Today’s offering is known as apam balik (apam = type of “pancake” and balik = return). I’m not quite sure why it’s named that way, and to make things just a tad more confusing, there are actually two versions of this popular snack. One version is thick, with a chewy yet spongy texture, and the other version has a crisp shell. Think “thick crust” vs “thin crust” and you’ll get the idea. They are both cooked in a flat pan, then sprinkled with a mix of ground roasted peanuts, sugar and creamed corn (yes, corn). It’s a popular snack and can usually be found at the night markets (pasar malam)
I found an interesting recipe for apam balik in a book that my Aunty G had sent over not long ago (thanks aunty!), and was intrigued that the batter contained a combination of both yeast and baking powder. The resulting apam balik was actually very “fluffy” and pancake-like when eaten warm, but when it cooled, it had that slightly chewy edge I remember from childhood. I did omit the lye water called for in the recipe, substituting with baking soda instead. Why did I substitute? Uh, check out the wikipedia entry for lye water and you’ll understand. Having said that I’ve probably ingested loads of the stuff through my growing years without realising it. Which may explain a few things…
mmm..look at that
Best part about this apam? The batter can be made the night before and stored in the fridge to yield fresh, piping hot pancakes in the morning. This is one breakfast I eagerly devoured. So did the mini-critics. Mr. Kitchen Hand (as usual), freaked out over the addition of corn. Wimp.
now zoom in
(adapted from “Hot favourites, Kuih” published by e-lifestyle – can’t find any authors mentioned so I can’t credit them)
100g plain flour
150ml lukewarm water
½ teaspoon dry yeast
Combine all the ingredients and set aside for an hour
200g plain flour (the recipe calls for bread flour but I used all purpose and it worked fine)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda (to substitute for lye water)
1 egg, lightly beaten
300l water (may not need all of it)
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Using a fork, beat in the egg and the starter dough from above, then add the water a little at a time until a really thick batter is formed. It’s quite rare with Malaysian recipes that I find the amount of water given is exactly what I need, but in this case, it was a pleasant surprise.
Leave the batter to prove for 50 minutes. Or do as I do and pop it into the fridge until ready to use (I left mine in the fridge for at least 8 hours).(edit: if doing this, don't forget to cover with plastic wrap. Or store in an airtight container).
Crushed roasted peanuts (I prepared about ½ a cup worth, use more if you like it very nutty)
Sugar (I’d estimate about a level tablespoon per pancake (again, use more or less as you see fit. The batter itself isn’t very sweet).
Creamed corn (the type in the can.)
When ready to cook, heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat then oil the surface and sides of the pan. I find that a wadded up piece of kitchen paper dipped in oil works very well. Pour in enough batter (I let it sit for 10 minutes at room temperature first) to cover the frying pan, but not too thickly otherwise the underside will burn before it cooks through.
Leave the batter to bubble and when it starts to set, sprinkle on some peanuts, sugar and corn on half the pancake’s surface. Cook until completely set then fold it in half, (covering the filling) and slide onto a chopping board or plate – slice into wedges and serve. Best enjoyed warm.
Mmm, I know what I’m having for breakfast again tomorrow ☺
Have a great start to the week!