A Morning Miracle // Loaded Quinoa Pancakes

I woke up this morning and as per usual, stretched out my hand to reach for my [new Samsung Galaxy 4] phone. “7 new messages,” my phone notified me. I pressed the email icon without much interest, expecting most of the mail to be spam. But one mail immediately caused my groggy, half-opened eyes to pop wide open:

Nomination Annie Tan

Whoa! A nomination for the Annie Tan Medal and Prize academic award, with top prize being S$3000 cash and second prize S$2000. Of course, the appeal of the award goes beyond monetary benefits. Just being shortlisted for this prize left me pleasantly shocked, dumbstruck, baffled and open-mouthed in awe. Out of thousands of students from the Science faculty, it’s truly unbelievable to be picked. Thrills of excitement and nervousness ran down my spine as I read and re-read the mail, slowly absorbing the details and the implications. Gotta. Prepare. for. Interview. Of course, everything now hinges on how well I promote myself through the application form, interview and my final grades (out on 4 June). The eligibility entails having First Class Honours (yikes!).

Coincidentally, I had planned a pretty special recipe for breakfast. The proud stack of Loaded Quinoa Pancakes was a befitting celebration of the good news.

Quinoa pancake stack

Normal pancakes made using flour only don’t cut it anymore. While I love cutting into a stack of puffy pancakes, they don’t have much sustenance power and two hours later I’d be trawling the kitchen again. I thought, how about incorporating some whole grains, such as quinoa, into the pancakes. And so, a recipe was devised.

Loaded Quinoa Pancakes [chocolate, strawberries, cherries, coconut, durian, nuts]
Serves one.


  • 2 tbsp (17 g) dry [red] quinoa
  • 1/4 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp (17 g) 10-grain pancake mix [Bob’s Red Mill]
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 1/4 cup soy milk [Pacific, unsweetened]
  • Few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 large strawberry, chopped
  • 2 red cherries, chopped
  • Flesh of one durian seed
  • 3/4 tbsp raw cacao powder, for dusting
  • Macadamia nut butter
  • Vanilla almond coconut macaroon [Laughing Giraffe], crumbled
  • Cashew nuts, crushed
  • Dried cranberries


  1. Cooked qunioa and chia seeds in boiling water for about 15 min.
  2. Meanwhile, measure out pancake mix, prepare the dry ingredients (flour and cinnamon), wet ingredients (egg, soy, vanilla) and chopped fruits.
  3. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix gently, then add in cooked quinoa and mix a few more times.
  4. Oil a non-stick skillet. Over medium-low heat, pour 3-4 tbsp (slightly less than 1/4 cup) batter. Immediately after pouring, add a desired amount of chopped fruits (strawberries and/or cherries) into the batter. Cook for about 2 min per side.
  5. Repeat until all batter is used up. (The above recipe yielded three pancakes)

Most of the joy of pancakes lie in the infinite permutations of toppings. Being the fickle and greedy me, I love a little bit of everything. So here was how I layered mine today:
Pancake 1 – dustings of raw cacao – Pancake 2 – 1/2 macadamia nut butter, 1/2 crumbled macaroon – Pancake 3 – heaps of durian (mao shan wang)!

This was pure bliss in every bite, in both taste and texture. Although there’s quinoa in the batter, the pancake texture does not suffer, as I had worried. It was still packed with airy pockets, but in addition boasted a chewy solid bite thanks to the quinoa. Then, the combination of all the various fruits culminated in a very happening party, accentuated by bitter notes of raw cacao. As is my habit, I saved the best for the last, which is none other than the creamy bittersweet durian pulp!

A whole boxful of mao shan wang (cat mountain king) durians from Geylang (Lorong 17) bought last night. On hindsight, I think I might have been swindled. At $18 per kg, the 2.4 kg durian cost $43. Although this durian had quality, overall it isn’t particularly value for money. But why dwell on things that have past? Focus and celebrate the good food, and in particular, with the good news of today!

mao shan wang lor 17 geylang

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Sabrina is passionate about all things health, wellness, conscious living and good vibes.

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