Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
Here's a lovely foodtruck idea for you. Or rather, for those of you who operate a foodtruck business, in which case I am completely envious. A blogger friend of mine recently asked my thoughts on comfort food, and while I described to her two of my favorites, I forgot to mention this slice of earthly delight - apam balik. Literally translated, it means pancake turnovers, a very Malay street fare popular in the night/food markets of Brunei and Malaysia.
Traditional apam balik is cooked in a brass mould (for better heat distribution) and is thick, sweet and chewy, filled with ground peanuts, sugar, raisins and if that still isn't enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, sweetened condensed milk! Ahh..yes, this is my kind of comfort food, the sort that brings me back to my roots no matter how international I may think I have become. It might be something to do with getting in touch with my inner child, because this is the food I grew up, fell in love with and will return to whenever I need comforting. If only our best personal cheerleaders were as accessible...LOL.
However, today is lazy Sunday and I'm no longer that child, haven't been for many years. So, my apam balik have taken on a certain lightness and sophistication. They are no longer pancakes, but crêpes. They are no longer thick and chewy but light and crispy, no longer plain but matcha-flavored. And filled with raspberries, crushed peanuts and a sprinkling of sugar, because that darn sweet tooth is still there :-).
Look how thin and crisp the apam balik shell is.
The batter is easily mixed by hand or in a blender, then strained and left in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. I think this helps the flours absorb the liquids better, but in my opinion, this is helpful only for the traditional thick pancakes. Since my version is crispy and more crêpe-like, I used the batter immediately. There's no waiting around here, even for lazy Sunday breakfasts!
The gratuitous oozy-filling-after-a-bite shot.
The recipe below also includes cornstarch as this helps keep the crêpes crisp for longer when they've cooled down and are kept at room temperature, as long as the filling is not moist. I've also made these without the cornstarch and if the crêpes are going to be eaten immediately, the absence of cornstarch makes no difference to the taste. Fill the crispy apam balik with anything you like (Nutella, PB and J, fresh fruits, yoghurt, cheese) or even leave out the matcha for plain crêpes. Then imagine you're biting into a giant, crisp fortune cookie, only one that's slightly more pliable.
That said, let me share with you the simple recipe.
Crispy Matcha Apam Balik with Raspberries and Nuts
Makes about six 10-inch crepes
170g all-purpose flour
100g rice flour
1 tablespoon matcha powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml (6 - 7oz) water
150 g caster sugar
1 cup chopped or ground roasted peanuts
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1. Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk or in a blender, strain and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight (if you have time to wait). Check that the batter is not too thick, if so, thin by gradually adding a bit more water.
2. Heat a crepe pan or a small non-stick skillet, just hot enough for batter to stick to pan.
3. Pour in about ½ cup of batter and swirl pan so that batter is coating the edge. Remove the excess batter and sprinkle some sugar on the pancake.
4. Cook until the edges are dry and the bottom of crepe is golden brown.
5. Sprinkle with ground nuts and raspberries on half or a quarter of the crepe.
6. Fold the crepe into half, then a quarter and leave to cool. It will crisp up further upon cooling. Serve immediately.