Friday, 26 August 2011

Ad: My Lempeng Adventure

So last week, I was having this psycho craving for lempeng. Lempeng is basically the Malaysian version of pancakes. It can be eaten sweet or savoury. The most common accompaniment to the lempeng is honey, sugar, curry and sambal (dried chili sauce). I satisfy all my lempeng cravings at Restoran D'Cengkih in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI). I'm telling you, the lempeng there is sooo soft and is salted perfectly. If you're lucky and got it fresh from the pan, it even has that added crisp to it - a bite of heaven I tell you. Plus, the sambal at D'Cengkih is definitely one of the best I've had! Couple the two and you just can't help but ask for more!

Ok so yeah, last week I was craving for those awesome lempengs but how on earth was I supposed to satisfy my cravings then? For those of you who do not know, we are almost at the end of the fasting month, Ramadhan. Thus, last week we were all fasting. Since lempeng is typically served for breakfast, there was no way that D'Cengkih would be making them this month. I was extremely upset and I started wondering if any other restaurants served lempeng. Of course I couldn't think of any restaurants. I was about to give up and try to ignore my cravings when I remembered my dad saying "It's so easy to make" every time I sulked when D'Cengkih ran out of lempengs.

That was when I decided to go on Youtube and see if there were any lempeng tutorials available. To my luck, there were a few, but not many. I had to tweak the recipes a little because they were a little different from what I wanted, but don't worry, this was an easy peasy experiment! So all you have to do to get the recipe is to go to and type "lempeng" or "Malaysian lempeng" in the search box.

First, let's go over the things you need.
i. 2 cups of wheat flour
ii. 2 eggs
iii. a pinch of salt
iv. 2 cups of water

The measurements are just a rough guide. Basically you just have to mix all the ingredients together and whisk until they are well combined. Here's how I did it:

Step 1: Put the flour in a mixing bowl (or any bowl big enough) and then add the salt. Then, stir for about a minute or until you think the salt has been spread evenly. I added the salt first because I wasn't sure how thick the batter would be after adding in the water and eggs; if it was too thick and sticky then it may be harder to mix the salt evenly.

Step 2: Add in the water to the mixture a little bit at a time while stirring. This makes it easier to stir and helps the mixture combine better.

Step 3: Add in one egg and mix well. After this step, the mixture will thicken slightly. If the batter is still rather watery, then add in another egg. At this stage it is up to you to decide if any more flour needs to be added to the batter. Basically you want your mixture to be thick, but not too thick. Kind of like a well blended juice, but slightly diluted. LOL sorry if this doesn't make sense, but there really isn't any other way to explain it and if it doesn't turn out right, well try it again another time. You just have to use your judgement this time!

After mixing all the ingredients, the batter should look something like this:
Ok so now you're ready to fry it! It's better to use a non-stick wok or pan, but if you don't have one, just added more oil. Ok so pour in about a table spoon or so of cooking oil into the wok. Use a spatula to spread the oil over the wok so that it covers a larger area. By the way, put the stove on medium heat. Now take a spoon or ladle and pour some of the better onto the wok. It will look something like this:
Now you have to act quickly. Use the spatula to spread the batter out. When you pour the batter into the wok, most of batter will form a pool in the middle. Because we want the lempeng to be rather thin and light, we have to spread the batter out and make it cover a wider area of the wok. Once it has cooked and is no longer runny, either add more batter to the wok and repeat the process (if you think it isn't big enough) or flip it on the other side. But remember, you must not move the batter at all while it is cooking or it will affect the texture of the lempeng and it might tear.
Once it is cooked, it will look something like this:

Now flipping the lempeng is a little tricky, especially because it's so slippery lol. But don't panic, just try it again and again, very gently, until you manage to do it. It's ok if it does not flip over completely, just make sure you correct it so that the lempeng doesn't fold or overlap. Basically you wait for the other side to cook as well, and flip it over a few more times and you're done when the lempeng turns to a slight golden brown.

Once it's done, fold the lempeng into half and remove it from the wok, onto a plate. The reason for folding it in half BEFORE shifting it to a plate is so that it doesn't tear. It should look like this when it's done:
As you can see, there are some visible tears on my lempeng. That happened when I moved the lempeng from the wok to the plate without folding it in half first. The lempeng is very thin so it tears easily. So remember, don't make the same mistake that I did! Fold your lempeng first! So you keep repeating the steps until you finish all your batter. I folded my lempeng to a quarter of its original size. I did this because that's how D'Cengkih serves them and also because I think it looks more presentable that way. In the end this was how my end result looked like:

I was really happy with how they looked but I had to wait til Maghrib (the time for the sunset prayer) when it's time to break fast to try it. When finally it was time to break fast, I was soo excited! I had it with sardines but I really wished I had it with either sambal or curry. But oh well, it was nice but I didn't put in enough salt. I could never tell how much 'a pinch of salt' is anyway. I prefer it to be slightly thinner too, but I have to say that it was a good attempt for a first timer! So what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

Have a great lempeng adventure! ;)

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