Sunday, April 14, 2013

Vibibi vya tui (Kenyan mini rice & coconut pancakes with coconut syrup. Gluten-free optional)


For those of you out there who are on a gluten-free diet, I would like you to know that THERE IS HOPE! You do not have to sit out in envy anymore and watch others devour stacks of pancakes. I could only imagine how mad that would make me! This recipe is gluten-free optional (you can substitute the flour that is called for in the recipe with cornstarch and still get fantastic results). Vibibis are a staple breakfast and snack item amongst the Swahili of the Kenyan coast. These are mini pancakes made out of rice and coconut milk. Add cardamom to the mix and you have a flavor party- to which you are all invited :). Kibibi is the single pancake, vibibi is when there's more than one. Kibibi in English, translates to "Young lady". In which case, here's how to make this bevy of young ladies. 

SERVING SIZE: Feeds 4-6 people.

-Small frying pan with lid.
-Large mixing bowl with lid.
-Medium pan with lid.
-Wide turner.
-Large serving platter.
-Deep plate.

-2 cups of basmati rice, washed, soaked overnight and drained (alternatively, you can substitute the rice with rice flour. if you use the rice flour, just blend it with the other ingredients in the blender).
-2 cups of heavy coconut milk.
-1 tablespoon of sugar.
-1 heaped teaspoon of rapid rise yeast (as seen in the video). If you decide to use active dry yeast, PLEASE make sure to activate your yeast before adding it to the rice, coconut milk and sugar, or your batter will not rise like its supposed to!!
-2 tablespoons of all purpose flour OR 2 tablespoons of cornstarch if you want a gluten-free version of these pancakes.
-1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom.
-3/4 cup granulated sugar.
-1 whole egg, slightly beaten.
-Ghee (clarified butter) or pure coconut oil or vegetable oil to cook.

-1 can heavy coconut milk (about 2 cups).
-1 tablespoons all-purpose flour OR 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (if you're making the gluten-free version of these pancakes).
-1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder.
-1/4 cup granulated sugar.

-Put the drained rice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast and the 2 cups of coconut milk in the blender and puree until smooth and there are no bits of rice in the batter.
-Let it sit covered in a warm place for about 1 hour.
-After 1 hour, add the 3/4 cup sugar and egg. Whisk. Let it sit for 20-30mins until batter is thick.                                              

-In the medium pan, on medium heat, combine the ingredients for the syrup and let it come to a boil. The syrup should be thick. Turn off the heat once the syrup reduces (thickens).                                                   

-In the deep plate, ladle some of the warm coconut syrup (this will be used to coat the vibibis as you cook them. Add more syrup as needed).                                                      

-In the small frying pan, add 1/4 teaspoon of ghee or cooking oil. A healthier alternative that would enhance the flavor for the vibibis would be pure coconut cooking oil (see picture in ingredient list).                                                       

-Pour about 1 cup of the batter into the heated frying pan. Traditionally, vibibis are as thick as buttermilk pancakes. However, if you'd like a thinner pancake, pour less batter into the pan.                                                        

-Once you see holes forming on the surface of the kibibi and there is no more wet batter on the surface, apply 1/4 teaspoon of ghee, coconut oil or vegetable oil on the surface of the kibibi (if your kibibi is still as wet as the one shown in the picture below, it is not ready for the next step. let is dry out a little more).                                                       

-Gently flip the pancake over with your turner and cover the pan. Let the kibibi cook for about 3 minutes. the kibibi should be the color shown in the picture (darker than a regular pancake).                                                      

-Once each kibibi is cooked on both sides, place them in the deep plate that has syrup in it, making sure to coat both sides of the kibibi with the syrup.                                                     

-Transfer the coated kibibi on to the waiting serving platter. Stagger them as shown in the picture (kind of lay them on top of each other).                                                     


-Repeat these steps until all the batter is used up. To keep your vibibis warm as you continue making the batch, you can place the serving platter in a warm oven until you are done (make sure your serving platter is oven-safe first).
-When ready to serve, drizzle the remaining coconut syrup over an individual's serving of the vibibis and enjoy.                                                   

These are best served warm. I served mine up as part of brunch this morning. These also go well with tea or coffee. Enjoy!!