Hodan Nalayeh is not only an internationally renown and respected media personality and public figure, this Somali-Canadian mother of two is also a passionate cook.
Despite a hectic schedule filming and broadcasting stories about Somalis from around the world on her much loved Integration TV, Hodan still finds time to cook up a storm in her kitchen. She shares her special canjeelo recipe with us. We tried it with a smear of nutella – delicious!
Canjeelo also known as canjeero or laxoox is a popular Somali breakfast and lunch crepe usually served with meat or simply drizzled with oil and sugar, and sometimes mashed up with tea .
Hodan’s recipe uses pancake mix and is great for busy people who don’t have time to let the crepe batter ferment. It turns out a great tasting crepe and you can always add some lemon juice to give a tangy taste.
Food and memories are intertwined and canjeelo brings back many sweet memories for Hodan.
“I never got a chance to grow up in Somalia. On a recent trip to Somalia, I learned to appreciate the little moments that bring families together. The beauty of the sunrise and children sitting around their mother eating Somalia’s favourite breakfast of canjeelo, always warmed my heart every morning in Las Canod.
I don’t recall my early childhood memories in Somalia, but growing up in Canada since age six, my favourite memory as a child happened everyday at 5 am just like the children of Somalia. My mother would wake up hours before her twelve children to cook. Every morning, the smell of canjeelo cooking on the hot stove woke us up. She never missed a day.
We would sit around waiting for our fresh piece of canjeelo because it tastes so much better when it is hot. We learned the art of patience, waiting for our piece. Reflecting on that simple memory, I have learned the importance of rituals to great love bonds. Family is built by connection and communication. When I became a mother, I wanted my children to enjoy this ritual of love…eating together in love. Of course, as a working mom, I had to learn to simplify cooking fresh breakfast every morning. Making canjeelo from scratch would take long hours, but with a bit of innovation and a few substitutes, I have a fast and simple way to continue the ritual of love for those of us living in the western world.”
Hodan Nalayeh’s Canjeelo aka Canjeero aka Laxoox
1 cup of Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete Pancake and Waffle Mix (any other pancake mix should work well but add a teaspoon of baking powder to give it that much cherised eyelet, holey surface of the typical canjeero)
1.5 cups of water
1. Blend the ingredients until smooth and free of lumps
2. Heat up your pan on the stove and start creating circles of love!
3. Once the pan is hot, pour a ladleful of the fermented batter and spread from the centre in a circular motion. You should aim for a circle that is about the size of a dinner plate.
4. Cover the pan and cook until the surface is holey and the bottom a light golden brown.
5. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.