Millet Pancakes with Grilled Pineapple and Date-Tamarind Sauce

Amaranth is a psuedocereal, which simply means that it is a seed which acts like a grain. It has been cultivated for about 8000 years.  It contains all nine essential amino acids and is a protein powerhouse. It contains lunasin, a peptide believed to have anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive diseases. It has a distinctive peppery taste with a pleasant aroma of grass. 

I combined amaranth flour with powdered oatmeal and coconut flour for these pancakes which are both vegan and gluten-free. It’s an ideal breakfast option and it’s quite filling as well. The grilled pineapple and the date-tamarind sauce paired beautifully with the pancakes. It was sweet, sour and salty, all at the same time! And very delicious.

This sauce is usually made in India to go with chaats, which are savoury snacks or hors d’oeuvre, available all across the country in roadside stalls, food carts, restaurants, etc. It’s a combination of several things blended with different chutneys and spices, sometimes with yogurt and topped with crisp vermicelli called sev and freshly chopped coriander leaves. It’s an amazing explosion of flavours in your mouth. 

You can mix the batter and let it sit overnight in the fridge to speed up the cooking process. Coconut oil exudes a wonderful aroma while cooking and it also complements the pancakes and pineapple. The spices are also quite subtle and you can taste them on your palate. A very simple and comforting dish.

PREP:  20 minutes  COOK TIME:  20 – 30 minutes  SERVES:  4

Ingredients

11/2 cup old fashioned oats, powdered

3/4 cup amaranth flour

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp flaxseed meal, mixed with 6 tbsp hot water

2 cups coconut milk/almond milk

Coconut oil

2 tbsp organic brown sugar (optional)

Salt to taste

For the pineapple

1 pineapple, cut into cubes

2-3 tbsp coconut oil

For the Date-Tamarind sauce

250 gms dates, seeded

75 gms tamarind

50 gms jaggery

1/4 tsp black pepper powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin powder

Instructions

Prepare the pancake batter by mixing the oatmeal, amaranth flour and coconut flour with all the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil and the flaxseed mixture and mix well. Add the coconut milk to the flour mixture, adding water if necessary to make a thick batter. Set aside.

Wash the tamarind well and combine it with the dates in a small pan. Add just enough water to cover them. Add all the other ingredients and cook over medium heat until the tamarind and dates are cooked thoroughly. Cool and blend into a paste. Strain and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the pineapple pieces. Toss them in the oil, turning them if necessary until they are a golden brown in colour. 

Heat a non-stick pan and add some coconut oil. Pour the batter and spread lightly to make a thick pancake. Cook until the edges start browning and flip them over and cook the other side. Make all the pancakes and serve hot with the grilled pineapple and the date-tamarind sauce.

Toasted Coconut Cake

This lovely cake made partially from coconut flour has an intense coconutty flavour and tastes rather like pound cake. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour.

I had some coconut flour sitting in my fridge and I was wondering what to do with it. When I saw this recipe featuring coconut flour and cake, I knew I had to try it.

I personally found the batter a little too thin. I recommend reducing the amount of milk to 1 cup instead. I also used coconut butter instead of the mascarpone cheese and the frosting was heavenly.

I make my own coconut flour by toasting grated coconut in my oven and grinding it in the blender. I also do not throw away the coconut after extracting the coconut milk from it. I use that also to make coconut flour. You’ll be surprised at how much coconut flavour is still left in it .

This delicious cake is a great dessert for any occasion. This recipe makes an 8-inch two layer cake.

PREP: 35 minutes COOK TIME: 45-55 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

170 gms unsalted butter

11/2 cups sugar

1 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp coconut flavour, optional

6 large eggs

1 cup milk

Frosting

2 cups heavy cream

½ cup coconut butter

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

¼ to ½ tsp coconut flavour, optional

3/4th cup toasted coconut

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease two 8-inch layer pans.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bow, beat the butter, sugar and coconut flour until well blended.

Add the vanilla and coconut flavour. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape the bowl and mix again, to fully combine.

Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake the cake until the edges are just beginning to pull away from the pan and the top is lightly golden. An inserted toothpick will come out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Turn them out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the heavy cream and coconut butter in a large bowl and beat at a low speed until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened. Add the confectioners’ sugar and slowly add to the whipped cream. Mix in the coconut flavour and beat at medium speed until medium peaks form.

To assemble, place one layer on a serving plate. Spread with ¼ of the whipped cream frosting and place the other layer on top. Spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle toasted coconut over the top and sides.

Fruited Chocolate Tarts

A chocolaty custard filling makes these tarts a lovely treat. I added coconut flour while making the shortcrust pastry and it gave off a nice aroma of coconut when they came out of the oven.

The base can be made in advance and frozen. The filling is also easy and can be made in advance. It’s perfect for the busy entertainer. This recipe makes 6 4-inch tarts.

This recipe is adapted from Famous Brands, Chocolate Classics.

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PREP: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the shortcrust

200 gms flour

50 gms coconut flour

125 gms butter, cubed

¼ tsp salt

Cold water

For the filling

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup cocoa

3 tbsp cornflour

¼ tsp salt

2 cups milk

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Assorted fresh or canned fruit

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Butter and flour 6 4-inch tart shells.

Place the flour, coconut flour and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Cut the butter into the flour and mix gently using cold water (a few tablespoons at a time), until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. When the mixture comes together, quickly form into a ball and cover with clingfilm. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by combining the sugar, cocoa, cornflour and salt in a small pan. Blend in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to boiling; boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat; blend in butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Roll the pastry out to a thickness of ¼ inch and cut into circles slightly larger than the tart shells. Place the pastry in the shells and flute the edges using your thumb and index fingers. Bake blind for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked. Remove from the oven and cool.

When the pastry cases are cool, spoon the filling into the tart shells. Press plastic wrap over the surface and chill. Garnish with fruit just before serving.