When you’re 10,000km away from home (or 9957km to be exact), some things from childhood have a special power to make you gasp with an irrational amount of joy and act with a ridiculous amount of irrationality (like paying $6 instead of $0.60 for a bite of dorayaki). Well, when you miss home as much as I do, and you want some ‘Mamee’ and ‘Dadar’, the next best option is to buy what you can, and make what you can’t.
Unlike Mamee that is pretty much an emo trip-to-my-childhood, I truly truly love nyonya kuehs. For flavouring ingredients as simple as coconut milk and palm sugar built on common starches like wheat, rice and tapioca, they have a taste and texture so irrepressibly addictive that I just can’t control myself every time I lay eyes on it (HY can vouch for that!). Best of all, it catapults me back home during those few moments of sensory indulgence for a quick and effective dose of anti-homesickness.
My two favourites are kueh dadar and ondeh ondeh, both of which I frequently make as my Singaporean ‘badge’ whenever I attend dinner parties. These ‘green coconut pancakes’ and ‘green bally thingies’ — as my European friends now refer to them– always elicits initial responses of surprise due to their unsettling green luminosity, yet it never takes much persuading to get the plate polished up. Anyway, it was kueh dadar this time — I’ll post on ondeh ondeh the next time I make it, though you’d already catch a glimpse of it in the background of my agar agar cake photo in the earlier post!
Kueh Dadar Recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia
- 120g flour
- 1 egg
- 300ml coconut milk
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp pandan (screwpine) paste or just green colouring as a lesser alternative
- 80g Gula Melaka (palm sugar)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 80 ml water
- 120g shredded coconut
- 1 tsp corn starch
- Dissolve the sugars in water in a saucepan and stir in the shredded coconut and corn starch till you get a moist golden brown coconut filling. Leave aside to cool.
- Sift flour and salt in a mixing bowl, combine a lightly beaten egg and coconut milk by lightly whisking with a hand whisk. Add the pandan paste and stir till you get a homogenous green pancake batter.
- Heat up a non-stick frying pan on medium-low heat and spoon 1-2 tbsp of batter into the centre. Swirl or use the base of the spoon to make a thin pancake of about 15cm in diameter.
- When the surface is dries out, transfer to a plate with the top surface facing down (this will be the outside of the Kueh Dadar)
- Place two teaspoons of coconut filling on the pancake and roll up like a spring roll.
- Best served immediately, but within the same day is fine!