Low-sugar Malaysian Coconut Crepe Rolls (Kuih Ketayap) V.1

by Jackie Miao

Kuih ketayap (also known as Kuih gulung, kuih lenggang, and kuih dadar) is a traditional Malaysian crepe roll snack. It is a pandan flavored pancake roll with grated coconut filling that has been cooked with palm sugar. This snack is also commonly found in Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand.

Due to popular demand from my Facebook and Instagram, I’m sharing the recipe to the kuih ketayap rolls I made today.

A few important notes before we begin.This pancake roll recipe was mainly adapted from Andrew Kow’s Malaysian Kuehs and Snacks cookbook. I have tweaked the recipe in enough places that if you made the original it would be a different experience altogether.

I’ve also made kuih ketayap a number of times, using different recipes from different professional Malaysian chefs and cooks. I think it is important to note that there are many versions of kuih ketayap out there, and you don’t only need to make one version for the rest of your life. With that said, this version is a keeper for me.

WHAT IS PANDAN?

Pandan, or screwpine is a tropical plant with fragrant leaves. It is commonly used to flavor foods in Southeast Asia. This recipe uses fresh pandan leaves, which yields the best tasting rolls. I like fresh pandan because the fragrance is incomparable! it does not have a synthetic pandan taste or green food coloring. The green from the pandan is plant-based chlorophyll, and it is full of nutrients like beta carotene.

If you can’t get fresh pandan, technically other types of pandan extract work too. I would use natural pandan extract either in powder or liquid form, and refrain from synthetic pandan flavoring. You can skip the pandan extraction step if you’re using pre-made pandan extract. Everything in the recipe, including liquid volume remain the same.

LET’S TALK ABOUT SUGAR-LEVELS!

This is a lower GI, lower sugar recipe. The filling uses pure palm sugar with no added table sugar.

(There’s only 1 tbsp of sugar in the batter).

One of the things I tend to do with almost every recipe I come across, is to reduce the sugar and salt levels. This reductive bent is mainly for health reasons, but also for taste. Since I have a sensitive palate, I find most dessert recipes cloyingly sweet, and uncomfortably salty. In my opinion, desserts and snacks that are overly sweet take away all the subtleties of flavor and fragrance. The sweetness coats the throat, and the sugar is so dominant that you can’t taste the complex flavors of the food coming through.

I do what I need to do to dial back the sugar until it reaches a sweet spot that doesn’t drown the rest of the flavors. My general rule of thumb and preferred range of sweetness is between 1/4-1/2 the level of most recipes out there. Most of the time that looks more like 1/3 of what the parent recipe reads.

It was no different for Andrew Kow’s recipe. I really appreciated his recipe, but it does not perfectly reflect my preferences. I cut out at least half the palm sugar when it came to the filling, added a pinch of salt, and also tweaked the batter a bit. The last time I made kuih ketayap (using the late Chef Ricky Ng’s recipe), I’ve had to also cut the sugar by more than half, because it was just too sweet when I followed his recipe exactly in the past.

I’d say try my ratios first. It’s plenty sweet, and it’s more like the better coconut pancake rolls you’d find in Malaysia and Singapore. If the filling is not sweet enough, you can always add more sugar in later attempts.

BATTER

The batter is everything. What I like about Kow’s recipe is the addition of glutinous rice flour, and corn starch to the batter. I think that it adds a slight bounce to the bite, which makes the kuih ketayap more like the rolls I remember getting from the pasar malam and tamu.

There are simpler recipes out there that call for the use of all-purpose flour only. If you don’t have corn starch and glutinous rice handy, you can just use APF. Just remember to work your batter a little to activate the gluten in the flour so that it binds and have a bit more chew. You might also need to make your crepe 1mm thicker if you’re just using APF. You want the crepe to hold the filling and not fall apart.

In Kow’s recipe, he calls for 3 eggs and 1 tsp of salt. I reduced the salt to 1/2 tsp of kosher salt to keep it low sodium for health reasons. If you want the savory notes to hit stronger, you can use 1 tsp of kosher salt, but I’d advice against using 1 tsp of sea salt. That would be too salty in my opinion.

I also had to add more flour to thicken the batter, because it was too wet. I followed Kow’s liquid measurements to the T, so the wetness might have been because I used larger eggs than he did. My recipe takes egg size inconsistency into consideration. If I were to make this professionally, I would measure the beaten eggs in volume instead of number of eggs. But since I am not making it to sell but just to eat at home, we’ll just adjust the batter with water and flour in increments of 1/2 tbsp each time.

FILLING

A bit of insight sharing from my years of trial and error… There are two types of filling for kuih ketayap; a water-based and an oil-based one.

Julie Wong of the Nonya Flavours cookbook uses a water-based filling for her kuih tayap, and Andrew Kow uses oil for his. I’ve tried both water and oil-based fillings, and prefer the oil-based filling better.

This is because the grated coconut can be a little dry and gritty. The oil helps to lubricate the filling make it easier to eat. It’s a less messy experience in my opinion, though there are people who embrace the messy. Moreover, frying the grated coconut with a bit of oil really releases the coconut flavors and aromas that the water-based method does not.

For those reasons, I prefer the oil-based filling. If you want to make it healthy, you can do water-based filling. The filling might be less malleable, but if you’re not too particular about the finer details and just want an edible roll, it’s not going to be an issue. (Unless it is!) 😀

As for the grated coconut, fresh is best. Ideally, coconut that has been grated by this type of grater works best. If you can’t get it fresh, there’s always frozen ones that you can get at your nearest major Asian market (Indian and Southeast Asian markets). That’s what I use for convenience and for today’s kuih ketayap.

Now you know what a good kuih ketayap looks like, let’s get ready to make some!

 

 

Low-Sugar Malaysian Pandan Crepe Rolls (Kuih Ketayap)

A classic Malaysian teatime snack.
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Course: Snack
Cuisine: Malaysian
Keyword: kuih
Servings: 12 rolls
Author: Jackie Miao

Equipment

  • 12" nonstick pan
  • Spatula
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup
  • Silicone brush
  • 3 small bowls
  • Sieve
  • Big mixing bowl for batter
  • Bowl to keep filling
  • Wooden spoon
  • ladle
  • Whisk

Ingredients

FILLING

  • 350 g grated white coconut fresh or frozen
  • 100 g palm sugar
  • A pinch kosher salt
  • 120 ml neutral-tasting vegetable oil sunflower, vegetable or canola
  • 1/2 stick butter softened or melted

CREPE BATTER

  • 200 g plain or all-purpose flour sifted
  • 30 g corn flour sifted
  • 20 g glutinous rice flour sifted
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 360 ml water
  • 5-6 pieces pandan leaves cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt

EXTRA INGREDIENTS (AS NEEDED)

  • extra flour on the side for adjusting the viscosity of the batter
  • extra water on the side for adjusting the viscosity of the batter, and moisture content of the filling.

Instructions

PANDAN EXTRACT (skip step using pre-made extract)

  • Blend the cut pandan leaves with water (350 ml). Separate the pulp from the liquid in a sieve, and set the pandan juice aside.

FILLING

  • Heat oil in a 12" nonstick pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the palm sugar and fry it for 30 seconds.
  • Add the grated coconut and salt. Fry the contents until well incorporated, and the filling has a good coconut aroma. About 5 minutes.
  • If the filling is too dry, add a tbsp of water to keep it moist. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl to cool.
  • Wash the pan and dry it for the next step.

CREPE BATTER

  • In a big mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs with a whisk ntil all the white and yellows are fully mixed. Incorporate all the wet ingredients gradually, starting with the coconut milk. Add and mix in 4 batches.
  • Slowly add the pandan juice in the same manner, in 4 batches, whisking all the contents in a gentle manner.
  • Add the dry ingredients (plain, corn and glutinous flour, sugar, salt, baking soda) using a sieve in a dusting manner in small batches. Make sure a batch is well incorporated before adding another batch. This helps to prevent clumps in the batter. Keep mixing the batter to work some of the gluten, but don't beat air into the batter.
  • The batter should have the consistency likened to dripping honey, and not as thin as agave or maple syrup streams. Add flour or water in 1/2 tbsp increments to tweak the batter if you need to.
  • If you have clumps showing up, you may have to pass the batter through a sieve to remove them. The crepes batter can't have clumps.

MAKING THE CREPE

  • Heat the nonstick pan on medium high. When hot, using a silicone brush brush a thin later of softened or melted butter on to the pan. Scoop some crepe batter into the middle of the pan, and quickly make a swirl until the batter spreads into a thin round layer.
  • Fry the crepe on medium until lightly brown. (About 2 minutes). Flip the crepe and fry the other side for another 30 seconds. Slide the crepe into a plate, stacking them on top of each other until ready to use. Continue making crepes in the same way until all the batter is used up. Hint: Thinner crepes are best.

MAKING THE PANCAKE ROLL

  • Lay a crepe onto a large flat plate. Add some coconut filling toward the bottom part of the crepe, and roll the pancake half way up like a burrito. Fold and tuck the sides. Continue rolling until the crepe resembles a roll. Repeat same steps will all the other crepes until you finish making all the rolls.
  • Arrange the crepe rolls on a nice plate to serve. They need to refrigerated if unconsumed on the same day. Keep them individually wrapped in saran wrap in a container or ziplock bag if you are storing them in the frige. They will be good for up to 3 days. Serve the kuih ketayap with coffee or tea. Enjoy!

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