Rat’s favourite food was pancakes, hot off the griddle. He would stack several in a deep dish, cut them into four neat pieces, then pour a bottle of Coke over the top.
The first time I visited the Rat’s home, he had pulled a table out into the balmy May sunlight and was hard at work shovelling this concoction into his mouth.
“This meal’s outstanding feature,” he said, “is the perfect way it blends solid food and drink.”
It has been nearly three years since I last wrote in this blog. Much has changed. I now live in London, U.K. rather than Daegu, S.K. I’m a vegetarian contemplating (but alas only contemplating) veganism. I’m still reading Haruki, but now in French. At least the pretentiousness has stayed the same.
At the moment I’m reading Ecoute le Chant du Vent or Hear the Wind Sing. I like the reckless abandon of these earlier stories. It was a time when Murakami, as an inexperienced writer, really had nothing to lose. What freedom he must have enjoyed before mysterious cats, whiskey-loving jazz buffs and kinky quirky women became essential ingredients in his literary stew.
Anyway, I went for this recipe because it’s Pancake Tuesday and it’s vegetarian. Might be hard-pressed to find more veggie recipes in the Murakami oeuvre after this one. Unless I start doing veggie versions of existing dishes and write them up in English and French… I’m not sure if this blog needs much more help in being incredibly niche though.
Right, never mind the bollocks, here’s the pancakes. In a more French crêpe style for obvious reasons.
For a decent stack you will need:
100g of plain flour
300ml of milk (I went for semi-skimmed, whole would be fine too I’m sure but I’d be wary of the slimline stuff)
1 tbsp of sunflower/vegetable oil
pinch o’ salt
Lots of butter for frying
- Put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a hole in the middle. I believe this is called a well but I am not a baker so I’m afraid to use this fancy term.
- Crack the eggs into the hole, along with the oil and about 50ml of milk.
- Start whisking the centre, drawing the flour in slowly until you have a thick paste.
- I them just kept adding in the rest of the milk gradually, whisking all the while. By the end it’s much more liquidy than the original paste but that seems to be fine (the proof was in the pudding).
- Now, I let it stand for 20-30 mins but I’m not sure if that’s really necessary or more of an old wives’ tale. However, I still suffer from severe childhood emotional scarring when at a friend’s birthday the pancakes we were promised couldn’t be cooked because the batter didn’t “set” in time. We all had to go home pancakeless, but not hungry, let’s face it we were probably greedy little shites and had enough sweets as it was. But anyway, if you’re feeling superstitious you can leave it to set too.
- Cooking time! Heat up a knob of butter in a hot pan so that it’s fully melted and ladle in some batter. I guess the amount you ladle in is dependent on how thick you like your pancakes but I wanted them to be on the thin side.
- Let it the batter cook underneath for a minute or so, use your judgement. The pancake should shift around a bit rather than being completely plastered to the pan. When it seems ready, stick a flat spatula underneath and flip flip flipadelphia!
- Cook the other side. When it’s done, transfer to your deep dish. This depth is essential for the liquid part of element of the meal, so it is advised unless you want Coke splashing everywhere.
- Once you have a decent stack it’s time to quarter it up and submerge it or gently splash it with Coke, your call.
- Brace yourself for the half-liquid half-food wonder.
Well, it wasn’t quite for me. But my housemates genuinely liked it. They thought the Coke was like a maple liquid rather than syrup and wolfed it down between the two of them.
Feeling adventurous? Feel like sampling the favourite meal of a fictitious character from a 1970s Japanese novella? Let us know how you get on.
– Chapter 25, Hear the Wind Sing.