Hoppers (Sourdough coconut crepes)

fermented rice flour and coconut milk pancakes/crepes


If you have been to south east Asia, specifically Sri Lanka or southern India, chances are that you’ve already eaten these. If not, these should be on the top of your “must have food” list, when/if you go there.

These are a very popular staple in Sri Lanka, where I was born and a family favorite in almost every household. There are different recipes and a few variations to this versatile oriental pancake.


The crispy, melt-in-your-mouth, tuile like edges are addicting! The center is soft and naturally mildly sweetened by the thick coconut milk. They have to be eaten as soon as they are made which makes the experience even more exiting. Due to this reason, you’ll always find a “hopper station” in buffets and restaurants, where hoppers are made to order.

tuile like edges

The recipe is so simple, it only has five ingredients including the salt. This is a mixture of rice flour, coconut milk, water, salt that is fermented using either commercial yeast or a sourdough starter. The instant version, use baking soda(sodium bicarbonate) to get the bubbly effect and so you can skip the long fermentation. But you’ll get an after taste, which I personally don’t like.

stacks of crepes

In lot of house holds, they use a piece of bread instead of the yeast. This is a cleaver way of using the leftover yeast in the bread. Yes! apparently, some yeast survive the heat of the oven. All you have to do is mash up a piece of bread in a little water and add it to the rice flour mix and let it ferment!

If you want them to be completely gluten free, feel free to use commercial yeast or use a gluten free starter. Remember commercial yeast is fast acting so your batter will be ready in 2-3 hours. Use 1 tsp of instant dry yeast to ferment, roughly about two cups of flour. Activate the yeast first! Stir the yeast in a little water and a pinch of sugar and let sit for 10 minutes. Then mix that with water and rice flour to form a thick batter. This should now be left in a warm place until doubled in volume. After which you can incorporate coconut milk and salt. There you have it! GF version done!

rice flour
white rice flour

In my case I’m using my trusty sourdough starter! So my hoppers aren’t gluten free. If you have a gluten-free starter, then of course you can follow these same steps and make sourdough hoppers that are gluten free!

The only difference when you are using a sourdough starter to ferment something, is that it takes a longer time. So if you use 1:1 ratio of rice flour and starter, it takes about 4-5 hours to ferment. You can double that time if you use 1:2 ratio. So one part starter to two parts rice flour. This is my preferred method as it allows me to mix these the night before, so I can make hoppers in the morning. Or you can mix in the morning and make your hoppers in the evening for supper. This works perfectly with my schedule, that I can actually make them on a weekday!

Ideally, for this, you need ripe starter. So feed your starter and let it get activated. If you are using leftover starter, then it might take considerably longer to ferment so keep an eye on your batter.

To make the batter, all you have to do is mix rice flour, starter and water in a big plastic bowl. Do not add all the water in. Add half of the water in the recipe and mix well. Then keep adding more water until the batter is thick but not firm. It shouldn’t stick to your hand but look like a past than batter.

paste like batter

Now all you have to do is let it sit in a warm place covered. You will see some activity in about 4-5 hours. There won’t be bubbles or visible action but you will see the batter rising upwards slowly. At the end of the fermentation, there will be a considerable increase in volume. But more than that, when you touch the batter, you will feel it has lightened up and aerated. This will look like, cottage cheese and you will see bubbles underneath the dough. Also it will smell acidic or yogurt like!

overnight fermented batter
It will look like cottage cheese

All you have to do now is add thick coconut milk and salt. Again go slowly when adding coconut milk. We need a runny batter but not watery. It is runnier than a normal pancake batter.

add coconut milk
This is how thin it should be

To make the hoppers, ideally you need a hopper pan and the lid and an open flames that heats the sides of the pan.

hopper pan
traditional hopper pan

Spray the pan with cooking oil and remove excess using a paper towel or piece of cloth. Too much oil will prevent batter sticking to the sides. Heat the pan to medium hot, (shouldn’t be smoking) and ladle about a 1/4 cups of batter and swirl the pan to let the batter flow around to cover the entire area. Place on medium heat, cover with lid for 30 seconds. Then remove the lid and let the sides go golden brown and crispy. Once done, use an offset spatula or a knife to carefully release the crepe from the sides. Slide the knife all around until it is completely released and toss on to a plate.

If you don’t have a hopper pan, worry not. You can use a non stick pan to make these. They will be of a different shape, but will taste the same.

use a frying pan

Or if you have a cast iron skillet, that’ll work too. Make sure to spray and wipe excess oil off. Heat the skillet and drop about 1/3 of a cup batter and spread the batter quickly to form a thin crepe. If you have a crepe tool, use that or use the back of a ladle. Or if you can, swirl the skillet so the batter will spread evenly. These will be flat, thin and crispy.

or use a cast iron skillet

Egg hoppers is another variation, where you break an egg to the center and it will cook the same time as the hopper.

egg hoppers
an egg hopper

Hoppers are really neutral, so you can serve them with anything. We love it plain, with butter ,with a curry, coconut chutney, salsa, honey, maple syrup you name it!. This can be served as a dessert too, if you pair with cream and strawberries. You can also add brown sugar to the batter and make these extra sweet! Really the possibilities are endless.

crispy edges

They will lose their crispness over time, so eat them as soon as they are made. You can refrigerate the batter though, for up to a day. Any longer and it will be turn sour.

So give these a go. It is worth it! I’d love to here or see if you try it so please either leave a comment or tag me on Instagram.

Hoppers (Sourdough coconut crepes)

pancakes, snacks

Servings: 15 – 20 crepes



  • 2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup starter
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 can of thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)


  1. Mix starter, flour, and 1 cup of water in a plastic bowl. Mix well.
  2. Keep adding water a little bit at a time and mix until a thick paste like batter is formed
  3. Close with a lid and place in a warm place to ferment (8-10 hours or overnight)
  4. Add the coconut milk, salt and stir
  5. Spay a pan or skillet and wipe off excess oil
  6. Heat to a medium hot stage (precise heat will produce more bubbles and give a nicer lace like edge. If it’s not hot enough, there won’t be any bubbles, so the crepe will be like a sheet. We want a net like texture with a lot of tiny holes. That’s what makes it crispy
  7. Once the pan is ready pore 1/4 cups of batter and quickly swirl the pan to spread batter evenly as thinly as possible. Thinner the better
  8. You will need to practice this a few times
  9. Now let the crepe/hopper cook and crisp up.
  10. Once it’s edges are golden brown, use a thin offset spatula or a knife to release it from the pan
  11. Repeat until the batter is finished
  12. Best eaten while still warm and crispy!
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Sourdough blueberry coconut pancakes

This is a dairy and egg free recipe and for a vegan option, simply swap honey with maple syrup

sourdough blueberry coconut pancakes
sourdough blueberry coconut pancakes

Who doesn’t love a good pancake? right? But for me it has to be a good old-fashioned, made-from-the-scratch kind. Supermarket shelves are flooded with pancake mixes that comes in plastic containers, where all you have to do is add water and shake. But where’s all the fun in that!

I always love to make my pancakes from the scratch and I save the store bought ones for hiking, camping and trekking. The good thing about whipping up your own pancake mix is that you can be creative. I use different flours, oils, sugars, and milk to create unique flavors. Another good thing about pancakes is that they are like carrier for all the good produce like berries, bananas, stone fruit, nuts, chocolate to name a few. And my favorite has got to be the blueberries, when they are season!

Fresh blueberries

Well, this recipe has it all. I’m using a natural leavening to give the rise to the pancake. Also the eggs are being replaced with tofu, milk with coconut milk and the butter with coconut oil. So this is a almost a vegan recipe, if I didn’t use a dash of honey that is. But you can replace honey with any sweeter of your choice, like, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, molasses or agave syrup.

sourdough blueberry coconut pancakes
sourdough blueberry coconut pancakes

This recipe actually takes much longer to prepare than a usual pancake. As we are using natural yeast, the mixture need time to ferment and get bubbly.

But it’s very simple and only got four steps to it.

Mix the ingredients, let it ferment slowly overnight, loosen batter, final fermentation of two hours. That is it!

batter is thicker

The key to remember is that the final fermentation is where the magic happens. The yeast that multiplied during the overnight will start to speed up their activity. The batter will rise considerably and will be bubbly. So it is important not to disturb this process. The batter shouldn’t be sired after the final fermentation so as not to knock all the air out. Instead, we slowly scoop out spoonfuls and drop on to a hot skillet. This trapped air bubbles will then expand and will give the pancakes a good lift and a soft pillowy texture.

Final stage… notice the air bubbles

This is what baking soda or baking powder does for us in a traditional recipe.

And also, I add the blue berries while the pancake cooks. So just after you drop the batter to a pan, scatter few blueberries. This way we can make sure everyone gets berries. And the batter won’t turn all blue or purple. you can use either fresh or frozen. I like to add frozen wild blueberries, as they are tiny and sink in to the pancake nicely.

Serve these warm, drizzled with honey and more fresh blueberries!

honey and blueberry
serve with honey and blueberries

Here is the recipe! Give it a try!

Sourdough blueberry coconut pancakes

pancakes, snacks

Servings: 2 dozen medium pancakes

sourdough blueberry coconut pancakes


  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 cup starter (sourdough starter fed/mature)
  • 120 g silken tofu (soft or firm)
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cups coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ground linseed (optional)
  • 2 tbsp honey (or more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (lukewarm)
  • extra honey and berries to serve


  1. Mix all the ingredients except for the water in a large glass bowl. You can use a food processor for this. Batter should be thick but dropping consistency. If batter is too thick, add a splash of water.
  2. Cover the batter and leave at room temperature for about and hour. (if its cooler extend by half an hour)
  3. Then place in the fridge for overnight (or several hours)
  4. In the morning, add the 1 1/2 cups warm water to loosen up the batter. Check batter consistency carefully and adjust it with more water if necessary. It should be thicker than normal pancake batter, but still dropping consistency (closer to a porridge)
  5. Leave in a warm spot for about two to three hours(depending on how warm your kitchen is)Speed this up by placing the bowl in the oven with a cup of boiling water.
  6. After this final fermentation, the batter should have expanded considerably and you will notice bubbles on the surface
  7. DO NOT stir the batter!
  8. Heat a nonstick pan or a skillet
  9. Deposit roughly about 1/3 cups of batter onto the pre-heated pan.
  10. Scatter blueberries and turn the pancake over before the top cooks completely. (30 seconds from dropping blueberries)
  11. Remove cooked pancake and place on a plate
  12. Continue until the batter is all used up.
  13. Serve with honey and more fresh blueberries.

Resist the urge to stir or mix the batter while making the pancakes, as his will knock all the air out and the pancakes will be flat.

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