The week of Hola Mahalla, I was tempted to try one of the Indian inspired flavors on our list. And given how cold Illinois is, a hot cup of chai had become part of our daily routine. Even in March, when Spring should be starting to, you know, spring!
Hola Mahalla is celebrated on the first of the lunar month of Chet, which usually falls in March, and is around the same time as what Hindus celebrate as Holi. Hola Mahalla though, is a festival where Sikhs can demonstrate their martial skills through mock fights.
So between Hola Mahalla and the awful Illinois cold, I thought it was a good time to try Chai Pancakes!
These were the first pancakes this year where we weren't happy with the results. We actually had to try these a second time. The first time, I over complicated the whole process. I don't know why, but I thought I could make sort of a chai concentrate to add to the batter. I thought I would just make a really strong cup, the way you would make a stronger cup of tea for iced tea.
You might be surprised to hear that I did not manage to invent chai extract. In fact, despite my best efforts, there was barely any chai flavor in the pancakes. Although they were definitely warm, and soft, and spiced from the cinnamon I added. But just not chai flavored.
I don't know why I didn't think of this at first, but I should have just used a chai spice blend!
So take two! Using chai spice in the pancake mix, made the pancakes taste a lot more like chai, and was actually much easier to do then trying to make a super strong cup of chai, and waiting for it to cool, and hoping it's strong enough to flavor the pancakes.
I will add, that adding a few tablespoons of brewed chai to the heavy cream for a flavored whipped cream was really nice!
Chai spice is pretty easy to make and there are tons of recipe's online. I used these as a base and made some adjustments. First, I didn't think I would like black pepper in my chai spice so I avoided those recipes. And second, I doubled the amount of ground cardamom because I just love it.
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 Tbsp ground allspice
1/2 Tbsp ground cloves
1/2 Tbsp ground nutmeg
I mixed this up and used about 3 Tbsp for the pancake recipe.
The remainder of the chai spice blend I put in a spice container I had emptied and washed to re-use, for future chai flavored adventures!
Even though it was disappointing that we didn't get this right on the first shot, I was all smiles when Greg offered to help me get nice pictures for Instagram and for the blog post. When we had started I hadn't planned on blogging these recipes, so I'm a little embarrassed by how bad the pictures are in the first few recipes. But knowing he supports my projects, and knowing that we can have fun together making these makes me smile from ear to ear. The whole point of the Year of the Pancake was to spend time and create things together, and enjoy one of our favorite meals with each other. And we're doing that, failed recipes and all.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp chai spice mix
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 Tbsp low fat butter
2 eggs, separated
Combine all dry ingredients.
Add milk, butter, and egg yolks until combined.
Add egg whites, folding into batter until just mixed.
In non stick skillet, add about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until small bubbles form, and flip, cooking on other side for about another minute.
Top with syrup or whipped cream as desired.
We topped ours with the homemade gurh syrup I made previously for the moongfali pancakes, as well as whipped cream, which was heavy cream, some sweetener to taste (I actually preferred that it wasn't too sweet to go with this pancake), and a little bit of brewed chai.
I also sprinkled the pancakes with some nutmeg for pictures, but again, optional. I'm really getting into blogging these pancake adventures.