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5 things to know about Malaysian cake Apam Beras

In the Malay language, “apam” generally refers to any dessert with a fluffy texture. The batter can be made from either wheat or rice flour and then baked or steamed.

So there are plenty types of apam out there such as apam balik, apam gula apong and apam gula melaka.

However, one of the popular kinds is none other than apam beras which is made from rice.

Here are five things you need to know about Malaysian cake apam beras:
1.It is known by many names

Besides apam beras, it is also known as apam nasi. Sometimes people might also refer it as apam gebu (fluffy).

In Indonesia, it is simply called as kue apam or kue apem. Their version of apam beras is made of rice flour, coconut milk, yeast and palm sugar, served with grated coconut.

2.The basic ingredients are?

Speaking of ingredients, the basic things you need to make your apam beras at home are rice flour, yeast, water, sugar and some colouring (optional).

However, some people prefer to put in equal ratio of wheat flour and rice flour for the batter. This will make the cake denser than the ones using solely rice flour.

Once you mix everything together, another important step is to let it set for at least for three hours.

Then you can pour the batter into a small mould before steaming the apam beras for at least 15 minutes.

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3.You can use leftover rice to make it

If you wandering how to make a dessert out of your leftover rice, apam beras is your answer.

The ingredients are pretty basic; two cups of leftover rice, two and half cups of water, one cup of sugar, two cups of wheat flour, two cups of rice flour and one packet of yeast.

The key step is to blend your rice with water in a blender before putting in the rest of the ingredients.

4.One trick to make apam beras fluffy is by putting in ENO.

With the beauty of internet, many tend to share tips and tricks, especially when cooking traditional recipes such as apam beras.

One of the tricks shared online is that in order to make your apam beras fluffier than usual, you should add in one packet of ENO. It is an over-the-counter antacid brand containing sodium bicarbonate and citric acid.

There are many types of apam in the world, which apam is your favourite?
5.There are other types of steamed rice cakes from other countries as well

Apam beras is essentially a steamed rice cake. Here in Asia, making a dessert out of rice is a common technique.

Besides Indonesia and Malaysia, there are other types of steamed rice cakes in other countries as well.

In Chinese communities, there are two types of steamed rice cakes, namely Huat Kueh (Fa Gao) and Bai Tang Gao.

Huat Kueh recipe which uses rice flour.

Some Huat Kueh do not use rice or rice flour at all, only the wheat flour just like apam.

And just like apam, Huat Kueh comes in different types of flavours such as palm sugar, pandan and pumpkin.

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Meanwhile for Bai Tang Gao, it traditionally uses uncooked rice, soaked overnight before blending it. Other ingredients are water, granulated sugar, water, salt and instant yeast.

Another similar cake to Bai Tang Gao is the Vietnamese Banh Bo. The ingredients for Banh Bo are exactly the same with Chinese Bai Tang Gao except that the Vietnamese rice cake sometimes uses coconut milk.

Do you have your own family recipe to make apam beras or apam nasi? Share with us in the comment box.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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