Thursday, 22 November 2012
Go Bananas !! - Apom Balik (Gula Melaka Pancakes With Banana Caramel Sauce)
I have an enduring love affair with this pudding. It is truly scrumptious and highly addictive. Until now, it has always been a secret pleasure of mine. I would often make this in large batches and then devouring the whole lot, sauce and all, by myself , cocooned in my own little dunking heaven and scooping up the odd chunks of delightful bananas along the way. The sticky and gooey pancakes, flavoured with the aromatic Gula Melaka or palm sugar along with the sweet and unctuous banana sauce that is made with fragrant coconut milk and once again, Gula Melaka, are just simply too good to resist.
Even though I have called this Apom Balik but in truth, this is not like the traditional version which are peanut filled pancakes also known as Mee Jian Kueh in Singapore. How this recipe came about was because there used to be this street food stall in our local Pasar Malam or night market in Ipoh where they would filled these spongey pancakes with slices of banana drizzled with Gula Melaka syrup and were simply out of this world. Sensing our slight addition to these delicious treats, my nan toyed with the idea of turning that sweet banana fillings into a rich, dipping sauce and serve them with these amazing fragrant gula melaka pancakes of hers and lord and behold, it soon turned into a classic in our household. Since then, whenever she want to 'silence' us and have a bit of peace and quiet to herself, this ingenious pudding would make an appearance and with bribery as delicious and moreish as this, believe me, we were not complaining.
On my recent supperclub nights, this family classic made its debut entrance and it was very well received by the diners and the back of house team. Some even named this as their favourite dish of the night and there was a great deal of sauce drinking straight from the pot. The success of this dish did not surprised me at all as I have a great deal of faith in my nan's wonderful cooking and this just reinforce what I always knew deep in my heart - My nan is the greatest chef in the world!
Ingredients (makes about 25 pancakes)
350g gula melaka, grated
50g soft dark brown sugar
150ml coconut water
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
300ml coconut milk
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
Sunflower oil, for brushing the pan
For the banana caramel sauce:
600g gula melaka, grated
50g soft dark brown sugar
750ml coconut milk
6 pandan leaves, tied into knot
10-12 ripen bananas, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp rice flour, mixed with 2 tbsp water
To make the banana sauce, combined the gula melaka, brown sugar, coconut milk and pandan leaves into a saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the sliced bananas, salt and rice flour mixture and simmer for another 8-10 minutes, until the bananas has soften. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the gula melaka, brown sugar and coconut water in a saucepan and heat gentle. Stir until the sugar has dissolved leaving a smooth syrup. Set aside and allow to cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the coconut milk and egg.
Pour the now cooled sugar syrup into the flour mixture along the coconut and egg mixture. Whisk to a smooth batter consistency and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and brush with some sunflower oil. Add a ladle of the batter (you need just enough batter to form a rough 8cm diameter pancakes) and cook for about 2 minutes, until tiny craters start forming on the surface. Remove from pan and fold over in half. Set aside and repeat until all the batter has been used up.
Serve the pancakes with the warm banana caramel sauce and dunk away...