Believe it or not these lovely pancakes are originally from Iran, Gilān.
Gilān is in up north, close to the caspian sea, a very humid and green place, with lots of friendly people and a great food culture. A place close to Iranian turkish regions and Azerbaijan. Sea culture, farms, fishing shores and rice fields are part of this beautiful land.
I remember as a child when we used to often travel to Rasht, Chalous, or Masuleh for vacation. The first thing that I couldn't wait to see was the change of weather and nature. From Tehran which was dry with those dried out mountains we used to drive 5 hours to north, cross the alborz mountain and in the last hours we used to pass from a long tunnel, after that, there were only green mountains everywhere. Beautiful trees, the sound of waterfalls, rocks, sound of birds, the breeze, cold, humidity. It was like heaven. Very different from where I grew up in central Iran.
It's been always a happier place in North - all about the sea, vacation, beautiful places to visit, happy people, family and friends gathering and lots of food. There also used to be lots of good wine. Not that we don't have it now (the illegal one) but during those years as my dad told me his own stories, it was the golden times of Iran and also of Gilan. There were bars, clubs, there were concerts, festivals, cities are used to taking care of and tourists from all over the world were visiting north of Iran for vacation, there was another vibe going on back then. It was like going to Bari or Positano in Italy during summer.
Nowadays, northern Iranian people still are the same - very friendly, very fun and happy people - there is no festival or concerts but there are beautiful colorful markets full of veggies, smoked rices, fishes from the caspian sea - tea houses were people met - and many private gathering still going on. Even if cities are a bit destroyed and you will see things that you don't like to see but Iranian tourists from other regions still visiting Rasht and other cities in the north, and hopefully someday soon you will visit this lovely place too.
The good thing was that my parents one from Kerman and one from Tehran, both were also in love with "Shomāli" Cuisine (northern cuisine). Luckily my mom used to cook many different dishes from Gilan, at least 3 time a week! And that was how I learnt and fall in love with Shomali cuisine.
But strangely I never heard about Kooie Kaka!
It was last year when I was talking with my best friend Sara about food and recipes . Her family is from Rasht and she told me about this amazing breakfast her mom used to make for her with Pumpkin - She told me about this fried pan cakes with milk and pumpkin, and that she loved them so much. I was amazed, I never knew in Iran we have something which are actually "Pancakes"!! Well of course we could have, everything comes from Persia, right? hehe..just kidding.
Anyway I couldn't wait to post this recipe in the season (heaven) of Pumpkins. Nasrin, Sara's mom, sent me a voice message about her own recipe and how they call it in Rasht. Then I searched here and there, I made the pancakes several times and at the end came out with my own recipe which I really love.
I used rice flour instead of white flour and I used rice milk instead of cow milk ( of course you can still use it). In Iran sometimes for specific recipes we use a mix of Cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and rose water all together. We don't really care how strong they are, we love them. But you can use any of those spices you prefer. I always prefer to not go crazy with mixing, try to balance few of them. I used only freshly crushed cardamom and little bit of rose water.
They are fluffy and moist, I served them hot with some honey, crushed walnuts and a little bit of powdered sugar to make it fancier. You can also add some of the cooked pumpkins on top. I also tried it with pomegranates that are in season. Loved it, it was a sour sweet combination. beautiful! also Pomegranate + yogurt + honey = heaven. :)
In Gilaki language (from Gilan) "Kooie" means Pumpkin and "Kaka" means Pancake. Such a cute and original name and I hope you enjoy the recipe.
For 15-20 small size pancakes
- 100 g brown sugar
- 100 g rice milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoon of rosewater
- 150 g rice flour ( I use this and this - but I prefer the first one )
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon or less freshly crushed cardamom
- a pinch of salt
- 200 g cooked pumpkin (cut, pre-cooked in oven at 180°C/350°F/gas 4, with the skin until soft)
- a bunch of crushed walnuts
- walnuts - honey (maple syrup) - powdered sugar - cooked pumpkin
- walnuts - honey (maple syrup) - pomegranate seeds - yogurt
- In a bowl mix the sugar with milk, when the sugar solved (not important if it's not completely solved), add the rose water and the eggs and beat until it's uniform.
- In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients; add the rice, baking powder, cardamom & salt. Use a whisk to mix them well.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until unifrom - then add the cooked pumpkins and crushed walnuts. Stir and let the batter rest for about 20-30 minutes.
- In a frying pan, add a little bit of olive oil, when it's hot, take a (1/4 cup scoop) of the batter and place it in the pan, let it cook completely on one side then flip it over on the other side. It can be a little soft, and you should be careful but as soon as you flip it in the other side, everything will come together - Perfect pancakes!
- For a better result, after you flip the pancakes you can lower the heat, that helps them to cook through.
- Serve them hot with some honey, crushes walnuts and a little bit of powdered sugar to make it fancier. You can also add some of the cooked pumpkins on top. I also tried it with pomegranates that are in season. Loved it, it was a sour sweet combination. beautiful! also Pomegranate + yogurt + honey = heaven. :)