Another Pancake Swap: Serabi with Kinca Syrup

The more I try and find swaps for my beloved Sunday morning feast, the more I realize I should just stick with what works, my regular plain Jane pancakes.

Not that there was anything wrong with the Serabi that I made. It’s just that there wasn’t anything extraordinary about them, even with the Kinca sauce and coconut milk… and if I’m going to forgo something that I love for something new, that something new better be extraordinary.

Serabi are Indonesian pancakes that are generally served as snacks or with tea, with toppings that can range from fruit to meats.  Moral of the story is that Serabi aren’t eaten so much for breakfast. I don’t put much stock in society’s rules about when you should eat certain foods: I eat eggs for breakfast, ice cream for dinner and cereal for lunch, all on a semi-regular basis.  Therefore, in my house, Serabi was going to be a breakfast pancake.

Serabi differs from my traditional pancakes in a few respects. First, they are made with rice flour or tapioca rather than all-purpose. Second, they aren’t adorned with a syrup, but rather a coconut sauce called Kinca.  Third, they are only cooked on one side.

The recipe I found called for some pretty unique ingredients: pandan paste, palm sugar and pandan leaves**. Adventures in the Asian market yielded only the leaves, so the rest I settled for our more western substitutions. If you can find the original ingredients, go for it!  I wandered around the market for some time looking for the rest but ran into a wall when 1) the shop’s staff spoke little English and 2) I neither could speak or read packages in their language.  I don’t even think Tomato would have been able to walk me through it this time.

**Here’s an interesting read about Pandan leaves, what they’re used for and how they taste. They apparently have a tendency to turn things green, which explains why many of the Serabi recipes I found looked like they contained food coloring. Turns out they contained nature’s food coloring!**

pandan leavesThese are my Pandan leaves, found in the freezer section. I wonder what happens if I don’t cook them! Best not to test my theory…

Serves 2-4

Recipe adapted from JojoKaya


1 ½ cups rice flour

1 cup lite coconut milk

1 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp pandan paste (or vanilla extract)

For the sauce

1 cup lite coconut milk

½ cup palm sugar or brown sugar

½ tsp salt

3 Pandan leaves


1.   Combine the flour, salt and baking powder, Gradually add the coconut milk and stir to make a smooth batter.  Add the egg and vanilla. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, make the sauce:

            In a saucepan, bring the coconut milk, sugar, salt and leaves to a boil.  Stir continuously to prevent scorching. Reduce to desired thickness and then remove from heat.

3.  Make the pancakes:  Preheat a lightly oiled cast iron skillet over medium high heat, reducing it to lower heat when you’re ready to cool. Ladle about ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet.  Cook until the pancake is brown on the bottom and the top part is set. 


4.  Remove from heat and continue with reaming batter.


While the kinca syrup was tasty and different, I still found myself underwhelmed.  I guess you don’t know unless you try!

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