Friday, February 24, 2012

Lacy Coconut Milk Pancakes {There's a hole in my bucket}

Name that song!

We travel to Penang for dinner and tonight oldest son and I have been trying our hands at Roti Jala {Lacy Coconut Milk Pancakes} and there was supposed to be some handiwork involved hence the hole in the bucket...

Again we are baking a recipe from Flatbreads & Flavors and match it with another one (or two…) from the book, providing a full meal for the family.

See, to make the pancakes lacy, the thin pancake batter is poured in a slow swirling motion onto the hot pan. Using a roti jala pourer. Right. A Roti Jala Pourer can be made by punching six holes in the bottom of a tin can; pour the batter in and swirl away! Believe me, I was all set to use the coconut cream can to punch holes in and then Elizabeth came to the rescue by using a squeeze bottle!
HAH! Justified. Running for the squeeze bottle!

To accompany the pancakes we made Gulai Ayam {Coconut Milk Chicken Curry} a mild curry where you roast fresh ground spices, combine them with a peppers/shallot/ginger/garlic/nuts paste and then slowly simmer with coconut milk. For me this was a tad too bland (I forgot to add the salt and maybe I added too much coconut milk) but the flavours were promising. Also the smell of the roasted paste and spices is just heavenly.
Then I decided we needed something crispy as well and quickly put together the Four Thread Salad (page 88). Another chapter in the book and a different continent altogether but this salad was the jackpot of our dinner! A lovely combination of vegetables (very adaptable) and the dressing is salty with a kick.

I think for this occasion I’m allowed to post a recipe from the book, slightly adapted to suit my pantry.

Four Thread Salad
(Flatbreads & Flavors, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid)
2 oz Mung bean threads (or cellophane noodles/glass noodles)
(prepare according to package directions)
1/2 pound carrots, scraped and julienned
1 tsp salt** (didn’t use)1/2 tsp sugar (didn’t use sugar)
1  English cucumber (peeled, deseeded, julienned)
2 to 3 scallions (julienned both green and white)
* added a green bell pepper also julienned
* added a bunch of crunchy deep fried mung bean threads on top

Dressing1 large clove garlic finely minced
1/4 tsp salt  (I really don’t think you need this with the soy sauce already being salty!)
1/4 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1/2 tsp roasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp dried chile pepper flakes

Medium sized bowl, colander, small bowl

**Note re the salt in this recipe:  my son put this together and I think he did follow the recipe in the book (he is out now so I can’t ask him) but we all thought this was a tad salty. So next time I will leave out all added salt and taste first before adding.

Put sliced carrots in the medium bowl.

Use half of the tsp salt to sprinkle the sliced cucumber and toss. Let stand for 15 minutes, rinse briefly under cold running water and squeeze to drain. (Eh Oops? I didn’t do this at all! I just peeled, deseeded and sliced the cucumber. Yes, it was quite wet, so do as I say and not as I did!)

Add to the carrots in the bowl. Stir in the drained (and if you like cut to 2 inch lengths) mung beans and the sliced scallions and stir to combine. At this point I added the sliced green bell pepper as well.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in the small bowl. Pour over the salad and toss gently to coat. Serve at room temperature. The authors state that this salad taste best serves an hour or two after is has been dressed, also you can prepare ahead and refrigerate to serve later. Make sure you let it get to room temp again.

Just for fun and extra crispness I deep fried a bunch of noodles and arranged them on top. My kids love that.  They swell up and get all crispy in funny crinkly shapes (eeh… the noodles, not the kids!!!)
You know what?? I would love to try this salad sans dressing in rice paper wrapping and use the dressing as a dip. Or use lettuce leaf, roll up and dip. Oh boy I think I’m on to something. Maybe add slivers roast beef to it? Shrimp?

Wooha! I forgot I made my sweet and sour cucumber as an extra side dish! Easy peasy and so good.
Use another peeled deseeded cucumber sliced in thin half moons. Make a sugar syrup using 3 tbs water in which you dissolve 2 tbs sugar and reduce to a syrup. From the heat add 2 tbs (a splash ;-) white wine vinegar, pour over the cucumber and let cool.


  1. This all sounds so good, a meal fit for a party. Delicious!

  2. It looks and sounds fabulous. And yay for squeeze bottles! I do wish I could take credit for thinking of using it. Thank Goodness for the internet and previous more experienced roti jala makers!

    I can't believe your coconut curry was bland. Ours was anything but. Did you follow the recipe?! You should have tried my husband's method for measuring the spices....

    You ARE on to something! The lettuce wrapping and dip sound like a great idea for the salad.

    (Rats! I know it's wrong but I so wanted to hear that it was your kids who got all crispy in funny crinkly shapes because they loved the dinner so much.)

    1. I did follow the recipe..loosely! I used ground spices -conservatively- instead of seeds, simply because I ran out of time to buy other. Kids and husband didn't mind, they love a mellow curry.

  3. Wheee I'm with Elizabeth I was thinking the kids were in crinkly shapes from eating this dinner!
    We thought this chicken was just ok. I still am going to try these pancakes one more time. I really love yours!!

    1. Haha I think the kids get themselves all crinkly and funny without my help...
      I agree with you on the chicken, however we loved the fragrant smell of the paste/spices roasting so it's promising to tweak.

  4. Wonderful! I love the shapes of your lacy crepes. And that you made the salad to go with. Great family meal!

  5. I've been wanting to make roti jala for a while but could never figure out what to use. Squeeze bottle - great idea! Thanks for that!

  6. 3 Studies SHOW Why Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

    This means that you actually burn fat by eating Coconut Fats (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from large medicinal journals are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world around!


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