Malaysian Pancakes: Apam Balik Recipe / Murtabak Manis Recipe

This super easy apam balik recipe is perfect for either breakfast or a hearty sweet snack.

Apam balik, also known as murtabak manis, are thick, spongy pancakes popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore, and are filled with a sweet filling. The most popular traditional fillings are creamed corn and peanuts, and grated cheese and chocolate. In this apam balik recipe I'm making the former.

The name 'apam balik' comes from a combination of the Malay words 'apam', a type of South Indian pancake (more often styled 'appam' in this case), and 'balik', 'to come back' (so the full name 'apam balik' sort of means 'turnover pancake').

As for murtabak manis, which is what this dessert is more often called in Indonesia (and Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia are mutually intelligible languages), murtabak is another name for this kind of folded over pancake, while 'manis' means 'sweet'.

If you're not used to creamed corn in a sweet dish, feel free to use something like Nutella or honey instead – but I totally recommend trying corn. The very slight saltiness along with the natural sweetness works perfectly with the peanuts, sugar and butter.

The mark of a good apam balik is a thick, fluffy middle and thin, crispy edges. Traditional apam balik pancakes are made with yeast as the raising agent, and more modern ones use baking soda / bicarbonate of soda. I use a combination of self-raising flour and baking powder instead of soda so it doesn't have a metallic/soapy taste from soda, and you don't have to wait for the yeast to raise the batter.

You can also watch me make this on my YouTube channel, Tashcakes:

Ready? Let's go.

(Makes two pancakes, depending on the size of your pan).

Ingredients for Pancakes:

125g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
125ml milk
A little vegetable oil (for oiling the pan)

Ingredients for Filling:

2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
4 tbsp creamed corn
Four small handfuls of roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped


1. Stir the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt together in a bowl.

2. Create a little dip in the centre of your flour mixture and crack the eggs in the middle. Gradually mix in along with the milk, adding it bit by bit and stirring from the inside out to avoid lumps, until you have a smooth runny batter.

3. Lightly brush a small to medium-sized frying pan with vegetable oil, and heat on a medium heat.

4. Pour in half of your batter, and give the pan a swirl to create your raised crispy sides of the pancake. Cover with a lid and cook for 7–8 minutes, or until the middle is dry and has lots of holes in it from the popped bubbles.

5. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of butter, sprinkle over 1 tbsp of sugar, and spread on 2 tbsp of creamed corn. Finally sprinkle over two handfuls of chopped peanuts, fold the pancake over in half, and turn out onto a chopping board to slice and serve.

6. Repeat with the rest of the pancake batter and filling ingredients.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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