Sri Owen's recipe for blinis uses rice flour for a versatile pancake-like base
Some years ago I was in Gaziantep, in southern Turkey, a famous centre for growing pistachio nuts, and it was there that I first met these delicious pancakes – all the more delicious, of course, because the pistachios were fresh from the tree.
I have since been hunting through Turkish cookbooks for the recipe, but in vain. So after a little experimenting, I devised my own, which I think are pretty close to the ones we had that day. The blinis are good for breakfast, with maple syrup if you like, but you can eat them at any time of day: for elevenses, or tea, or with coffee after a light supper, perhaps spread with jam. Stewed or fresh fruit and cream would go well, too. I like them just as they are, quite sweet already, without anything on them at all.
Makes 50-60 small blinis or 8-10 pancakes
- 115g rice flour
- 115g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- Large pinch of salt
- 5tbs icing sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 55g butter, melted
- 290ml-350ml milk
- 2tbs peanut oil
- 115g shelled pistachio nuts, boiled for 2 minutes, then skinned and chopped (or coarsely ground in a blender)
- Butter or oil, for frying
Sift the two kinds of flour, the baking powder and salt into a bowl, add the sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and melted butter and stir for a few minutes to make a smooth dough. Now add 290ml of the milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously until you have a smooth, thick, pourable batter. Add the oil and stir vigorously to mix it in well. Leave the batter to rest for 30-40 minutes.
If you don't have a cast-iron blini pan, you can make these as pancakes, in a shallow pan about 18cm in diameter. Just before you start cooking your blinis or pancakes, add the pistachios to the batter and give it a good stir – and, if you are making pancakes rather than blinis, add another 60ml of milk to make the batter a little thinner.
Butter or oil the pan and start ladling the batter into it, using just enough to cover the base of the pan. Cook over a low heat until set, with little bubbles starting to appear on top, then turn over and cook on the other side for just oneminute. Slide the blinis or pancake from the pan and repeat until all the batter is used up.
Serve hot or warm; you can reheat the blinis in a warm oven.
The Rice Book by Sri Owen (Bloomsbury Publishing, £30)