The first time I made these Kenyan rice and coconut pancakes for my kids, they asked me never to make regular pancakes again. They were instantly in love with these. I am so glad to be able to share some of my history with my kids and now you in form of food.
Growing up in Kenya, we would often visit the coastal region of Mombasa during the holidays and we loved it. Vitambua was one of the things we loved having for snacks at every opportunity we got. Vitambua requires a special pan to make, but since I don’t have one, I make them into these rice and coconut pancakes and we enjoy them for breakfast on the weekends. They always transport me back to family vacations in Mombasa.
These rice and coconut pancakes are easy to make and have very few ingredients.
In order to get these pancakes right, you have to soak the rice, so that we can make a pancake-like batter. In a large mixing bowl, add two cups of uncooked rice and about five cups of water. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for about five to six hours. I generally soak the rice the night before, so that the next morning, I have soft rice that can be made into delicious rice and coconut pancakes.
Making the batter
Using a large sieve, drain the rice completely, so there’s no water left in the rice. Place the rice into a food processor (or blender) and using the pulse button, blend the rice a little. Add to it one cup of coconut milk, a quarter cup of sugar, one teaspoon of cardamom powder, and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Blend well until the batter is smooth.
Add one and a half teaspoons of dry active yeast to the blender and mix again, just to combine the yeast and the batter. Pour the batter into a mixing bowl and add to it one teaspoon of whole fennel seeds (optional – not everyone likes the taste of fennel, so you can skip them if you prefer). Cover the bowl with a dry tea towel and let the batter rest for about half an hour to allow the yeast to activate.
Once the yeast has had time to activate, heat a cast iron pan (or a non-stick pan if you prefer). Once heated, add about half a teaspoon of coconut oil, or vegetable oil, or unsalted butter if you prefer to the pan. Spread it around and then pour one ladle full of the rice and coconut pancake batter on to the pan. Let it spread naturally.
The consistency of the batter will depend on the thickness of the coconut milk. If the batter is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of water to get the right consistency. If the batter is too thin, you can always add a couple of tablespoons of rice flour to get the right consistency.
The pancake will start to bubble as the yeast reacts to the heat. Let the pancake cook for about two mins on medium-low heat or until it’s lightly browned on the bottom. Flip and cook the other side of the pancake for another one or two minutes or until the pancake is browned on the second side as well.
Enjoy the pancakes warm. Serve with fresh fruit, fresh whipped cream, maple syrup, or any other topping of choice.
Kenyan Rice and Coconut Free Pancakes – Vitambua PancakesCourse: Breakfast, Gluten FreeCuisine: East AfricanDifficulty: Easy
These indulgent rice and coconut pancakes from the coastal regions of East Africa are made with rice and coconut milk. They are addictive and delicious.
2 cups rice
5 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
coconut or vegetable oil for cooking
- Add the rice and water to a bowl and set aside for 5-6 hours (overnight is preferable).
- Drain the rice completely using a sieve, so there’s no water left in the rice at all.
- Add the rice to a food processor or blender and using the pulse button process a few times.
- Add the coconut milk, sugar, cardamom, and salt to the processor and blend everything together until the batter is smooth.
- Add the yeast to the processor and mix again just to combine the yeast into the batter.
- If using, add the fennel seeds and mix them into the batter using a spoon.
- Pour the batter into a mixing bowl and cover with a cloth. Let it sit for about half an hour to allow the yeast to bloom.
- Heat a cast-iron or non-stick pan and pour about 1/2 teaspoon of oil on the pan. Pour the batter on the pan and let it cook over low medium heat. The pancake will bubble as it cooks. Cook till it’s lightly browned
- Flip the pancake and cook the other side til it’s lightly browned.
- Serve hot with fresh fruit and maples syrup, or any topping of choice.
– Check out other breakfast recipes here.