Ban Jian Kuih

Ban Jian Kuih (Apam Balik) with hazelnuts

There is an old man near the market in the area where I live back in Malaysia who makes these and have been making these chewy, peanut Malaysian styled pancakes for the last twenty years. Known as apam balik by the Malays and as ban jian kuih by the Chinese Hokkien, this pancake comes in two different styles – the thicker, peanut-only filled slices and the thinner, crispy, corn & peanut whole pieces.

While Mum prefers the thinner, crispy ones, I actually like the dense and peanut-filled one just because it’s oh-so fragrant and perfect for a fulfilling breakfast. Yes, you’re supposed to eat like a king for breakfast because it provides the energy you’ll need for the long day ahead!

Anyway, I have been toying with the idea of making ban jian kuih for a while and finally decided to take the plunge today with some modifications with the recipe I found. No lye water (potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution) available here at first glance – I am also too lazy to go hunt it down – and I ran out of unsalted peanuts plus I don’t really fancy margarine. So the substitute came in the form of vinegar, brown sugar, butter and chopped hazelnuts.

The result is…well, while the taste is very much the same with the crunch of the nuts, the texture leaves much to be desired. I was aiming for the airy, honeycomb structure within the pancake and even though it was bubbly and frothy, still, it is much too dense for my liking. I’ll definitely try this again with some adjustments – namely the thickness and such but otherwise, it’s all good for a first try!

Ban Jian Kuih
Adapted from Lily’s Ban Jian Kuih recipe

Ingredients

(A) Pancake

100 gms flour
25 gms rice flour
50 gms brown sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
100 ml water
65 ml milk

(B) Filling

Hazelnuts
Caster sugar
Butter – small chunks

Method

  1. Mix (A) well and place aside to rest/proof for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Using a non-stick pan over medium-low heat, pour in the batter (how much depends on the size of the pan and the desired thickness of the pancake) and spread out using the ladle.
  3. Allow to cook uncovered. When bubbles are seen on the surface, sprinkle hazelnuts followed by sugar and toss in the chunks of butter.
  4. Allow to cook for a few seconds (until the butter melts) before using a spatula to release the sides and bottom.
  5. Fold into half and remove. Cool before cutting and serve as is or with a cup of hot coffee.

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