Today I tried to make Apam Balik at home .. although I don’t have the pan like the ones used by street hawkers below. The result, well, it can be done at home, but the Apam balik did not turn out super crunchy like the ones we buy. I guess this is because I used a normal non-stick pan where else the street vendors used brass ones. Probably the brass pan conducts heat better.
There are a few Apam balik recipes, some use all-purpose flour only, and some use a mixture of flour. I opted for the recipe containing wheat flour, rice flour and corn flour, hoping for the crunchy texture. I think it turns out pretty well. Just make sure to eat it right away, before it turns cold.
Here’s the recipe.170 gm plain flour 100 gm rice flour 30 gm corn floor 2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract few drops of yellow colouring (optional) 250 gm of water / coconut milk 150 gm castor sugar
Fillings – butter, coarse sugar, roasted chopped peanuts, cream sweet corn, choc rice, cheese etc etc.
Combine all the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Sieve. Then add the salt, eggs, vanilla, colouring and sugar. Mix with a whisk. Slowly add the liquid ie the water and coconut milk or mixture of both. Add little by little until you get a thin and smooth batter. Strain the batter and let it rest in the fridge for about 3 hours.
When you are ready to make the Apam balik, put all the fillings in individual bowls. Take a small non-stick pan, rub with butter or vegetable oil and heat using a small fire. When the pan is hot, pour 3/4 ladle of batter into the middle of the pan, then swirl the pan ( similar to making crepes). Or you can use the ladle to thin out the batter into a round shape. Make sure it covers the wall of the pan, for appearance sake and also to keep the filling from oozing out. Once you see the pancake starts to bubble, sprinkle your chosen filling. Check to see the bottom is cooked, then flip the pancake. Do not overcook. Serve hot.
Making the Apam balik is not that difficult. Some tips – do not overload on the filling, and leave the edges clear. Or you end up with messy turnovers. To get a smooth top (unlike mine) do not put too much butter when heating the pan, just use a brush or paper towel to dab the butter. And always use a small fire/ low heat through out the cooking process.
When making at home, you can choose to add fillings you like, and opt to use coconut milk, evaporated milk or fresh milk. Real butter also makes the Apam Balik extra special. Hope you will give it a try.