I’d like to start off by saying that “Coconut Filled Crepes” doesn’t do this recipe justice as an accurate description of exactly what this dish is. But writing out “Pandan-Infused Coconut Milk Crepes filled with Palm Sugar Grated Coconut” just won’t fit ! This flavor bomb of a dessert combines 3 typical dessert ingredients seen across Singapore and the region – pandan leaves, coconut milk and gula Melaka (aka coconut palm sugar). Together these 3 ingredients provide the basis of many traditional desserts from back home. It’s one of the simple “kueh” recipes and I would definitely urge you to give this a try. These days, finding ingredients like pandan leaves and coconut palm sugar have become pretty easy especially online, although my local Asian grocery store carries frozen pandan leaves which is what I use for this recipe.
What is a kueh?
Kueh is a term used back home to describe small or bite-sized items. They can be savory or sweet but most of the time when referred to alone as just “kueh”, it refers to sweet bitesized desserts. Kueh can also be spelled in many different ways depending on where in the region you’re from. Kueh making tends to be an elaborate affair depending on the recipe of course, but this particular kueh is one of the easier ones to make, and thus I make it quite often when I miss those flavors of home.
What is coconut palm sugar?
A natural sweetener, coconut palm sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut palm tree. Traditionally in many Singaporean desserts, and in this dish, the recipe calls for gula Melaka which is also known as coconut palm sugar. Palm sugar is typically sold in the form of round cakes or discs which can be shaved with a knife and used in your dishes. In fact on occasion, I will use it in my coffee or make a quick syrup by dissolving the palm sugar and water and pouring it on pancakes and French toast. If you’re unable to find the discs of palm sugar, you can usually find granulated coconut palm sugar at your local health food stores. You can definitely use brown sugar in this dish, but keep in mind that the dark caramel like flavors of palm sugar will be missing from your filling. It still tastes great with other sugar alternatives, so feel free to use what you have on hand.
What is pandan?
Pandan is a herbaceous plant that has been cultivated for home cooks in both South and Southeast Asia for centuries and imparts flavors of vanilla, coconut, and rose. This grassy plant, with its long blade-like leaves, is no longer found in abundance in the wild but is easily grown at home with just a little bit of care. Pandan is used in both savory and sweet dishes in Singapore and across the region. The use of pandan in savory dishes like the iconic Chicken Rice provides a subtle but important herbaceous note in the background, yet the aroma of pandan truly shines through when used in Singapore’s most popular traditional desserts like this Kueh Dadar.
How do I get perfectly round crepes?
I don’t claim to have amazing crepe-making skills but I use an 8in round non-stick pan which can accommodate the 1/4 cup batter perfectly. When you add the batter to the pan, quickly swirl the pan to even out the batter and because the 8in pan is rather small, the batter reaches the round edges quickly and thus form perfectly round crepes!