Kueh dadar, or kuih ketayap depending on where you're eating it, is another fabulously green, pandan-scented nonya sweet found in places like Malaysia, China and Thailand to name a few (see my bubur cha cha post for a little bit about nonya cuisine). It's the extract of pandan leaves that gives it its distinctive green colour and fragrant scent.
What kueh dadar is, in a nutshell, is a thin pandan crêpe stuffed with a caramlised, fudgey coconut filling and rolled into a cigar shape. Sometimes when you buy them (if you can find them in Chinatown) the filling can be a bit on dry side- but not mine. Here's how I did it.
Ingredients for Crêpes:
- 1 egg
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- 6tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup regular milk (from a cow. Or a goat. Or a soya bean. Or even more coconut milk if you want a really rich batter)
- 2 tbsp water (to thin the batter out as you like)
- 1 tsp pandan paste (or vanilla and green food colouring if you can't find it)
- 1 tbsp oil
Ingredients for Filling:
- 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
- 150g gula melaka (dark palm sugar- you could substitute for dark muscavado sugar, but most supermarkets stock palm sugar and I think it makes all the difference)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 pandan leaf (again substitute for 1tsp vanilla if you can't find it)
1) Make your filling first: chop up your palm sugar (the stuff I use needs to be microwaved on low for a few minutes to soften it up a bit first), and simmer it on a low heat in a saucepan with your coconut milk, salt and pandan leaf (shred the leaf lengthways and tie it up in a loose knot to get the most of the flavour).
2) Once all the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture has simmered for about two minutes, take out the pandan leaf and add the dessicated coconut. Stir for a minute or so more until the coconut has absorbed the liquid and it becomes a sticky mass, and take it off the heat to cool completely. Do NOT be tempted to sneak a taste before it's cooled: we're dealing with molten sugar, here.
3) Whilst your filling is cooling, make the pancakes. Whisk the egg, oil and sugar together, followed by the flour. Now add your milks (both kinds) bit by bit to get a smooth batter, and whisk in the pandan paste. Now add the water a bit at a time- you may not need both tablespoons, or you may need another one. Either way, you want your batter to be a thin-ish pouring consistency, sort of like single cream.
5) After about a minute once the pan is completely heated through, pour enough batter to lightly coat the bottom of the pan and swirl it around- you're going to have to experiment with quantities yourself, depending on the size of your frying pan (even I didn't get it right the first time!) Don't be tempted to turn the heat up- just let it cook for a couple of minutes until the surface dries and the edges of the pancake start to become a bit crispy. Flip the pancake over (I used a spatula to loosten the edges and then turned them my fingers- these things are really thin and delicate) and cook it briefly on the other side for no more than a minute. Plate it up, and start again, repeating these steps until you have a stack. This recipe made six crêpes with my frying pan.
6) Once your filling is cool, you can start assembling your kueh dadar: split the filling into equal parts (in my case, six), and spoon a portion onto a crêpe in a long shape, nearer the end towards you.
7) Fold over once...
8) Fold the sides over...
9) ... And finish rolling it up.
10) Repeat with the rest of your crêpes and the filling, and you're ready to eat!
A note on 'the green stuff':
I really recommend sourcing pandan for these recipes: vanilla's fine, but it's pandan that makes it. I found both the pandan paste and leaves at a supermarket in Chinatown London (I usually go to New Loon Moon as it's marginally less crowded then the other bigger one), but you can also find the paste on the internet.