Use up leftover grains in a delicious gluten-free pancake – recipe

This week’s recipe was created by my thrifty mother-in-law. She likes to text us delicious food ideas and updates from her home in South Africa, and she first made these gluten-free pancakes with leftover quinoa, which puffs up splendidly and works with sweet and savoury toppings alike. I’ve also made them with leftover rice and millet, and while the millet was equally puffy, the rice made more of a fritter; both were delicious, though.

Most grains are refined and bleached to make them pearly-white and as long-lasting as possible, but the process creates waste out of the most nutritional parts: the bran and germ. Whole grains such as these are super-economical, even when they’re organic, and are the foundation of a well-balanced diet.

Leftover grain pancakes
This recipe works best with pseudo-cereals such as quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat groats. Pseudo-cereals are any non grass-based seeds that are used like cereals, and can be ground into flour or boiled in much the same way. They seem also to be more cohesive and puff up slightly when cooked into pancakes, so removing the need for a raising agent. However, if you make these with other grains such as rice, be sure to add the optional tablespoon of buckwheat flour as a binder.

If the pancake sticks at first, don’t touch it – just be patient and, once a crust forms, carefully flip over. For the best results, make the batter a couple of hours before you plan to cook the pancakes, or even the day before.

Makes 6 small pancakes

150g leftover cooked quinoa or millet
1 egg
1 tbsp buckwheat flour (optional)
1 pinch salt
Neutral oil, for greasing

In a medium bowl, beat the cooked grains with the egg, an optional tablespoon of buckwheat flour and salt, then chill and store in the fridge until needed. Like most batters, this one works best when it’s mixed a couple of hours in advance.

Warm a nonstick or well seasoned frying pan over a medium heat, and brush all over with a touch of oil. Beat the mixture one last time, then spoon dessertspoonfuls into the hot pan, leaving space between them to allow them to spread out. After a minute or two, when the underside turns golden brown, flip and cook on the other side for another minute or two, until golden brown. Serve hot with your favourite toppings.