The adventures in soaked and sprouted grains continue. I’ve spoken before about why it’s important to soak, and even sprout your grains, which you can read about here (spoiler alert: it makes them way more nutritious!) and I’ve been experimenting a little with different ways to use said soaked/sprouted grains, but by far my favorite way so far is to turn them into pancakes! It’s super-easy to do – and who doesn’t love pancakes?
Unlike traditional pancakes, these ones obviously have more of a ‘wholegrain’ flavour and texture, but they are still quite light and, the best part – they’re a lot healthier than traditional pancakes. To me, there’s nothing better than eating something that tastes amazing and knowing that it’s actually good for you as well.
As we know – food is medicine and everything we eat has the potential for either positive or negative impacts on our body. Traditional pancakes are normally made with white flour, sugar, milk and eggs. The refined flour and sugar not only offer no nutritional value, but studies have linked refined flour and sugar with a whole range of issues from digestive issues and inflamation to weight gain and obesity. On the other hand, by soaking and sprouting your grains they become more digestible and the nutritional profile is increased. Using wholegrains as opposed to refined flours also increases the amount of fibre which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels.
A warning of types – these pancakes do take a little longer to prepare. You need to soak and then sprout the barley, so depending on temperature (grains will sprout quicker in warmer climates) you will need to start your preparation work a few days in advance. That said, the preparation work takes less than 30 seconds a day, so it’s not a huge effort by any means. You simply need to add your grains to a jar and soak over night, and then drain, place in a sprouter (like this one) and rinse two to three times a day until ready. I’d be happy to put together a ‘Wholefoods How-To’ on how to soak and sprout grains with a step by step process and pictures if you’re interested.
In a rush though, these will work fine if you just soak the grains for 24 hours or so beforehand, then drain, rinse and blend away!
- 2 pears, peeled and cored
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1 star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 slice fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 black tea bag
- 3 cups hot water
- 1 cup dry, hulled barley (makes 2 cups sprouted)
- 1 cup milk (dairy, nut or coconut)
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
- ½ tsp sea salt
- This recipes requires a little forward planning as you'll need to sprout the barley first. In a pinch though, it will still work if you just soak the barley the night before.
- To sprout the grains, soak thm overnight, and then in the morning place in a sprouter and leave to drain. Make sure to rinse the grains every 6 to 10 hours.
- Once the grains start to sprout (ie grown little tails), rinse again and then store in the fridge a day or two until ready to use.
- To prepare the pears, first peel and core them from the bottom so as to keep them in tact.
- Place all other ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove the tea bag after 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add the pears and poach until soft and cooked through, around 30 - 40 minutes.
- Remove pears and set aside. Strain the liquid and discard the spices. Return the liquid to the pan and bring to a rolling boil for half an hour or until it's reduced and is nice and syrupy.
- To make the pancakes, place the sprouted (or soaked and drained) barley grains in a high-powered blender and add the milk, sweetener and salt and blend until smooth. Add the egg and pulse a few times until combined. If the mixture is too thick at this point, add an extra table spoon or two of milk.
- Heat a fry pan over medium heat and dab a little cocout oil or butter on the pan and coat the base. Spoon 2 - 3 Tbsp of the batter on and smooth out with the back of the spoon. Cook until firm on top and golden underneath. Flip and cook another minute or so on the otherside until also golden, then remove from the pan. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, placing the cooked pancakes on a plate in a warm oven until ready to serve.
- Place 3 - 4 pancakes on each plate and top with half a pear and a drizzle of the chai syrup to serve.
For a savoury version of soaked grain pancakes, check out my recipe for Soaked Buckwheat Pancakes with Roasted Tomato Salsa