Learn how to make traditional serabi kuah or apam berkuah in few simple steps served with delicious thick and creamy coconut sauce (saus kinca) or pengat pisang.
Another food that reminds me of my childhood is serabi. My dad often bought them for us for breakfast or as snacks. Gosh…I love dipping the serabi into the kuah (sauce) or saus kinca. When I made these for the kids and to see them enjoyed them as much as I do was just priceless. They were like “So you got to eat all these delicious food as a kid?” For a moment there, I had this proud look on my face and answered: “Yes I did!”.
WHAT IS SERABI KUAH?
Serabi is an adaptation of the Indian version of appam by the Indonesian. In Malaysia and Singapore, they are called apam. Don’t be mistaken with apam balik (martabak manis), which is also a type of porous pancakes but much thicker. These Indian-style pancakes are made with a batter made with rice and yeast and then fermented for few hours. The serabi are then cooked and large pores will form on the surface of serabi. Serabi or apam is usually served with a sweet sauce known as saus kinca that is made with coconut milk and palm sugar (gula merah or gula Melaka). Sometimes ripen yellow jackfruit pieces are added to the sauce. The sauce (without jackfruit) tastes so much like kaya jam, but without the eggs. I call it a vegan version of kaya (you gotta try it to believe it!). It tastes amazing!
In Malaysia, apam berkuah is typically served with the same sauce but with banana pieces added and the locals call it pengat pisang.
WHY YOU’LL LIKE THIS RECIPE
1. YOU DON’T NEED SERABI PAN (CETAKAN)
Serabi is traditionally cooked in a special pan almost similar to the aebleskiver pan. Serabi pan is flat on the bottom, where aebleskiver pan is round at the bottom. You fill up the batter in the well. Serabi can be cooked on a regular pan, which was what I did
2. NATURALLY GLUTEN FREE
Serabi or apam is made with mainly rice flour and very small portions of other gluten-free flours like glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour
3. EASY AND FOOLPROOF
The recipe is pretty straightforward and the result is consistent
STEP BY STEP HOW TO MAKE SERABI KUAH FROM SCRATCH
PREPARE THE SAUCE
1. Whisk coconut milk and flour to combine
2. Combine palm sugar, water, and salt in the saucepan
3. Combine the coconut milk and the palm sugar mixture. Stir to mix everything and make sure there are no lumps
4. Cook it over low heat until the sugar is melted and turning the sauce into golden brown
5. The sauce will thicken (the sauce can coat the spatula). Add jackfruit pieces or banana pieces if you want at this point. The kuah will thicken further when it cools down
PREPARE SERABI STARTER
Mix the rice flour with water in a saucepan and cook into a smooth paste
Leave aside for 15 minutes to let it cool down
PREPARE SERABI BATTER
1. Place instant yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Leave for 10 minutes and it will be foamy
2. Mix all the three flour together in a separate bowl and then add the coconut milk and stir
3. Now you have all three: The starter, the yeast, and the flour mixture
4. Once the serabi starter has been cooled down for 15 minutes, add it and the yeast to the flour mixture and stir to mix everything
5. Cover and rest the batter at a warm place for 2 hours. This is how it looks like after 2 hours. The batter actually doubled in size and lots of bubbles
COOKING THE SERABI
Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add about 1 tsp of cooking oil. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of batter and use the back of the spoon to smear it on a circular motion on the pan to form a circle. Try to smear as thin as possible.Bubbles will start to appear
Once the bubbles have appeared all over the surface, cover with a lid to let the serabi cooked through for about 1 minute
If you want to make a folded version of serabi, just spread the batter bigger and then fold it over after the pancakes are cooked through.
HOW TO SERVE SERABI KUAH
In India, appam is served with savory dishes like curries. In Indonesia and Malaysia, Serabi or apam is served with the kuah on the side and it’s considered a sweet treat.
Or you can serve them with some kuah drizzle on them. My sauce is thicker
COOK’S TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. USE COCONUT SUGAR
It make a HUGE difference. Coconut sugar is so aromatic and makes the sauce taste SOOO good! I can’t tell you how excited I am to see coconut sugar is getting more and more easier to get. I got mine from places like Target, Aldi, Trader’s Joe, Whole Food Market. Used to be I have to go to Asian store to get some.
2. WAIT FOR SERABI STARTER TO COOL DOWN FOR 15 MINUTES
If you add the starter to the yeast when it’s just got done cooking, you will kill the yeast because the temperature is too hot. The batter depends on the yeast to leaven
3. PROOF THE BATTER FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS IN A WARM PLACE
I’ve proofed them for 45 minutes to 1 hour before and the result wasn’t as good. I haven’t gone beyond 2 hours yet, maybe I’ll try one day and see if it makes any difference
4. SPREAD THE BATTER THIN ON THE PAN
If you spread the batter too thick, the bubbles won’t appear on the surface of the pancakes as much
This is an example when I smear too much batter and not as much bubbles appeared
Now you can enjoy the labor of your work 🙂
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER SERABI
Serabi and the kuah can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Simply reheat the serabi by steaming on high heat for 2-3 minutes or you can use a microwave to heat up for like 30 seconds to 1 minute. The kuah can be reheated on the stove over medium heat until just heated through. Don’t boil it on high heat or the coconut milk will separate
So, what do you think of serabi kuah ? It may seems like a lot of work, but trust me, it’s not. The hardest part is to wait for 2 hours for the batter to leaven!
For baking/ kueh making: I highly encourage to weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.GRAMS TO CUPS CONVERSION (UNSIFTED)
- 60 gr rice flour
- 400 ml water
To cook serabi:
Making the sauce:
- Place all ingredients for the sauce in the pan. Stir to mix everything and make sure there are no lumps. Cook it over low heat until the sugar is melted and turning the sauce into golden brown. Don't let the coconut milk to boil over. Add jackfruit pieces or banana pieces if you choose to. Remove from the heat and let it cool down. It will thicken further once cool down
Make the serabi starter:
- Mix the rice flour with water in a saucepan and cook into a smooth paste. Leave aside for 15 minutes to let it cool down
Make serabi batter:
- Place instant yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Leave for 10 minutes and it will be foamy
- Mix all the three flour together in a separate bowl and then add the coconut milk and stir. Add the yeast mixture here and stir to mix
- Once the serabi starter has been cooled down for 15 minutes, add it to the flour mixture and stir to mix everything
- Cover and rest the batter in a warm place (I use my oven's bread proof function) for 2 hours. The batter will rise and you'll see lots of bubbles
- Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add about 1 tsp of cooking oil. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of batter and use the back of the spoon to smear it on a circular motion on the pan to form a circle. Try to smear as thin as possible. If you smear too thick, the air holes may not appear as nicely. The first few serabi may be a practice for you, so don't get discouraged if you don't get then right the first few pancakes
- If you want to make the folded apam, simply smear the batter in bigger diameter
- Once bubbles or air holes started to appear on the surface, cover the pan with a lid and let them cook for another minute. Uncover the lid and transfer to a plate. Continue with the next few serabi. Add a bit of oil as needed. Continue until you runs out of the batter
- Serve the serabi with the kuah on the side
- Serabi and the kuah can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Simply reheat the serabi by steaming on high heat for 2-3 minutes or in the microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The kuah can be reheated on the stove over medium heat until just heated through. Don't boil it on high heat or the coconut milk will separate
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