My dad always calls them Mee Jian Kuehs.
Simply put, these are Asian peanut pancakes. A mixture of roasted ground peanuts and sugar are placed between two layers of soft, fluffy, slightly chewy and thick pancakes. What makes these pancakes so different from the Western ones we’re used to is that the pancake should be browned only on one side, but cooked through. So what we will end up with is a pancake that has a nicely browned and sometimes crisped exterior, with a white fluffy and soft interior.
My dad loves them. He’s been eating them for as long as I remember, buying at least 1 mee jian kueh everytime we go to the market or hawker centres for breakfast or lunch. It wasn’t only him; my whole family adores them in fact. Well except me. I never understood the appeal of such thick pancakes and their dry nutty fillings. Dry fillings on top of a dry pancake? Total turn off.
At least that’s what I thought till I tried those made by the folks at Jollibean. Jollibean’s peanut pancakes are different in that they use a creamy peanut filling, thus making the entire snack less dry and infinitely more yums to me!
I fell in love with em at first bite. That love soon resulted in an unhealthy relationship between mee jian kuehs and I, where I craved them every second and couldn’t stop eating them! I was swallowing them whole and oh gosh the calories…after a while though, I realised that what I loved weren’t the traditional triangular mee jian kuehs, but the rolled ones. I finally figured that that was cause I loved the creamy peanut filling and prefer a higher peanut to pancake ratio. In the triangular mee jian kuehs, the ratio of pancake to peanut is usually higher, and I’d always end up having extra mouths of pancakes without fillings 😦
To cut the long story short, I begun looking for different varieties of mee jian kuehs, trying jollibeans’ crispy peanut pancakes (which btw is by far my fave), the Malays’ apam banlit, and Mr Bean’s rounded peanut pancakes. Then I thought, hey why not try making my own??
Searching for the right mee jian kueh recipe ain’t easy I can tell ya, cause there are so many spelling variations! For one, I always thought mee jian kuehs were a Chinese snack. Little did I know that the Malay’s apam balik is almost entirely the same snack, save that theirs uses a creamy peanut and sweet corn filling. Mee jian kueh, mee jiang kuih, min jian kuey, apam balik…ohmygod that was real confusing.
Since I like Jollibeans’ rendition the best, I finally decided on using a yeast-free pancake recipe, together with my own peanut filling! Which was basically some homemade nut butter drizzled with a lil honey. Muahahaha stroke of genius.
I cooked the pancake batter thinner than it was supposed to be, hoping to get that crisp texture. Sadly I wasn’t able to get that, and after reading other bloggers’ attempts, I’m guessing the crisp ones follow a different recipe. Taking it for the fluffy pancake recipe that it was supposed to be though, it wasn’t all that bad! I just felt that it wasn’t fluffy and pillowy enough. I couldn’t see nor feel that honeycomb texture in the pancakes. The filling on the other hand was perfect. Just how I like it. Creamy, thick, lightly sweetened…ahhhh pure bliss.
If you’re one who goes for fluffy pancakes, you could always start with this relatively simple recipe. However if you’re dead serious about ur pancake texture, a yeasted recipe might work better!
Mee Jiang Kueh (makes 4 triangular pancakes)
Recipe adapted from mykitch3n’s Apam Balik
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour
¼ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt (if using salted butter, omit this)
1 tbsp cooking oil
Homemade nut butter
Some honey, to taste
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg with sugar until sugar is dissolved.
2. Add in half cup of milk and vanilla essence, mix well.
3. Sift together self-raising flour with baking soda, adding into the wet mixture in batches.
4. Add in oil and remaining milk, mix until just combined.
5. Cook pancake with non-stick pan on very low heat to prevent excessive browning or burning.
6. Once the pancake is done, spread some nut butter on half of the pancake and drizzle on some honey. Fold it over while it is hot, and cool (do not have to cool completely) on rack to prevent soggy bottom.
7. Cut into half and serve warm.