How to make Sri Lankan pancakes, with jaggery and coconut

How to make Sri Lankan pancakes, with jaggery and coconut

These Sri Lankan pancakes aren’t just for Pancake Day. Sri Lankan pancakes filled with a sweet, sticky jaggery and coconut filling. Once you taste this, you will eschew your usual pancakes topped with lemon and sugar, and maple syrup. All you will ever want is the Sri Lankan pancake, pani pol.

I gave these to my kids, they screamed these were the best pancakes they had ever tasted. Ever. I can, on good authority testify, that my children are the masters of all things sweet. Take their word for it, these pancakes will be the best you’ll have ever tasted!

Sri Lankan pancakes are perfect for a breakfast, a tea-time treat, or an after dinner sweet.

And the best thing, these pancakes easy to make.

What’s so special about Sri Lankan pancakes?

I make my pancakes with coconut milk. The batter is very similar to a French style crepe, but the resulting pancake is thicker and more spongier that a normal crepe. But, it’s thinner than your average buttermilk American pancake. It’s the best of both worlds.

Turmeric. Will give your pancakes a golden glow.

An essential ingredient, is turmeric. It isn’t so much about the flavour, what it does do is give your pancakes a beautiful golden hue. Some recipes advocate saffron, but a dash of turmeric is so much easier.

And now for the best bit, your sweet coconut filling

Here are the essential ingredients you’re going to need to make this filling. I’ll admit some of the ingredients might be hard to track down, but persevere, and your efforts will be rewarded.

  • Coconut. I’ve used desiccated coconut soaked in coconut milk. Some recipes call for freshly scraped coconut. Not easy to track down in London.
  • Jaggery. Raw palm sugar. I buy this from my Asian green grocer. This is a dark brown crystalline sugar, made from the sap of the kitul palm. It’s sold in hemispheres. If you can’t get this, then try dark muscavado sugar
  • Kitul treacle. This is the treacle made from kitul palm sap. Again you’ll need to head down to your Asian grocers and scour the shelves to find this. I’ve seen recipes using golden syrup (far too sweet) and molasses (worth a try). But if you can’t get to an Asian grocers then check out Hoppers Cash and Kari
  • Finally, spices. Whole spices. Cardamom, cloves, cinnamon.

You can see why you’ll be screaming for more. This filling is pure Sri Lankan-ess rolled into a pancake.

How to make Sri Lankan pancakes, with jaggery and coconut

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Sri Lankan pancakes

How to make Sri Lankan pancakes, with jaggery and coconut

  • Author: Tooting Mama
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pancakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Sri Lankan



For the coconut and jaggery filling

  1. 200mls coconut milk
  2. 120g desiccated coconut
  3. 200g of jaggery (use a triangular grater to shave of pieces of jaggery)
  4. 70mls of kitul treacle
  5. 2 cardamom pods, a snap of a cinnamon quill, 2 cloves
  6. 23 tbs of water

For the pancakes

  • 125g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 0.25 tsp turmeric
  • 250 mls coconut milk (make sure you shake the can well)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Nuggets of coconut oil for frying your pancakes



Make the pancake filling

  • Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan, and gently warm up. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat down and then add the desiccated coconut. Stir and let the coconut milk absorb into the coconut. Take off the heat, and set aside.
  • In second saucepan add the shaved jaggery, the treacle, the spices and the water. Heat gently and allow to the mixture to warm through. You want the jaggery to dissolve to become a dark, thickened syrup. Then scoop out the spices.
  • Tip in the coconut that has been sitting aside patiently. Stir into the syrup and let it warm through. Take off the heat. The sugar will soak into the coconut. Have a taste, and try not to eat it all at once, however tempting.

To make the pancakes

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl
  2. Add the salt, sugar and turmeric, then make a well, break in the eggs followed by the vanilla essence. Whisk to a smooth batter, making sure you break up any lumps. You want your batter to coat the back of a spoon. Too thick add a more coconut milk, too thin, add a little more flour.
  3. Heat a small blob of coconut oil in a pancake pan or large solid based frying pan.
  4. Take a small spoonful of batter to test the heat, it should cook easily to a golden hued pancake. 
  5. Take a large serving spoon and drop the batter into the pan. Let it cook for two to three minutes, using a pallet knife flip on to the other side and cook. 
  6. Once cooked, pop your pancakes on to a plate, and when they are all done, you’ll be ready to add the filling.

Assembling the pancakes

  1. Take a pancake and place a generous tablespoon of filling along the length of the pancake. Pull up the sides of the pancakes to obediently wrap around the filling.
  2. Three pancakes is ample per person.
  3. Feel free to anoint with more kitul treacle.



  • If you’re going to make and eat on the same day, then I’d make the filling first and set aside before making and assembling the pancakes.
  • Otherwise you can make the filling before hand and keep, then make the pancakes (same as above).
  • Or just make pancakes and drown them in kitul treacle.
  • I found a serving spoon rather than a ladle full of the batter to be sufficient. The latter made a lovely large pancake but it only tore. 
  • Your pancake will be a little larger than an American pancake and smaller than a crepe. 

Keywords: Sri Lankan pancakes

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Sri Lankan pancakes

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