Pancakes are omnipresent in this big world and they have been enjoyed by people since ever. From West to East, there are all kinds of different pancakes and different cultures add their own twist to their favorite sweet flat flour dish. Some would rather leave them plain, some prefer a rolled up filled Pancake. Some are smaller some are larger and of course we can detect a difference of thickness between each “National” pancake. So it isn’t very surprising that even the small tropical Indian state Goa owns a special pancake with a unique pretty name widely known as Alebele ( Ale Belle).
The specialty of the filled pancake is the smooth elastic and soft texture, but also the filling matters a lot here. Only freshly scraped coconut can and should be used! Oh, and let’s not forget the locally made sweet Organic Jaggery. We at home mostly use the lighter shaded, yellow Sugarcane Jaggery but of course there are folks who prefer the more intense flavored, brown and darker Coconut Jaggery. Everybody to their own…
-> Get the free Masala Herb Newsletter
Freshly used ingredients make this dessert a special food memory. I remember how lucky I felt to have discovered this pancake treat. As a tourist in Goa you might not come across this dish, since it isn’t sold commercially in the shaks and coastline restaurants. Also my food apathetic husband is a huge fan of the Goan Coconut filled pancake and he will easily devour 3-4 of those in one time. So, again it proofs the quality of those pancakes!
While making Alebele, you can color some of the pastry or even all of it. We usually decide on coloring them red and green but we have even seen yellow variations and mine today turned somehow pink. India is a vibrant country and pancakes are often not the only dishes that get a color wash. By the way, today’s #sundaysupper is in Easter and Passover mood and further the colorful Hindu festival Holi is coming up, so I have a good timing today with the different shaded filled Pancakes. =P
Originally, as you can see in the step by step instructions underneath, a half cut onion with a poked in meat fork is used to grease the hot pan and the pancake pastry is only fried on one side. Alebele should be fried with a cover only for a short time, so that the elastic texture remains when filling the pancake. The pancakes are smooth and the thinner you fry them the better! It requires a bit of practice but all in all this filled pancakes are very easy to recreate at home, so that you can just make them quickly in less then 40 minutes.
I want to thank my mother in law, the all famous Ale Belle expert in the house and in general best Goan food chef alive, who was so kind to help me out in the making and who was ready to share her family recipe with the internet world. Some of you might know that Goans don’t like to share their prestigious family recipes! Here you can find more original and traditional Goan family recipes (there are all typical roman catholic recipes, the Hindu recipes are always a bit different).
- 130 grams Flour or 4.5oz
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- pinch Salt
- 1 Egg
- 2 Tablespoon melted Butter
- 200 milliliter Coconut milk or 6.8oz
- few drops Vanilla Essence
- 2 food coloring colors (We used green and red/pink) [optional]
- Oil for frying
- ½ freshly scraped Coconut
- 100 grams scraped Sugarcane Jaggery or 3.5oz
- Add the dry ingredients (Flour, Baking Powder and Salt) into a mixing bowl and combine quickly, then make a well into the center and add in the Egg, melted Butter, Coconut milk and Vanilla Essence. Mix the whole content to a smooth liquid pastry.
- At his point you can make 3 equal batches of the 1 base and leave one plain and color the 2 others with some green food coloring and red/pink.
- Cut up an onion into half, poke a meat fork into one half and keep it in a bowl with oil as shown. This is the traditional way to grease the pan and its less about the onion flavor but more of a help in greasing the pan equally (you don't have to do this but I would suggest to)
- Mix and crumble the jaggery into the fresh scraped coconut.
- Heat up a pan, wait until it is hot and spread the oil as shown with the onion fork knife. Add about one ladl of pastry. The pancakes should be very thin so try to spread the pastry as good as possible by turning the pan before it starts to harden. Cover the pan and allow it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Take it off the heat (only cook on one side!) and repeat the process with the rest of the non colored and colored pastry.
- Place the pancake on a surface, cooked surface down and uncooked up. Add about 1 Tablespoon of filling onto it. Now fold in a bit of the sides and slowly start to roll it up as shown. Repeat the process with the rest of the cooked pancakes and the remaining filling.
- Serve as soon as possible before the kids come and finish them off. =P