“Pancakes” and Pani Pol


Afternoon tea is just about my favourite time of the day. Sitting down to a hot cup of milky, black tea accompanied by something sweet or some cheese and biccies (crackers). This Sunday just gone I told Mr Firehouse that I had a real hankering for Sri Lankan style pancakes with their sweet coconut filling. I then mentioned that thanks to an unfortunate mis-hap with a new beef rendang recipe (read: mis-reading the recipe and putting in almost a kilo of coconut into a curry so there was almost as much coconut as meat), I had used all the coconut in the house. Mr Firehouse sprang into action, and volunteered to go to the shops.

“Sure” I agreed, “if you bring the coconut, I’ll make some pancakes. ”

” I’ll go after the Seahawks game” he said, “there’s only a few minutes left.”

Silly, naive me! Gridiron games don’t end  in the amount of time on the clock. The clock stops every few seconds so that 5 minutes of play can last 25. Not to mention, this particular game went into overtime. Anyway, it was about an hour later by the time the coconut arrived at home and I got to make my afternoon tea.



Pani pol

  • 1 cup. Treacle
  • 1 cardoman pod
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of water

Crepe (Pancake Mix)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • salt to taste
  • melted butter to brush on pan
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric (optional)


In a bowl with a whisk or in a blender mix all the crepe ingredients together until the mixture is smooth (no lumps). I find that adding the liquid slowly helps if you’re doing it by hand. Leave the mixture to sit for about half an hour which helps the bubbles subside and stops the crepe from tearing.


In the meantime I make my pani-pol by heating the kithul treacle in a pan with the spices.

Once it comes to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavours infuse. At this point I simply add the un-sweetened desiccated coconut and stir. Finally add the water and give it another stir.
Leave it on the heat for about 10 minutes until the coconut has absorbed the pani and become dark and caramel like.

Once done, remove the spices and leave the mixture to cool.

Heat a small (20 cm) frypan on medium heat and brush with oil, then add 1/3 a cup of batter and swirl so that the batter covers the whole pan. When the edges start curling use a spatula to flip the crepe over and cook for a minute or so.



Repeat with the rest of the mix. You can stack the crepes ready to roll.

When all the crepes are ready, place one on a plate and then add 1-2 tablespoons of pani-pol (depending on your preference) along the top edge of the crepe.


Then fold the sides of the crepe in lightly. Start rolling from the filled end and keep rolling until the filling is completely enclosed. Place on a plate with the seam down. Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling.


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