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From Street Food to Homemade Delight: Chinese Peanut Pancake Recipe

Chinese peanut pancakes, also known as Ban Chang Kuih or Min Chiang Kueh, are a popular street food in China, Singapore, and Malaysia. They are made from a batter of rice flour, wheat flour, and sugar, and are filled with a sweet and nutty mixture of roasted peanuts and sugar.

A hand pours batter onto a sizzling griddle. Peanuts and sugar are sprinkled on top before the pancake is folded and cooked until golden brown

The origins of Chinese peanut pancakes can be traced back to the Fujian province in China, where they are known as Min Chiang Kueh. Over time, the recipe spread to other parts of China and to Southeast Asia, where it was adapted to local tastes and ingredients. Today, Chinese peanut pancakes are enjoyed as a snack or dessert in many countries, and are often sold by street vendors or in food courts.

If you want to make Chinese peanut pancakes at home, you'll need a few essential ingredients, including rice flour, wheat flour, sugar, and peanuts. You'll also need some basic kitchen tools, such as a mixing bowl, a whisk, and a non-stick pan. Once you have all the ingredients and tools, you can prepare the batter, cook the pancakes, and fill them with your favourite toppings. Whether you prefer sweet or savoury fillings, there's a Chinese peanut pancake recipe that's perfect for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese peanut pancakes are a popular street food in China, Singapore, and Malaysia.
  • The recipe for Chinese peanut pancakes originated in the Fujian province in China and has since spread to other parts of the world.
  • To make Chinese peanut pancakes at home, you'll need essential ingredients such as rice flour, wheat flour, sugar, and peanuts.

Origins and Cultural Significance

A street vendor prepares a Chinese peanut pancake, surrounded by traditional ingredients and utensils, with a crowd of eager customers watching

Historical Background

Chinese Peanut Pancake, also known as Ban Jian Kuih, is a popular snack that originated from Fujian, China. It is believed that the snack was introduced to Malaysia by the Nyonya, a community of Chinese-Malay descendants. The Nyonya are known for their unique blend of Chinese and Malay culture, which is reflected in their cuisine. The snack quickly gained popularity in Malaysia and is now a common street food across the country.

Regional Variations

The snack is known by different names in different regions. In Malaysia, it is commonly called Apam Balik, while in Singapore, it is known as Min Chiang Kueh. Despite the different names, the snack is essentially the same. However, there are some regional variations in the filling. In Malaysia, the filling typically consists of crushed peanuts, sugar, and sweetcorn, while in Singapore, the filling is often made with red bean paste or coconut.

The snack is traditionally made by pouring a batter of flour, sugar, and eggs onto a hot griddle. The batter is then topped with a filling of crushed peanuts, sugar, and sweetcorn before being folded in half. The resulting snack is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a sweet and nutty flavour.

The Chinese Peanut Pancake is a beloved snack in Malaysia and Singapore, and is often enjoyed as a breakfast or afternoon snack. Its popularity is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region, and its unique blend of Chinese and Malay influences.

Essential Ingredients

A pair of hands mixing flour, sugar, and peanuts in a bowl. Another pair of hands rolling out the dough and frying it on a griddle

When it comes to making Chinese peanut pancakes, there are a few essential ingredients that you will need to have on hand. Here are the key ingredients that you will need to make this delicious snack at home.

Choosing the Right Peanuts

One of the most important ingredients in Chinese peanut pancakes is, of course, the peanuts themselves. You will want to choose high-quality peanuts that are fresh and free from any signs of mould or spoilage. You can use either roasted or raw peanuts, depending on your preference. If you are using raw peanuts, you will need to roast them before using them in your pancake batter.

Flour Varieties

The two main types of flour that are used in Chinese peanut pancakes are plain flour and rice flour. Plain flour is a fine, white flour that is made from wheat. Rice flour, as the name suggests, is made from rice and has a slightly different texture and flavour than plain flour. You will also need a small amount of corn flour to help thicken the batter.

Sweetening the Batter

To sweeten the pancake batter, you will need to use a combination of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. The sugar will add sweetness to the batter, while the baking powder and baking soda will help the pancakes rise and become fluffy. A pinch of salt will help to balance out the sweetness of the sugar.

In addition to these key ingredients, you will also need water, milk, yeast, self-raising flour, and coconut milk to make Chinese peanut pancakes. With these ingredients on hand, you will be well on your way to creating a delicious and authentic Chinese snack that is sure to please.

Preparing the Batter

Mixing flour, water, and sugar in a bowl. Adding crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Pouring the batter onto a hot griddle

Making the batter for Chinese peanut pancake is easy and straightforward. You will need a mixing bowl, a whisk, and a few ingredients such as flour, egg, oil, and water. Here are the steps to prepare the batter:

Mixing Techniques

  1. Sift the flour to remove any lumps and ensure a smooth texture.
  2. Crack the egg into the mixing bowl and whisk until well-beaten.
  3. Add the sifted flour, oil, and melted butter to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Gradually pour in the water while whisking until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
  5. For a fluffier texture, you can add a pinch of instant yeast to the batter and mix well.

Resting and Fermentation

Once you have mixed the batter, it's time to let it rest and ferment. These steps are crucial in ensuring the pancake is soft and fluffy. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Cover the mixing bowl with a clean cloth and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the gluten in the flour to relax and the batter to thicken.
  2. After 30 minutes, add a small amount of alkaline water to the batter and mix well. This helps to give the pancake its characteristic chewy texture.
  3. Cover the bowl again and let it ferment for another 30 minutes. This allows the batter to rise and create air pockets, making the pancake light and fluffy.

By following these steps, you can prepare a delicious Chinese peanut pancake batter that is perfect for frying.

Cooking Procedure

A chef pours batter onto a hot griddle, sprinkles peanuts and sugar, then flips the pancake to cook until golden brown

Pan Selection

The type of pan you use can make a big difference in the outcome of your Chinese peanut pancake. It is recommended to use a non-stick pan to avoid the pancake sticking to the bottom of the pan. A non-stick pan will also require less oil, which makes for a healthier option.

Achieving the Perfect Crispiness

To achieve the perfect crispiness for your Chinese peanut pancake, it is important to cook it for the right amount of time. Overcooking the pancake can make it too crispy and dry, while undercooking it can make it too soft and doughy.

First, heat up the pan on medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Once the pan is heated, pour the batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. Cover the pan with a lid and let the pancake cook for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

Next, flip the pancake over and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Once both sides are golden brown, remove the pancake from the pan and place it on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Finally, cut the pancake into bite-sized pieces and serve hot. Enjoy your crispy and delicious Chinese peanut pancake!

Filling Variations and Toppings

A chef pours batter onto a sizzling griddle, adding peanuts and sesame seeds. Another chef spreads a sweet filling before folding the pancake in half

When it comes to Chinese peanut pancakes, the filling is the star of the show. The traditional filling is made with ground peanuts, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. It's nutty, sweet, and slightly crunchy, making it the perfect complement to the soft and chewy pancake. However, there are plenty of other filling options to try if you want to mix things up.

Traditional Peanut Filling

The traditional peanut filling is a classic for a reason. To make it, you'll need ground peanuts, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. You can either buy pre-ground peanuts or grind them yourself in a food processor. Mix the peanuts, sugar, and sesame seeds together and set aside. When you're ready to make the pancakes, spoon the mixture onto the pancake batter and cook as usual.

Alternative Fillings

If you're looking for something a little different, there are plenty of alternative fillings to try. Here are a few ideas:

  • Red Bean: Red bean paste is a popular filling for many Chinese desserts, including peanut pancakes. It's sweet and creamy, and pairs well with the nuttiness of the pancake.

  • Cream Corn: Cream corn adds a slightly sweet and creamy texture to the pancake. It's a great option if you're looking for something a little less nutty.

  • Grated Coconut: Grated coconut adds a tropical twist to the pancake. It's sweet and slightly chewy, and pairs well with the nuttiness of the peanut filling.

  • Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds add a nutty flavour and a slight crunch to the pancake. You can use white sesame seeds or black sesame seeds, depending on your preference.

No matter what filling you choose, don't forget to top your pancake with a drizzle of sweet soy sauce or a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. It's the perfect finishing touch to this delicious dessert or snack.

Frequently Asked Questions

A chef preparing Chinese peanut pancake batter with a mixing bowl, flour, peanuts, and a rolling pin on a wooden countertop

What's the secret to making a super crispy Apam Balik?

The secret to making a super crispy Apam Balik is to use the right amount of batter and to cook it on low heat until it's golden brown. You can also add a bit of oil to the batter to make it crispier.

How can I store Min Jiang Kueh if I've made too much?

If you've made too much Min Jiang Kueh, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, steam it for a few minutes until it's warm.

What's the traditional filling for Chinese peanut pancakes?

The traditional filling for Chinese peanut pancakes is roasted ground peanuts, sugar, and sesame seeds. You can also add other fillings like red bean paste, chocolate, or cheese.

Could you suggest a simple way to make a Chinese peanut pancake?

Sure! Here's a simple recipe for Chinese peanut pancakes:

  • Mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of baking powder in a bowl.
  • Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and brush it with some oil.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and spread it out into a thin circle.
  • Sprinkle some roasted ground peanuts and sesame seeds on top of the batter.
  • Cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is set, then fold it in half.
  • Repeat with the remaining batter and filling.

What are the calorie counts for a typical peanut pancake?

The calorie counts for a typical peanut pancake vary depending on the size and ingredients used. On average, a peanut pancake contains around 150-200 calories.

How do I find the best peanut pancake spot nearby?

You can find the best peanut pancake spot nearby by asking locals for recommendations or by checking online reviews. Some popular places to look for peanut pancakes include night markets, hawker centres, and street food stalls.