Monday 16 April 2012

Bali Banana Pancakes: A Bit of a Fail

Baby you hardly even notice 
When I try to show you, this 
Song is meant to keep you 
From doing what you're supposed to 
Waking up too early 
Maybe we can sleep in  
I'll make you banana pancakes 
Pretend like it's the weekend now 
~ Jack Johnson

Bali holds a special place in our hearts.

Bali was the very first place C and I travelled together way back in 2005.  Our first South East Asian adventure.  C's first taste of my travel organizing spreadsheets and the lists-monster that is Travelling Nessie.

It was a bit of a culture shock to start off with: getting grabbed at walking down the road by street hawkers yelling "plait your hair", getting ripped off at a dodgy currency exchange place down an alley, but once we adjusted we couldn't help but fall in love with the place and the incredible people.

Four weeks of surfing (C), sun bathing (me) and banana pancakes for breakfast overlooking the beach.  It's a hard life I tell ya.

So when I heard about the earthquake in Indonesia earlier last week, my heart went out to all those beautiful people in Bali and Indonesia who have gone through so much and also to our friends traveling over there at the mo.    Tetaplah Kuat, stay strong, we're thinking of you.

Remembering that amazing Bali trip got me craving Bali Banana Pancakes.  Anyone who's done any travelling in Indo knows that this ubiquitous breakfast meal deserves its place in the food hall of fame.

We had them everyday for brekkie.  Without fail.  And be you in the bustling back streets of Kuta, or a lazy warung on the cliffs overlooking Uluwatu, they were always amazing and somehow always exactly the same: sliced bananas embedded in a thick slightly-chewy pancake drizzled with a sweet maplesque syrup.

And when washed down with a steaming super-sweet mug of kopi while watching one perfect peeling wave after another, they are quite simply spectacular.

Breakfast of champions.

Inspired by memories of breakfasts past in tropical climes, I went about trying to recreate those famous banana pancakes.  How hard could it be right? Pancakes, sliced bananas, and Bob's your uncle.  And since I thought I was being all clever, I added some rice flour to try and recreate the lovely slight chewiness of the Bali pancakes.  Easy peasey.

Or so I thought.

Alas, it seems there is far more to these pancakes than first thought.

The first batch didn't go so well.  I cooked the sliced bananas in the pan first, poured batter over the bananas then masterfully flipped the pancake.  Ok, tried to flip the pancake.  Ok, ok, I completely munted the pancake.

It was a flipping nightmare.

{exhibit 1}
Take two: I tried pouring the batter in the pan first and put the bananas on top of the uncooked side.  The second batch was easier to flip but didn't look so flash either.

{casualty # 2}

So I gave up and just cooked the pancakes the normal way and stacked the darn things with bananas in between.

The banana-free pancakes sure looked pretty but unfortunately were less than tasty.  Instead of being an ingenious addition, the rice flour just made them tough.  Not chewy as in interestingly toothsome reminiscent of the proper banana pancakes kinda way but chewy in a pancake chewing gum kind of way.

Less than ideal.

Needless to say I'm still on the look out for a Bali Banana Pancakes recipe.

I'm a bit reluctant to even give this recipe out since these pancakes were really not that great.  But here it is just in case you can spot where I went wrong!

Bit of a Fail Not-so-Bali Banana Pancakes

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk
2 eggs
fresh bananas sliced
butter to fry

1. Mix flour, glutinous flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl and whisk to get rid of lumps.  In a separate bowl mix milk and egg to combine.

2. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the milky eggy mixture in gradually whisking constantly to incorporate.  Rest the mixture for at least 30 minutes.

3. Heat a heavy based frying pan with a little butter over medium-high heat.  Pour around 1/2 cup of the batter in to the pan and swirl to spread.  Immediately arranged the sliced banana over the uncooked side evenly.  When bubbles appear on the uncooked side, flip the pancake and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Or fry the pancakes on their own without the bananas and serve with sliced bananas between pancakes.  Serve hot with generous lashings of maple syrup to those with strong jaws.


  1. I never try banana pancake, but in Indonesia they might use different kind of banana. We have some banana to eat uncooked, and some banana have to be cooked first.

  2. I love Bali. These banana pancakes brought back such good memories.

  3. What a lovely blog you have - and I am so disappointed to see that you haven't had any luck in recreating these pancakes. I fell in love with something similar in Thailand years ago and have never been able to recreate it either (and it's not just the sensation of eating them by the beach). Thai banana pancakes are crisp and fluffy and slightly salty... let me know if you ever get it right!

  4. if i'm not wrong, the pancakes in Bali should be made almost completely with rice flour, and the bananas are those 'cookable' types - the large ones though I've no idea what bahasa name it is!

    nonetheless your banana pancakes still look awesome with the layers of pancake, syrup and banana :)

  5. nita: I was amazed to find that there were actually different types of banana when I went to Bali!! And they were so much sweeter and have so much more flavour too!

    Lora: I miss Bali too! Such happy memories. Can't really help but have a good time laxing on a beach, meeting lovely people and eating delicious food huh? :)

    The KitchenMaid: Ooooo I never tried the banana pancakes in Thailand! They sound delicious. The thai do salty sweet soooo well no? Thanks heaps for stopping by :)

    Janine: oh wow, maybe I didn't have enough rice flour! Will have to do more recipe sleuthing!

  6. Baha you crack me up. Flipping nightmare. These look beautiful even as plain pancakes with banana. I loved my stay in Bali too - it's such a NZ holiday location. Dreaming of that heat and relaxation from up here near the Arctic circle!



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