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Recipe of the month: Panket

My Magazine 2023/08
6 min
Panket or panketo is translated as a pancake. It is made of corn or millet flour, mixed with water and sugar, fried in vegetable oil and sold on the street. Pancake is commonly known as street food, but sometimes it is prepared in wedding ceremonies and naming ceremonies. Gambian pancakes are not the shape of the flat disk many are used to, but look like a small ball created by dropping dough mixture into the hot oil.

Many prepare pancakes differently and add different ingredients to suit their taste and that of their customers. However, the primary ingredients are flour, sugar, water, baking powder (optional) and oil for frying. There are two ways of preparing pancakes—sweet and salty pancakes, which go with spicy sauce.

To prepare the delicious spicy sauce that goes nicely with pancakes, you need smoked fish, onions, hot pepper, seasoning cube and oil. First, clean the smoked fish making sure to remove all bones. Cut onions and pound them together with hot pepper and seasoning cube. Add cleaned fish and pound it together again to make a smooth paste. Once you heat the oil, add the mixture and fry for about ten minutes.

Even though you might feel sweet and spicy don't go together well, the taste of the combination is delicious and worth trying.

White flour Pancake: Panketu Fanrin

The white flour is measured in a bowl according to how much the vendor wants to prepare. Water is added and mixed until it is smooth. Baking powder or bicarbonate soda is added to let the dough mixture rise and to allow the inside of the panket to be cooked thoroughly. Optionally, a little salt is added to the taste. It is covered and put aside for the mixture to rise. Some will dissolve sugar in the mix, while others add sugar by sprinkling it on top of the mixture just before forming balls and frying it. Pancakes are always deep-fried in a frying pan or cooking pot. Some vendors like to prepare it at home and then sell it on the street. Yet some will fry it while selling, so customers can buy hot, fresh pancakes and enjoy it even more.

Millet pancake or Panketu Dougub

The other type of pancake is made with millet flour, which can be bought at the market. But a lot of vendors decide to do it themselves. They would buy millet removed from the husk and cleaned from the market, and soak it in water for half an hour to moisten. After it dries up a bit, it is ready to be pounded in the machine and turned into powder. The procedure to make the mixture is the same as with Panketu Fanrin; just in this case, a small amount of salt is added instead of sugar. Millet pancakes are also fried and sold with or without sauce.

You can buy panket on the streets around Dippakunda, Serrekunda, Latrikunda German or Latrikunda Sabiji, Coastal Road, etc. It is very affordable, costing D5 or D10 each.

Want to taste it? Come with us on an exploration of Serekunda Market. Try out street food and get to know fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts and other interesting things sold in The Gambia.



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