The Savvy Sister October 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Looks beautiful! i expected to see a picture of your son here! He sounds adorable!
    I was just introduced to uttapam by a friend of mine. we found this amazing little hidden place downtown Atlanta Georgia and we look for every excuse to go.
    I would have to switch some things up as I eat plant-based, but I’m excited to try to make this!
    Wonderful look and very nice photos!

    • Deena Kakaya October 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Hello Savy one! So lovely to see you on here, thank you for your comment. Lol, my little one is 1.5years old going on 5! He’s a little motor mouth and very clearly asserts himself. Maybe I should get some pictures on 🙂

      Uttapam are fantastic, I love the sourness and I also love that they are made of rice and lentils, feels so clever!

      These pancakes are really funny on the senses, they’re really unexpected flavours and textures and I love that…they’re spicy and super fluffy. I really hope you enjoy them xx

  10. tracy September 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    tried 4 or 5 recipes.delic for all.easier to make then they look.great site.

    • Deena Kakaya September 2, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      Thank you so much Tracy for your kind words and for taking the time to comment, it’s always so lovely to hear from people who have tried the recipes. Keep in touch, best regards from Deena

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