Maize and Molasses Pancake

N: I am not sure what is the difference between maize and corn but the maize meal that I bought on an impulsive spree is very white while the corn meal I use regularly for corn meal bread and polenta is distinctively yellow.

A: From my childhood in Eastern India, I do remember maize as a delicacy during the autumn harvest season. It is definitely drier and harder than the corn we buy now. Even if it is from the same plant, maize must be the mature crop which has lost most of the moisture and hence is not as sweet as the corn. Some websites tell me that maize is the Spanish name for the English word corn, implying they are probably the same crop.

N: Anxious to try it out I soaked 1/2 cup of maize meal with 1/2 cup of whole meal and 1 tbsp of semolina in 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of water.

Leaving the mixture to soak in the fridge overnight, the following morning the batter looked very white. I needed to liven it up a bit. So I added 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses.

Molasses, also called jaggery in India, for me is full of hesternal memories. On many a warm evening after a day of dancing in the sun I would be too tired to wait for dinner, which traditionally in Indian houses is served rather late. I would go off to sleep with a stomach full of warm chappati eaten with a big dollop of molasses. Blackstrap molasses, which has very little sugar but plenty of minerals, has the same sweet distinctive smell of jaggery.

I added 1 egg to the mixture and then had to spend a few good minutes ensuring the blackstrap was well dispersed in the batter. The blackstrap was pretty adamant and refused to mingle but when it did the result was spectacular.


I started making the pancakes in regular style and the house filled up with the sweet smell of molasses.

Whenever my mom-in-law tried to explain to my father-in-law what a pancake was she used the word “gola roti” which when translated to English means liquid dough chappati – a traditional delicacy. I can well imagine the traditional recipe bearing striking resemblance to this very simple but gorgeous recipe.