Saturday, 23 August 2014

Chef Rain: Kueh Dadar (Kuih Dadar / Kuih Dadar Gulung / Kuih Ketayap)

Last week's rather successful attempt on the 'Pulut Hitam' dessert has led to my sudden craving for 'Kueh Dadar'.  When I was young, most of the time I see kueh dadar being sold in Malay food stalls (although I am sure it is not exclusive) and so in the back of my mind this snack is one of a Malay delicacy.  So one thought led to another and I see it as a continuation to try out my other favorites belonging to the Malay cuisine.

There is nothing wrong with my association cause up till today in actual fact, I cannot clearly say for sure if it its part of a Malay or a Peranakan/Nonya cuisine.  In my review for 'The Blue Ginger Restaurant' which serves authentic Peranakan/Nonya cuisine, I had briefly explained how the term 'Peranakan' came about and its cuisine is a result from the unique fusion of both the Chinese and Malay style of cooking.

The term Kueh/Kway/粿/Kuih/Kue (depending on the region/dialect it is spoken at but they all essentially refer to the same thing) refers to bite-sized snacks/desserts ranging from cakes to pastries, to puddings etc which is quite similar to the Western form of cakes, puff and pastries.  Just that while the westerners commonly use the baking method, kuehs are more commonly prepared by steaming.  I would say that 'Kuehs' is the South-East Asian form of cakes, puff and pastries.

So what exactly is kueh dadar?

Kueh dadar is actually a soft green crepe made of flour, egg and coconut milk and then rolled with sweetened coconut filling.  Its unique green exterior comes from the juice which is being extracted from the pandan leaf (which was separately prepared) and incorporated into the batter.  As for the filling, fresh grated coconut (only the white portion) is cooked in and caramelized with the gula melaka (palm sugar). 

With that said, pandan leaves is one of the main ingredients in this kueh.  Not only does it give its distinctive green colour by using its juice, it also gives an aromatic and light fragrance on the overall.  It is not only use in the making of the batter but also during the preparation of the gula melaka syrup.  Therefore, it is important to get fresh pandan leaves for this kueh.

Depending on recipes and for convenience sake whereby perhaps pandan leaves is not readily available, substitutes such as pandan paste, pandan essence or even artificial green colouring is used to achieve the green colour.  It is not wrong to use substitues per se but they are after all not natural ingredients.  So, if you could get hold on some fresh pandan leaves, set aside some time to prepare extracting the juice.

Sounds daunting? Nah, it is actually simple to prepare.  Lets begin. This recipe is adapted from where the author/cook seemed to have adapted from Nyonya Flavours: A Complete Guide to Penang Straits Chinese Cuisine (FYI in case if you are interested in Nyonya cuisine and would like to find out more)

(6-10 pieces? read on to know why)
 (recipe to be tried out again at a later time, will update again)

Pandan Juice:
5 pandan leaves
5 tbsp. water 

Crepe Batter: (makes about 10 crepes)
120g all purpose flour
1 egg
300ml of coconut milk
1/4 tsp of salt
5 tbsp. pandan juice 

1/2 cup grated coconut (white part)
1 pandan leaf knotted (screwpine leaves)
100g gula melaka (palm sugar)
 50ml water
1 tsp cornflour (i used tapioca starch instead)

1. Cut the pandan leaves into pieces.  Its much faster to use a scissor than a knife.  
Prepare pandan juice by blending the pandan leaves and water in a blender for about a min or 2 or you could also use a food processor.
Strain the juice using a fine sieve while pressing it down with the back of a spoon to get all the green juice.  When most juice is extracted, with clean hands give it a good squeeze.  Run the juice through the sieve again.

 It should yield about 5tbsp. Set aside.

 2. Combine salt with the coconut milk. 

3. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.  Create a well in the center and add in the egg.  Slowly pour in about half of the coconut milk while whisking.  When all the lumps are dissolved, pour in the remaining coconut milk and pandan juice and whisk till well combined.  Set aside to let it rest while preparing the filling.

 4. Prepare the gula melaka syrup by combining it with water and knotted pandan leaves in a pot over low heat.  When it comes to a boil, remove the pandan leave. 

In a pan, heat the grated coconut with pandan leaf.  I actually recycle it from the syrup but you could use a new one if you want.  Add in the syrup and stir to mix.  Add tapioca starch and and cook for a few minutes.
5. When you see that most of the liquid has evaporated (not totally still fairly moist) it is done.  Set aside for it to cool in a bowl.
6. Heat a round non-stick frying pan over low heat. Lightly grease the pan and wipe away excess oil.  Pour in about 4tbsp of batter and swirl the pan around to create a thin round batter. 

 7. The edges becomes dry and starts to shrink while the colour on the overall changes from almost pale white green to light green as it cooks. 

 When all sides becomes dry and leaves the side of the pan, it is time to remove it.  Takes a few rounds to get the hang of things at this point.
I smack the pan face down on a large chopping board.  Repeat till the batter is finished.  Just stack the crepes on a plate first.

 8. Now for the assembly, turn the crepe over.  The smooth side is the inside.
On a piece of crepe, put about 2 tsp. of coconut filling close to the bottom edge.
Roll once over, tucking the end beneath the filling.
Fold in both sides and roll to seal like springroll.
9. Repeat for other crepes and TADA~ you're done!

DONE~! and the pic spam begins
(taken with my galaxy note 1: no filter with just natural lighting) 


This recipe gave me about 10 pieces of crepe of which the first one failed, 2nd one too thick so workable ones are 8 pieces.  When cooking the crepe, i got the hang of it especially at the 3rd piece onwards, I cannot take picture as I do not enough hands. HAHAH~ Got to be quick when adding batter and swirling the pan to spread it as it cooks pretty quickly. 

Skin is a bit too soft and moist according to one of my aunt.  I find that too.  It also tasted bland which kind of balances off the sweetness from the filling.  Filling was sweet and a bit sticky and i had enough for just 6 pieces of crepe.  Either the recipe has too little coconut or I added too much for my first few pieces.

Overall, I will attempt it again and adjust the recipe soon.  In the meanwhile, I will buy the original from the shops to taste it to see how I can improve on this.  Will update again so do keep a look out.

Additional Notes:
1.  You can also extract the blended pandan juice using a muslin cloth.  Whatever works.
2.  The reason I separated the addition of coconut milk twice in preparation of the batter is because lumps tend to form.  It is much easier to spot and break it apart when there are not as much liquid present.
3.  These are the substitutes/optional additions I gathered online that people have included them for your reference should either ingredients is not readily available.

fresh coconut milk -> condensed sweet milk / canned coconut milk / packed coconut milk
pandan juice - > pandan paste / pandan essence (flavouring) / green colouring
fresh grated coconut (white portion) - > dessicated coconut / frozen grated coconut / packet grated coconut
gula melaka -> brown sugar

4.  Gula Melaka usually comes in cylinder block form.  Breaking it up into smaller pieces helps to fastened the process in melting it.

5.  Some recipes call for both sides of batter to be cooked but there are also some that cooks only on one side of the batter.  Do whatever you like but most importantly, note the cooking time and not over cooked it.  If the surface is browned, it meant its overcooked.

6. One tip I read from is that once the colour of the batter changes its an indication that it is cooked.

7.  Try to keep the crepe thin.  When the batter is cooked, I think it is much faster and easier to smack the pan face down against a large chopping board then try using a spatula coz it could tear easily.

8.  I realize if you add the batter and try using the back of the spoon/scoop to spread it out, it tears the crepe coz the batter already start to dry and cook. So I reckon, its best is to pour in batter and swirl the pan at the same time.

9.  If there is excess pandan leaves, you can use it as an aromatic agent in the kitchen or in the fridge.  I am not kidding coz my aunt uses it.  It also supposedly wards of pests say maybe cockroaches or lizards etc.  She cuts up the pandan into pieces and place it in a container then puts it at the various corners of the table top in the kitchen.  She also puts it in the fridge and cupboard areas beneath the sink.

Hope you enjoyed it! 

Source Info: Kuih - Wikipedia