What is Apam Balik?
Apam Balik is a dish that’s famous in my home country, Malaysia. It is also a known dish in the nearby countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. It’s an Asian style pancake turnover with varieties of fillings inside. The fillings can vary from the most traditional one like roasted peanuts, sugar and creamy sweet corn to chocolate and even cheese.
The thickness of an Apam Balik can also be different. Some like it very thin and others not so much. Apam Balik is different on its own because when it’s fully cooked, it’s folded in half. Thus the name turnover or balik.
Apam Balik memories
I grew up eating and selling Apam Balik with my father and my siblings. My mother would prepare the ingredients and my father would then prepare the batter when he came back from work. Back then he used these rattan sticks that were tied together to be used as a hand whisk.
I can still clearly remember the smell of the batter throughout the house everytime he prepared it. He built our street cart with 8 burners for cooking 8 apam balik at once. We even had the apam balik pans. Yes, the pan is different from our daily cooking pans. We would push our apam balik street cart beside our house and start selling. Such memories.
Holding to those memories makes me excited to share this recipe.
The recipe is actually a straightforward one. It involves putting all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing them until there are no lumps. After that, the batter should rest until it gets foamy and bubbly. When you see that, then you know the batter is going to be good. Give the batter a few whisks before using it.
For this recipe I’m using an 8 inch (20 cm) non stick pan and I get 5 pieces of apam balik. Using a low medium heat, melt some unsalted butter. Use a kitchen paper to spread the melted butter all around the pan, leaving almost no melted butter visible in the pan.
When the pan is hot, pour in some batter and using the back of the ladle, make some swirls to spread the batter evenly. Then cover the pan and cook for a few minutes until you see bubbles are formed on the pancake surface. Remove the lid and now comes the fun part.
Sprinkle generously (yes) granulated sugar, chopped roasted peanuts and creamy sweet corn. Then put the lid back on and continue cooking until the pancake is fully cooked. You can tell if it’s cook by looking at the edges.
It should look golden brown and not sticking to the pan. Remove the lid and for a final touch, place some pieces of unsalted butter in the middle of the pancake and fold it in half. And with that, you have yourself an apam balik. Easy, right?
I cover the pan to make the batter cooks faster. If you have the patience, skip that part. No harm. Like I mentioned earlier, of course you can put whatever fillings that you like. A good apam balik should have that smooth skin and fluffy soft inside. If you haven’t tried any apam balik before, you might want to give this recipe a try. Do let me know if you like it. Enjoy!
Watch how to make apam balik in the video below:
- 1 cup all purpose flour (130 gr)
- 1/2 cup self rising flour (65 gr)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar (25 gr), not 1/4 cup as said in the recipe video
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg , room temperature
- 1 cup warm milk (250 ml)
- granulated sugar , as needed
- roasted chopped peanuts , as needed
- creamy sweet corn , as needed
- some unsalted butter
- In a bowl, add in all the batter ingredients. Whisk everything together just until combined and no lumps. Cover tightly with a cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes, in a warm and draft free place.
- After 30 minutes, the batter should be foamy and almost double its volume. Give it a whisk before using.
- Melt some unsalted butter in a non stick pan. I use an 8 inch (20 cm) pan. Using a kitchen paper, spread the melted butter on the pan's surface. Using a ladle, pour in around 3/4 cup (190 ml) batter into the pan. Use less batter if you like it thinner. Using the back of the ladle, swirl and spread the batter evenly. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles are formed.
- Remove the lid. Sprinkle evenly a generously amount of granulated sugar, followed by chopped roasted peanuts and lastly several teaspoon of creamy sweet corn. Cover the pan again and let it continue cooking until it's fully cooked.
- Remove the lid. Put some slices of unsalted butter. Run a spatula all around the edges to release it from the pan. It should come out easily. Fold it in half and serve. Enjoy!
- If your batter turns too thick, simply add a splash of milk to loosen it up (see the correct consistency in the video above).