Apam Balik (Malaysian Peanut Pancakes)

September 24, 2009

There’s one thing that has always muddled me about Malaysia and that is how there are always 5 different names for one item and a myriad of different ways to spell it. Understandable of course, as this melting pot of a country harbours so many different cultures and languages.

Take the Apam Balik for instance (or should it ‘apom’?). In Chinese it’s known as Chin Loong Pau. In Hokkien it’s Ban Jian Kuih or Min Jian Kuih. But I’ve also seen it spelt as Jiang, Chiang, Chien and Kuey instead of Kuih. I just refer to it plainly as a peanut pancake though I’ve been told that the correct translation should be peanut turnover. Ah, the joys of growing up amongst five languages! I’m sure there’ll be people who’d quickly inform me what the correct term and spelling is but for now it’ll always be Apam Balik a.k.a Ban Jian Kuih a.k.a peanut pancake to me. After all, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, am I right?

And sweet this is indeed! This has to be my favourite amongst the Malaysian snacks and the first thing I think about when I’m ‘coming home’. The best ones can be found at the morning markets or the night bazaars of ‘pasar malams’ around my hometown of Petaling Jaya (about 20-25 mins drive from Kuala Lumpur). I never get a chance to acquire some for myself as I always stay around the city but fortunately my grandmother would always buy a bag for me whenever I pay a visit. I love my Mama.

Since the trips to Malaysia are few and far between, I’ve had to teach myself to make my favourite Malaysian eats to satiate at least a percentage of my craving.


With Malaysian peanut pancakes, you’d belong to either one of two camps –
thin and crispy or thick and cakey. This version is for the crispy, crepe-like pancakes, which I’ve adapted from this recipe. The original recipe wielded quite a thick batter, which I couldn’t spread fast enough before the bottom cooked so I added more water. I also didn’t like the amount of baking powder and bi-carb soda in it – if I spreaded it thin then it’d bubble up too much and make holes. Too thick and it’d rise and become too cakey (I’m such a fussy one). And none of them could form a folded edge or ‘lip’ adequately.

I think I’ll stick to my usual Ban Jian Kuih recipe that makes for a pancake that’s not too thick and not too thin – a real fence sitter like I am heh. But also because that batter is easy to spread, tastes better and cooks beautifully – all with the requisite ‘lip’ (it’s the apam balik version of a macaron’s ‘feet’ and it just doesn’t feel the same without it!). 


Apam Balik / Ban Jian Kuih

This recipe is for you if you like your Apam Baliks nice and thin!


Ingredients

170g plain flour
100g rice flour
30g cornflour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C (250ml / 8oz) of water

Filling

200g unsalted, roasted peanuts
120g caster sugar
120g melted butter

Method

Filling – in a food processor, pulse the nuts and sugar until finely ground (but not too fine that it’s powdery).

For the pancake, place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and give it a quick mix.

Mix the 3 liquid ingredients in a separate bowl or jug. Make a well in the flour and pour the liquid mix in and whisk until smooth and lump-free.

Cover it with clingwrap and stick it in the fridge for 3 hours (or overnight).

Heat a crepe pan or a small nonstick pan on medium-low heat (you could use the traditional apam balik pan but I much prefer the ease of non-stick cookware!). Before each pancake you could give it a light spray of cooking oil or a dab of melted butter (for extra flavour and greasing).

Pour in a small ladle of batter and swirl the pan so that the batter covers the entire surface and coats the edge. Once bubbles have formed, sprinkle the peanut filling over the entire surface of the pancake and drizzle a bit of the melted butter over one half.

Cook till the bottom of the pancake is golden brown.

With a palette knife or spatula, flip one side of the pancake over the other to fold in half and remove from pan to cool on a plate or wire rack. Cut in half or into small wedges and serve immediately.

Print this recipe


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Anu August 27, 2014 at 23:14

ohhhh yummy….thank you..I so wanna do this..being away from.Malaysia..its not easy to get all the street food in Australia…Im so craving for it..yes its gonna be my tea time snack soon…I love cooking..thanks guys!!

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Haris January 11, 2014 at 20:40

Had try doing it, turn out to be delicious. Thanks for sharing

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vivi July 22, 2013 at 09:59

How come is not crispy ,Is it some where that I make it wrong.

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Citrus and Candy July 23, 2013 at 01:35

Hi Vivi, perhaps you weren’t cooking it long enough in the pan or on high enough heat to get golden brown and crispy? Also when you take it off the pan make sure they’re not touching each other and that you’re not covering them otherwise they’ll get soggy. And they’re best eaten straight away. Hope this helps.

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Anonymous January 17, 2011 at 13:20

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zmm January 28, 2010 at 08:48

OMG! You actually make this yourself?

I think those who live in Malaysia are way too pampered. We won't care to do this on our own.. We just buy, after all, how much does it cost?

Btw, love your site.

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Anonymous January 2, 2010 at 20:41

have you tried a filling of creamed corn? tastes heavenly. to me, at least.

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Karen | Citrus and Candy October 1, 2009 at 07:12

Hi breadetbutter – thank you so much! Check back on the blog soon because I'm going to feature another ban jian kuih recipe that's more of the cakey version and it's even tastier than this one :) And yep I tend to say the hokkien name more as well!

Hi Y – perhaps it's the sugar content? So if no peanuts then what filling would you eat with it? I love Apam Balik with an unhealthy passion!

Hi A cupcake or two – thanks so much xx

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A cupcake or two October 1, 2009 at 03:42

The Apam Balik looks delicious. I have to try it. Your photos are great.

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Y September 28, 2009 at 05:51

Apom used to be one of my all time favourite snacks. My parents would never let us get the apam filled with peanuts – considered unhealthy for some odd reason :P

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breadetbutter September 27, 2009 at 16:14

I love ban jian kuih (yup that's what I call it, hehe)! Am bookmarking this recipe for future use.

Beautiful photos as well!

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Karen | Citrus and Candy September 25, 2009 at 18:37

Hi shez – sadness I know… if only we have a long hawker strip somewhere in Sydney then it'd be heavenly (and we'd never leave!).

Hi Anh – Hehe no problem, hope you and your MIL enjoy it :)

Hi Errin – Ahh a kindred spirit :D

Hi Lis – omg when you do get to Malaysia, you're gonna eat till you die LOL. (oh and take me with you!)

Hi Jo – that's right and the good thing is when you make a batch at home, nobody has to know that you're eating 5 whole pancakes in a row :P

Hi Helen – aw I don't think homemade will ever beat the hawkers in KL who have been churning it out on street stalls for generations :) Unless I learn their secret recipe!

Hi Stephcookie – make them then you can eat as much as you want (or you could just give it to me!)

Hi Ellie – Aah I can already see how some belong to two different camps. Personally I don't mind thick or thin just as long as I have some LOL

Hi Penny – I hope you enjoy them xx

Hi The Little Teochew – you're welcome and hope you enjoy it :)

Hi Lorraine – thanks lovely xx You should def give it a try if you've never had it before!

Hi Becky – thank you so much!

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Becky September 25, 2009 at 00:11

That looks like heaven!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 24, 2009 at 10:44

Ooh this is a new one for me! Lovely photos as always and nice in process shots too! :D

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Ju (The Little Teochew) September 24, 2009 at 07:58

Beautiful!! And I want to try your version. Thanks!

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pemny aka jeroxie September 24, 2009 at 07:54

Loving this! One of my favourites as well when I head back to SG.I need to try this out as well.

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Ellie (Almost Bourdain) September 24, 2009 at 05:35

Love Apom Balik!! Yours look really crispy and love your generous spread of peanuts filling. I prefer the thick spongy ones though.

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Stephcookie September 24, 2009 at 04:40

Ooh they look just like how I remember! I don't know the correct spelling but I've seen the 'apom' variation quite a lot. I wish I could eat these!!!

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Helen (Grab Your Fork) September 24, 2009 at 04:33

oh this looks dangerously good. i've tried this once but i expect the homemade version is much tastier!

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Jo September 24, 2009 at 04:25

Haha .. it's got to be thin and crispy for me and I can't believe you're making your own. I guess if you can't find them and craving starts to kick in, the only way is to cook up some.

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Lis September 24, 2009 at 04:22

Yummmmm, these looks delicious!
I'm hanging to visit Malaysia, I just love love love Malaysian food! =D

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Errin September 23, 2009 at 23:29

Anything with a sweet peanut filling is fine with me :)

These look super tasty!

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Anh September 23, 2009 at 22:53

My MIL will love you! No she will love me more since I can make this for her. A big thank to you!

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shez September 23, 2009 at 22:48

Love Love LOVE it Karen! I can taste the heady aroma of sugared up peanuts already. Thanks for the recipe – I'm always on the hunt for Malaysian foods to recreate at home. So sad to not be able to purchase it on street corners here like we can over there!

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