Malaysia: Durian Apom Balik

Malaysian sweets are often made with copious amounts of coconut and/or palm sugar. They are plentiful with street vendors hawking delicious treats all day.

"Durian" is the fruit of a Malaysian tree that can weigh up to 10 pounds. It has a brownish-green, semi-hard shell covered with thick spikes, and is slightly larger than a football. The creamy, slightly sweet flesh has a rich custardy texture. The seeds are roasted and eaten like nuts.

The fruit has an overpowering odor, similar to stinky feet. Durian has been described as "smelling like Hell and tasting like Heaven." Durian fruit is used in a variety of Malaysian sweets, such as candy, rose biscuits and cakes.

While the fruit is generally not available in the United States, you should be able to find the puree for this recipe at most Asian stores.

Durian Apom Balik

2-1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1-1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup durian puree (optional)
8 pandan leaves
2/3 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup water
3 eggs
a pinch of salt

Wash and blend pandan leaves with the water and strain out the juice.

Sift or whisk together the rice flour, plain flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, eggs and durian puree with the thick coconut milk. Stir till sugar dissolves.

Mix dry ingredients with 1 cup of the pandan water to make a smooth batter. Gradually add this batter to the egg mixture. Mix well and strain mixture.

Heat an apom balik mould or kwali (small wok) until hot. You can also use a small skillet or crepe pan for this purpose. Reduce the heat and grease slightly with oil.

Pour thin layer of the batter into the mould. Cook over low heat, uncovered, until bubbles appear on the top. Cover with a lid and cook until the apom balik turns golden brown. Remove from mould and fold the apom balik into half.

Recipe and photos courtesy of Rose's Kitchen.

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