Palm sugar can be made from any variety of palm tree including coconut (coconut is a variety of palm but, in consumer terms, palm sugar and coconut sugar are not synonymous).
Palm sugar is sold in cakes. Depending on the palm variety from which it was made, palm sugar cake may be beige, golden brown or dark brown.
To make the filling, chop or shave the palm sugar, dump into a bowl and melt with a little water. Don’t forget the water to prevent the sugar from burning.
When the palm sugar has melted, stir in grated coconut and cook until the mixture is quite dry. You now have your filling. Let it cool while you make the crepes.
You need pandan extract to make the crepes. And that’s not just for color but for the incomparable sweet aroma that only pandan can provide.
It might be tempting to use pandan extract to cut down on the preparation but, if you want the natural flavor and color of pandan, and if you want to get the feel of making this snack the authentic way, there’s nothing like grinding pandan leaves to get the bright green aromatic water.
How pandan leaves are used in cooking
A fibrous herb used widely in Southeast Asian cooking, pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) has an aroma that is all at once sweet, floral and nutty with a hint of grassiness.
When you have your pandan extract, you mix it with coconut milk, flour and a little salt to make a thin batter. The batter is cooked in pretty much the same way as French crepes. The thin batter is poured into a lightly oiled pan, allowed to spread, cooked until set then flipped to dry the top side.
When all the batter has been cooked into crepes, the filling should have sufficiently cooled. Spoon the filling on a crepe, roll and tuck to seal.
The crepes are ready to be enjoyed at this point but if you want to add color, texture and more aroma, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Pandan crepes with coconut and palm sugar filling (kuih dadar)
For the filling
- ½ cup chopped palm sugar
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated coconut
- 1 pinch salt
For the crepes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ cup pandan extract
- 1 cup coconut milk
- palm oil - for brushing the pan
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Make the filling
- Place the chopped palm sugar in a thick-bottomed pan and add a tablespoon of water. Melt over medium-low heat until fully dissolved.
- Stir in the grated coconut and salt. Continue cooking, stirring often, for a minute or two or until quite dry.
- Cool the filling.
Make the crepes
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- Pour in the pandan extract and coconut milk to make a thin batter. Stir until smooth.
- Heat a crepe pan (or an ordinary frying pan) and brush lightly with oil.
- Pour about a quarter cup of the crepe batter and swirl the pan to make the batter spread thinly.
- Cook the crepe just until set. Flip and cook for a few seconds longer.
- Repeat until all the batter has been used.
Assemble the coconut pandan crepes
- Lay a crepe flat on a plate.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling across the center.
- Fold in the two sides then fold in the side nearest you. Roll the crepe outward to completely seal the filling.
- Repeat until all the crepes have been filled or until you run out of filling.
- Sprinkle the coconut pandan crepes with toasted sesame seeds before serving.