Brass pots and pans are so hard to come by nowadays and are getting a little pricey for my liking. I went in search for them about a week ago at PJ old town, rummaging through topsy-turvy and dusty old shops. These are shops that seem completely disorganized with cast iron woks, bamboo brushes, heavy duty commercial gas rings and a myriad of other kitchen stuff sprawling over to the floors in dark dim corners ready to trip you up. These are shops that seem to have anything that you would need in an Asian kitchen from the small home cook to the commercial restaurant or stall owner plus some more from canes to whack your children with, if you are so inclined, to plastic dustbins, to rattan baskets, to tiffin carriers and to feather dusters. My kind of store.
Unfortunately they did not have the brass mould that I was looking for at a price that I was willing to pay for. So I left and decided that a good old non stick would just have to do for the pancakes that I was planning to make.
Traditionally this pancake turnover or apam balik is made in a brass mould because brass distributes heat evenly, is thick and heavy so food does not scald easily. These are what the brass moulds look like...
And these are the pancakes that are made and sold to a long queue of customers every Sunday.
The fillings are crushed peanuts, creamed corn, sugar and artery clogging magarine.
So these are what I made today,a Monday, when the apam balik family stall is not around. This is a very good recipe that makes a very good apam balik. As good as the apam balik man's apam balik I must say. It was given by one of the Malaysian ladies when we were in Taiwan at a time when many Malaysians get homesick and yearn for good old Malaysian street food. Thanks to her we were able to satiate our appetites for lovely apam balik. Did I tell you I have a bad memory for names? Unfortunately I do. I must try to recall.
The picture above and the one below are the first two apam baliks that I made. They weren't as pretty as the very last one that I made (in the first 2 photos above). Practice does make perfect. But it tasted good nevertheless.
Here's the recipe..........makes about 6 pancakes depending on the size of your pan...
340 gm plain all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp sugar ( I used about 3 tablespoons instead)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tsp vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
a pinch of soda bicarbonate
1 cup or crushed peanuts (slightly coarse, not like powder)
1/2 cupof granulated sugar, more or less
a small tin of creamed corn, optional
some butter or magarine
a little cooking oil for swiping the pan.
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until you get a smooth batter. Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes or more. It will thicken upon resting and yield a nice thick batter.
Heat up a non stick pan. I used one that was about 7-8 inches in diameter. Swipe the pan with a little oil using kitchen paper. Make sure the pan is nice and hot.
Ladle up some batter, about 100 ml (a little less than 1/2 a cup), the amount depending on how thick or thin you would like your pancake to be. Pour the batter intot eh heated pan. Make sure the pan is on medium heat. Spread the batter around the bottom of the pan using the back of the ladle (in the case of the stall owner below, she used her enamel mug) until the batter is in an even layer.
Let it cook a little while until bubbles begin to appear....like so.....
Then sprinkle a layer of crushed peanuts, then a layer of sugar (granulated) and then if you like drop small dollops of sweet creamed corn from a tin, some blobs of butter or magarine and let the pancake cook until the top firms up and the batter is cooked through.
Using a flat ladle or spatula. lift and fold the pancake in half and take it out of the pan and place on a wire rack while you continue making more pancakes with the rest of the batter.
Cut up the pancake and serve, preferably hot or warm.
Home made apam balik below......YUMMY.............