Pancakes? Latkes is what they are, and in my grandmother’s kitchen, latkes were made out of anything, fruit or vegetables, or fruit and vegetables combined, as long as there was prostokvasha – clabbered milk (please see my post Prostokvasha – Non-dairy Clabbered Milk). I was planning to discuss it big time around Chanukkah, the holiday which, for most kids, becomes a “Latke Yom Tov.” However, thanks to a few of you, beautiful people, I was somewhat rushed into it several months earlier. I don’t regret it; on the contrary, I thank you, my fellow bloggers, for giving me an opportunity to do a preview.
Cute, right? But it’s like they give street directions in Boston: you’ll see McDonald on your left but you don’t need to go there, you have to turn right. So we won’t go there – at least until actual Chanukkah time – and we won’t do a traditional recipe. What we’ll do instead is get out prostokvasha and find a couple of bananas that have gone bad.
I use eggs in my latkes, but there are many substitutes if you want to make them vegan. However, watch out for starchy, carby egg substitutes as they will weigh the batter down and prevent your pancakes from growing plump. With bananas, apples, peaches, and other fruit pancakes (yeah, I know, banana isn’t a fruit!), I use soy flour. With veggie pancakes, chick pea or buckwheat flour also works. Sweetened with Blue Agave and spiced with a dash of cinnamon, these pancakes will be a treat. I do add a pinch of baking powder, and salt and pepper, of course.
What do you do with bananas that have gone bad? The same thing you do with kids who have gone bad, for no fault of their own – you peel off the dark stuff that surrounds their lives, and you give them love and attention according to their needs. But first you have to squeeze out the fears, the insecurities, the anxieties, – everything that had made them “go bad” in the first place. Then you mix them with sweetness and spice, nurture them with tenderness and care, and they become not just “good” but the best!
You treat bananas the same way. Peel them and be careful to remove all dark spots, then mash them up with a potato masher. Leave them a little lumpy; individuality only enhances the end result.
Add the rest of the ingredients, starting with prostokvasha and ending with soy flour. Don’t forget to leave about a tablespoon of prostokvasha for your next starter and add soy or coconut milk, to have more tomorrow for your next batch of pancakes! Mix really well – banana lumps are good, soy flour lumps aren’t. Mist frying pan with oil and heat to medium. Pour batter on the frying pan with a spoon or a ladle. I am used to doing it with a spoon, so my latkes are always the same small size and the same oval shape, but you do whatever is comfortable for you and gets you better results.
Don’t go away! Now they need your special attention. In a few short minutes, you’ll see them growing plump and getting golden brown around the edges. They are so happy, they are ready to flip! So flip them, with all the tenderness and care you can muster, because they are still delicate and very fragile.
In just a couple more minutes, they are done. Even though they have been fried on a barely misted pan, I still use a paper towel to blot out excess oil. Now they are ready to be served, hot, warm, or cold, for breakfast, lunch, or snack, with agave or sugar-free chocolate syrup, or even American apple sauce, if you like. And by the way, you can use this recipe to make latkes out of any fruit, vegetable, or a combination of both. My husband usually just pops one in his mouth whenever he walks by that plate, and he makes sure to walk by quite often. I am having a few with those monster blueberries and raspberries – still in season! – and one of my husband’s signature dessert drinks, Non-dairy Mocha Irish Cream.
- 2 overripe bananas
- 1/2 cup dairy free prostokvasha (clabbered soy or coconut milk)
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup soy flour
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and clean bananas. Mash up with potato masher, but leave them a little lumpy.
- Add all ingredients, wet first, then dry. Mix thoroughly but gently.
- Mist frying pan with oil, preheat to medium.
- Use large spoon or ladle to pour batter on preheated pan. Fry for 4 – 5 minutes until pancakes grow plump and golden brown around the edges.
- Turn them over and fry for 2 – 3 more minutes, checking often. Do not overfry!
- Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to blot excess oil.