Coconut-cumin pancakes with aubergine and cabbage, coriander-lime oil and chilli-roasted squash


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

By Denis Cotter

Published 1999

  • About

The recipe for these pancakes is adapted from one for ‘serabi’, Indonesian breakfast pancakes, which I learned while catering for a gamelan performance. That day we served them topped delicately with a tropical fruit puree and fresh mango, but changed the recipe next day to a savoury version and have subjected them ever since to all sorts of heavily spiced partners, mostly this very rich aubergine concoction. The aubergine stew itself has had many lives already, with a few changes, as a pasta sauce and pastry filling amongst others. I like the aubergine to be very hot with chillies, some of which is absorbed by the pancakes underneath and is also offset by serving it with the relative calm of gingered squash and a few blobs of soured cream around the plate for dipping into. I would make the pancakes and the stew anything up to a day ahead and reheat them while the squash is roasting.


For 24 Pancakes, About Eight to Ten Portions

  • 100 g strong flour
  • 100 g rice flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 dstspns ground cumin seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 400 mls coconut milk
  • chopped fresh coriander

For the Filling

  • 250 g aubergine
  • 1 tblspn olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp chopped hot chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 50 mls red wine
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • savoy cabbage, kale or spring cabbage, about 100 g
  • coriander-lime oil
  • chilli-roasted squash


SIFT THE FLOURS, SALT AND CUMIN. Whisk the egg into the coconut milk, then whisk this into the flours. Stir in the coriander. This should give you a thick pouring batter, which makes a pancake a good deal thicker than the average crepe. Heat a large frying pan to a medium-low heat. Brush it very lightly with oil, then pour in one to three small ladlefuls of the batter, about one tablespoon each to give a diameter of about 6cm. Fry the pancakes for about two minutes, then flip them over and fry the other side. Turn them out on to a plate in a random pile - they won’t stick to each other. This will make more than you need for now, but they keep well and it’s hard to make a smaller batter.

CHOP THE AUBERGINE into very small dice, toss in olive oil and roast in a moderate oven, until cooked through. It will need a bit of attention and turning to avoid scorching, due to the size of the dice.

Meanwhile, start the sauce by cooking the onion in a little olive oil for a minute, then add the garlic, herbs and spices. Chop the tomatoes into small dice and add them, with the wine and puree, to the pot when the onion is soft. Cook over a moderate heat until reduced to a thick sauce, about half an hour. Check for all the flavours - it should be very hot with chilli, but that’s up to you at this stage. Add in the roasted aubergine, and bring to the boil for a minute. Chop the cabbage into short, thin shreds and drop it into boiling water for a minute or so, then stir it into the aubergine. Keep this warm over a low heat, while you reheat the pancakes. When the pancakes are warm, pile a generous amount of filling on each, about a tablespoon, then put three overlapping pancakes on each plate. Spoon some of the coriander-lime oil around and over each portion, add a few blobs of soured cream or yoghurt, if you like; then arrange the chilli-roasted squash around the plate.