Whenever I visit Belarus, this is what I eat nearly every second morning. They actually make so many sorts of pancakes in Belarus that Im dedicating a whole chapter in my book to pancakes. These yoghurt pancakes are a typical breakfast there, along with other regions in Eastern Europe. I can really recall and imagine the sound of the kitchen in my babushkas apartment. The morning light shines through her tiny but cosy kitchen and she’s always up early, making something like this. She mixes this yoghurt pancake batter together in an old and chipped enamel bowl. I’m normally an early riser over there – just like my babushka and my mum. While the rest of the family sleeps in all the space that’s available throughout the different rooms – I am up and having my first cup of coffee, asking to help, or I just sit on an old stool next to the extendable wooden table, eating the first few yoghurt pancakes, dipping them into farm fresh smetana (sour cream) and a sweet but not overly sweet jam. She makes these pancakes perfectly (known as Oladi or Oladyi but there even other names for these that are used in the various languages from countries of Eastern Europe).
They are thick, they are fluffy, light but with grip, and don’t take many ingredients at all to create. Like most of the time, she along with my mum don’t use many ingredients at all..the produce speaks for itself, and here it’s just some good quality flour and yoghurt (plus a couple extra small ingredients!). She doesn’t actually normally add egg (neither does my mum) but today I found myself in the kitchen with so many of them, so thought why not use one. I will be including the eggless recipe in my book.
When we are in Belarus, we normally have these with fresh berries from the forest (which we pick up the day before or morning of from a roadside market) – we use berries like wild strawberries, or wild blueberries…otherwise a cold berry jam (literally just a bit of sugar and berries blended together) or a sour cherry or sweet cherry preserve…the other two favourites of mine are apricots and plums. The quality and vibrancy of the fruit is so good that nothing else is added to these jams and preserves. Lately I’ve been making a lot of plum jam. Their flavour and how they break down with heat and sugar is one of a kind. You can find my recipe for this simple 2 ingredient jam on my blog as well. We also normally have these with something light and creamy like sour cream or yoghurt. The combination of all 3 is amazing – but today I actually just had the jam! One of the things my mum also does every now and then is add raw apple wedges into the batter. That way they are apple yoghurt pancakes – also one to try for you guys if you love apples!
Today I used a variety of flours but really you can just use white flour if that’s what you have – just play around with the ratio of yoghurt to flour to get it right. Normally, the yoghurt + bicarb etc are added to a bowl and then the flour is added bit by bit and combined until the consistency is good…so however much flour it takes till a thickness that is right (this is what my mum, aunt and babushka all say). But below i’ve written out a guide for the amount of flour (specific to this sort of flour) I used for this mornings breakfast!
Oladi really are a good example of instinctual cooking..you might need to adjust the flour or yoghurt a little bit. There are several factors that play a role in creating the right batter..the type of flour you’re using – how refined it is, as well the kind of yoghurt you’re using..one that has naturally a bit more whey and liquid in it or one that is more creamy. So do adjust the quantities slightly if you find the batter is not quite thick enough – it needs to be really fluffy, super thick and hold itself.
Recipe for Oladi/Yoghurt Pancakes
1 1/2 cup yoghurt (plain, natural, no added flavours/sugars)
1 cup organic spelt flour
1/4 cup wholemeal flour or other unrefined flour that you might have (if you don’t have this then just replace it with more spelt flour)
1/3rd tsp of bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
a tiny pinch of salt
- In a small cup combine the bicarb soda and apple cider vinegar so that it fizzes. Transfer this into a medium sized mixing bowl along with the yoghurt, egg, flours and salt. Use a fork or sturdy whisk to combine the mixture together really well. Mix it through for a minute or two so thats super thick, well combined without any flour clumps and holds its shape. Adjust the amount of flour if you need to thicken it.
- Heat a pan with oil, butter or ghee so that it’s at a medium to high heat. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of the yoghurt pancake batter and place it on the hot pan. Cook it on both sides, adding more butter or oil when needed. Both surfaces should be golden and brown. Cook approximately 4-5 pancakes in each round. Repeat the process until you use up all the batter.
- Serve with your favourite toppings! i.e plum jam, strawberries, mixed berries and sour cream or any of the the other ones that you love.