Learn how to make martabak manis also known as apam balik and ban jian kuih. This martabak manis recipe requires no yeast to make and fail-proof.
What I’m missing the most about home are street food carts that are lining up the street at night. It’s unbelievable how crowded the street can be at night and people are still busy eating. Something about street food that has that unglamorous, rustic, hearty vibes that I just love so much. I can also see the person prepare the food right in front of me. My dad was big on snacks!! He loved to snack on street food and kue kue (cakes and sweet treats in Indonesian language). Ban jian kuih was definitely one our favorites. It’s usually available at night after dinner time and that’s when my dad would come and asked us what we would like for supper.
KNOWN BY MANY NAMES
These thick sweet pancakes are known as martabak manis, martabak terang bulan, or kue Bandung in Indonesia. It is called martabak Bangka in my hometown. It is certainly known by many names in other countries such as apam balik, apam Pinang, or Apong in Malaysia. Min Chiang Kueh or peanut pancakes in Singapore. In Hokkien dialect, we call this ban jian kuih / kueh.
The pancake is made with flour, eggs, sugar and filled with sweet decadent stuff like chocolates, condensed milk, margarine, cheese, ground peanuts. The pancakes are also characterized by its honeycomb textures similar to bika Ambon.
WHY MARTABAK MANIS IS SO ADDICTING
I love this martabak manis so much because they are so soft, spongy, and I just like biting into the crunchy peanuts with chocolate and savory cheese. The sweet and mild savory combination was truly amazing!!!
MARTABAK MANIS MADE WITH YEAST OR WITHOUT YEAST
In the past, I’ve made this martabak manis with a yeast. While the result also turned out good, it did take a bit extra time compared to the no-yeast version. I’ve tried several recipes without yeast in the past and did not like them until I saw the recipe from Two Kitchens and I really like this recipe. The recipe uses baking soda as a leavening agent. It doesn’t require any yeast and pretty fail-proof. So, if you ask me, I would definitely make it without yeast from now on 🙂
INGREDIENTS FOR MARTABAK MANIS
Martabak manis doesn’t require any fancy or hard-to-find ingredients. If you have eggs, all-purpose flour, baking soda, sugar, butter or margarine, you are pretty much ready to go. The filling is very flexible. You don’t have to have condensed milk, chocolate sprinkles, cheese, peanuts as filling. My kids only want chocolate and condensed milk in there. But, if you ask me, condensed milk, chocolate, and shredded cheese are a must as a basic 🙂 Basic you say? it’s no basic at all! LOL! Margarine is more often used in Indonesia compared to butter. I used butter because I don’t use margarine at home. You can use either one.
TOP TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE MARTABAK MANIS SUCCESSFULLY AT HOME
1. Rest the batter
You need to let the batter rest for at least 1 hour. I’ve let them rest up to 3 hours before too and any range from 1-3 hours and the pancake turns out great. I did notice that after rest for 3 hours the pancake has a bit more of the honeycomb texture, but at 1 hour it’s still turn out very decent. I haven’t tried longer than 3 hours though (maybe for a future experiment!)
2. Use a non-stick pan that has a lid
We need to cook and “steam” the pancake to make sure it cooks evenly. This is when the lid comes in handy. My pan doesn’t come with a lid, but I do have a lid that fits into the pan. So, use whatever that fit the pan. You do need the lid!
3. Control the heat
The pancake needs to be cooked over medium to low heat to make sure it cooks evenly and you don’t end up with burn pancakes
4. Baking soda is the last one to be added
Baking soda starts to react and release the gas as soon as it comes into contact with the batter. So if you add it at the beginning of the time when you prepare the batter, by the time you cook it, you will have a flat pancake and you won’t have any bubbles to leaven your pancake anymore.
HOW TO MAKE MARTABAK MANIS TERANG BULAN WITHOUT YEAST
STEP ONE: PREPARE BATTER
1. Mix flour, sugar, salt, water and 1 egg in a mixing bowl. The batter will be thick. Stir until combined and let it rest for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
2. After 1 hour, crack in one more egg and stir to combine
STEP TWO: COOKING
1. Preheat a 10-inch non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add 1 tsp butter and let it melt
2. Mix the baking soda with 1 Tbsp water
3. Pour this into the batter and stir to mix. Only do this when you are ready to cook the pancake. Don’t let the batter sit around for too long after the baking soda is in
4. Very gently pour the batter onto the pan and swirl to let the batter coat the side of the pan. This will form a nice crust later
5. Bubbles will start to appear on the surface of the pancake.
6. When bubbles are covering almost all of the surface, sprinkle in the sugar
7. Cover with a lid and lower heat to low and let it “steam” cook for 5 minutes
8. The side and bottom of the pancake should be nicely brown and the middle of the pancake is lightly springy when you touch it
8. Remove from the heat to a plate
STEP THREE: DRESSING
1. Spread some butter/margarine on the pancake while it’s still warm. The butter will melt
2. Drizzle with some condensed milk
3. Cut the pancake into half. Sprinkle one half with chocolate and the other half with cheese and peanuts, or whichever you are using
4. Gently fold half of the pancake to the other half to form a sandwich. Spread with more butter on top of the pancake if you like. I didn’t do this
5. Cut into serving size and serve immediately
Sometimes the martabak manis are served in wedges like this too.
My husband’s first bite and his expression after 20 something years of not having this was the reason why I enjoy experimenting with cooking (and sometimes baking) at the kitchen!
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*Recipe was originally published in 2016 and then updated on November 2018 with a no-yeast version. Recipe is adapted from Two Kitchens*
Martabak Manis / Apam Balik / Ban Jian Kuih (Tips You Need To Know)
- 120 gr all-purpose flour
- 40 gr sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 100 ml water or pandan juice (for pandan flavor)
- 2 large eggs divided
- 1 tsp solid butter
- 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp sugar for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup solid butter
- 1/4 cup roasted ground peanuts optional
- 1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles/Nutella/semi-sweet chocolate morsels or as much as you desire
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese
- condensed milk
- Mix the flour, sugar, salt, water, and 1 egg in a mixing bowl. Stir until mix. The batter will be thick at this point. Cover and let it rest for at 1 hour
- After 1 hour, crack in another egg and whisk to mix everything
- Preheat your non-stick 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tsp of butter to the pan. The butter will melt
- Mix the baking soda with water mixture and then pour into your batter. Only do this when you are ready to cook the pancake. Stir to mix until combined
- Very gently pour the batter onto the pan and then tip the pan slightly in a circular motion to let the batter coat the side of the pan all around. This will form a crispy crust later
- Bubbles will start to appear. When you see the bubbles have appeared almost covering the entire surface of the pancake, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of sugar evenly
- Cover with a lid and lower the heat to low and let the pancake cook for 5 minutes. The sides and bottom should be brown (but not burned) and the center of the pancake will spring back slightly when you touch it
Dressing and serving:
- Remove from the heat source and transfer martabak to a large plate. Quickly spread with more butter all over. Drizzle with condensed milk. Cut the pancake into half but don't separate yet
- Top with toppings of your choice such as chocolate sprinkles, cheese, peanuts, and then drizzle with more condensed milk. Gently flip half of the martabak over to the other half to form a sandwich
- You can spread with more butter on top of the pancake (I didn't do this) and cut into about 8 pieces. Serve immediately