First posted: Sep 20, 2010

Camping-Proof Banana Pancakes in the Masai Mara


Allow me to set the scene. Again. If you haven’t already picked up from last week that I was rather taken with our recent trip to the Masai Mara. Which, as a matter of fact, is also where we got engaged 4 years ago. Thanks to a stroke of genius on Rob’s part he got me up there under the premise of a work trip and had me completely fooled for two days worth of traipsing around the bush until I turned around one evening and he was on one knee.¬† And I’d have been a fool to say no, so of course I didn’t.
And I digress from said setting the scene… The endless herds of the great migration gathered against the backdrop of the sun-drenched plains of the Mara, savannah grasslands shining like liquid gold. Merry campfire crackling away – ready to turn our humble camping fare into a veritable bush cuisine extravaganza.

Like I said last week, we were visiting Kenya and the Mara for work and exploring the opportunity of building a tented safari camp in a conservancy bordering the Reserve. Accompanied by my Dad and Rob, and led by two of the most intrepid travellers you could hope to meet РSean and Tesni are friends of ours that we are lucky enough to work with and who live just outside Nairobi in the lush Limuru area best known for its tea plantations. Their little daughter Talia is 7 months old and stole our hearts with her pluckiness Рshe remained unfazed by endless game drive hours in her car chair, camping, lions roaring, bumpy roads, poised and powerful  Masai peddling their wares at the car window now and then. You name it.

And after a glorious early morning game drive, at the end of the long and bumpy road, lies brunch.

Now this is what I call cooking with gas… (Rob thinks so too).

Totally camping proof – when Sean mixed this all together he didn’t actually measure anything. He just went with his gut.
Rob’s Rating: 7/10 (He would like to add that this is on the Bush Rating scale, different to the Fine Dining scale of course).
All credit to Sean and Tesni for this recipe, who in turn credit their Aussie-Kenyan mates Ryan (aka our valiant pilot for the purpose of flying over the Mara) and Anna.




Cooks in:        Serves:4

  • 225g plain flour (roughly 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 30g butter, melted and cooled
  • 300ml milk (roughly 1 cup)
  • Butter for frying
  • 1 Kenyan-sized banana, or 2 regular pleb bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Syrup (maple is best but in the bush anything will do)
  • Optional: 250g packet bacon

What to do

1. Mix dry ingredients together, preferably in a jug for easy pouring into the pan

2. Add eggs, butter and milk in stages, mixing well each time

3. Add the banana and mix in gently

4. Heat a large frying pan on the fire/gas burner, adding about 1tsp butter

5. Pour enough batter in to cover the base of the pan - I cooked extra large ones and then cut them up afterwards to save us agonising over cooking lots of mini ones given that we were famished

6. You'll know it's ready to flip when you see gentle bubbles on the surface of the pancake, then turn and give it about 1 minute on the other side. (Now as you can see from the pictures, ours were by no means perfect, the wind wasn't helping and they are verging on the charred end of 'golden' but I can gladly guarantee that they tasted unbelievable.)

7. In a separate pan fry the bacon and then serve while hot with syrup.

8. Enjoy the view!

* You can get really bush-wise and pre-mix the dry ingredients before leaving home so that you then just need to add the eggs, melted butter and milk before cooking.

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