Buckwheat pancakes are popular in many different food cultures. They are known as boûketes in Wallonia, ployes in Quebec and galettes in Bretagne. In Russia, blinis are made both with and without buckwheat.
In the 18th and 19th century, the United States was a major producer of buckwheat, especially in the northeast, and buckwheat pancakes were an important food for many settlers. The widespread use of artificial nitrogen fertilizer in the 20th century caused a sharp decline in the U.S. production of buckwheat, since corn and wheat was favoured over buckwheat. By the end of WWI, over 1 million acres of buckwheat were harvested annually in the U.S. By the mid-1950s, the number had decreased to 150,000 acres, and a decade later, the number was down to 50,000 acres.
Traditionally, buckwheat pancakes have been unleavened or raised with yeast. In our recipe below, we use baking powder instead.
- 1 egg
- 2 avocados
- ¾ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- A generous pinch of cinnamon
- A generous pinch of cardamom
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- Butter to grease the skillet
- Lightly beat the egg in a bowl and set aside. If it has been refrigerated, let it reach room temperature before you use it in this recipe.
- Take the milk and buttermilk out of the fridge to let it reach room temperature while you continue with the rest of the recipe.
- Mash the avocados in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a big bowl, stir together buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the beaten egg and the mashed avocado with the milk and buttermilk, and 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to make a pancake batter. Only mix until combined. Careful not to overdo it – this is not a batter that will improve with vigorous whisking.
- Let the pancake batter rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Heat up a skillet over medium heat.
- Grease the griddle with butter.
- Pour some batter into the skillet and let it spread out.
- When you can see bubbles around the edges of the pancake, it is time to flip it. Slide a wide spatula under it and turn it over. This is easier to do in a pan with low and sloping sides, as compared to tall and straight sides.
You can expect each pancake to need approximately 2 minutes of cooking per side.
- When the second side of the pancake is golden, use your spatula to take the pancake out of the skillet and place it on a plate.
- Repeat with some new batter, until all the pancakes hare cooked.
You will probably need to adjust the heat throughout this process, because it tends to go up while cooking. You might also need to add some more butter to the skillet.
- Serve with you the pancake topping of your choice. You can tinker with the nutritional profile of this dish by varying the toppings. Fresh blueberries, stirred raspberries (without any added ingredients) and sliced kiwi are my favourites. Almond butter and sliced banana is another popular choice.
What is buckwheat?
Common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is not a type of wheat and it isn’t even a type of grass. One of its closest relatives is actually rhubarb!
Buckwheat isn’t a cereral, but the seeds of the buckwheat is rich in complex carbohydrates and can be turned into flour, and buckwheat is commonly referred to as a pseudocereal.
The Common buckwheat was domesticated and cultivated in inland Southeast Asia several thousand years ago. Exactly when it was first domesticated is unknown, but it was probably at least 8,000 years ago and probably in the western Yunnan region of China. From there, the crop spread to Central Asia and Tibet, and then into the Middle East and eventually Europe. By 5300 BCE, buckwheat was grown as far north as Finland.
When European’s colonised North America, buckwheat was one of the first crops brought over and introduced from the Old World.
- In India, buckwheat is associated with the Navrati festival.
- In the United States, buckwheat is celebrated at the Preston County Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood, West Virginia.
Fagopyrum tataricum tastes more bitter than F. esculentum.
F. tataricum is a common food plants in parts of Asia, but very uncommon outside those areas.