Reply To: Roadside food: Apam balik

  • Aleeya Asri

    August 26, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    The classic version of this snack is a concoction of deep-fried dough squares dipped in grated coconut, milk, and sugar. This dish has been associated with the culture of pre-independence Malaya and is traditionally offered to guests. Traditionally, this dish was eaten during a festive occasion or meal served to honor guests or family members who had come from afar. Today, it is enjoyed by locals as a convenient snack that can be made after work with few ingredients at home.

    The history of Apam Balik can be traced through the 1910s to 1930s, when Chinese traders from North Malaysia brought with them their language and culture. They set up food stalls and cooked delicacies like bak kut teh, lor mee, and Hokkien mee. The Malay term “apam” refers to a pancake made from fermented rice or sweet flour batter that is then deep-fried in oil. The use of these terms in reference to a particular snack is believed to be a result of the Chinese traders who brought their food and culture along with them when they migrated from China.

    The ingredients for traditional Apam Balik were simple; flour, butter, sugar, milk, and grated coconut were used. Today, Sri Lankan cooks have added their own style of this sweet snack when it comes to ingredients. They put in an egg and extra coconut milk for coconut flavor. But still, the basic ingredients of flour, butter, sugar and grated coconut are retained.

    The actual cooking process is simple. The dough is made up with flour and mashed banana for sweetness. This batter is deep fried and then dipped in a basin containing grated coconut, custard powder and warm milk or fresh condensed milk. The dough is then rolled in diced onions before serving. Today Apam balik is prepared commercially in Malaysia and can be found in food courts specializing in local cuisine as well as restaurants serving Malaysian fare.

    A classic Malaysian dish of the Malay Peninsula-Apam Balik (a flaky pancake topped with grated coconut).

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