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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Bekang


What I remember about Bekang is the soft creamy mouth feel accompanied by a burst of flavors coming from santan, ginger, shallots and fenugreek that truly awakened the senses. But I hardly remembered  how Bekang looked like as it was more than 30 years ago (yes three zero) since I ate my last Bekang.

What gave me the motivation to make Bekang was the little banter I had with my cousins and K. Nor on the MFF Terengganu Facebook page. My cousin mentioned that Bekang is on the endangered kueh list, in danger of becoming extinct. The other kueh mentioned is Koleh Lemok. That got me excited as there is a good Bekang recipe in my Aunt's recipe scrapbook.

My problem was, one, I forgot how Bekang looked like and two, I did not have a Bekang mould. Back to the Facebook page, my cousin Hwee Lan mentioned that it looks like a big Akok and K. Nor's hubby's blog gave me an idea and led me to another Bekang recipe.

In absence of a proper Bekang mould, I found something that came very close. Everyone, meet my new best friend, the Paniyaram pan :


This pan is highly recommended if you want to make Bekang or Akok. I spied this pan quite a while back at Jusco and the first thing that came to my mind was Akok! I did not buy it then as I have a habit of buying kitchen gadgets and then leaving them to hibernate in the cupboard. Well, last week I decided to buy the pan at 20% discount, and it was indeed a blessing.


Bekang consists of a base which is topped with a fish sambal. The base is made from rice flour, water and eggs and it does not taste like much. It provides a neutral platform to carry the flavors of the fish sambal.


To assemble Bekang, the base is topped with the fish sambal and then drenched with a santan gravy. My Aunt's recipe (she got it from a friend) did not indicate any santan gravy, only the base and fish sambal. Based on the recipe from here I decided to make the santan gravy. When I topped the Bekang with santan gravy, I almost fainted in sheer ecstasy, as the taste of the Bekang was elevated to another level. The explosion of flavors was astounding. My God! It was extremely good. I tell you, this is the best d**n kueh ever! EVER!

Let's get to the recipe. The recipe below is reproduced from my Aunt's recipe scrapbook and comes from her friend. The santan gravy is my own concoction guided by the recipe mentioned above.

Bekang

For the base :
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1.5 cups water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 eggs (beaten)

Note : The batter is very runny and is supposed to be this way.

Method :
- Mix rice flour, water and salt.
- Gradually add boiling water. Mix well.
- Finally add in the eggs while stirring.
- Oil and heat the mould over low flame and when sufficiently hot, gently pour in batter.
- let batter cook for about 8 to 9 minutes.
- the batter should brown slightly on the sides.
- when the top is almost set, flip it over so that it can cook further, about 2 minutes.

For the Fish Sambal
- 2 fish (I used ikan selar. Can also use kembong or selayang)
- 150ml santan (I used the packet santan)
- 6 shallots, thinly sliced
- 6 thin slices of ginger, finely julienned
- 10 fenugreek seeds (Halba)
- salt and pepper to taste

Method
- grill fish at 180C for about 15 minutes.
- remove fish meat and using your fingers, break it up finely.
- pour santan into a non-stick pan over medium heat and "fry" the shallots, ginger and fenugreek.
- when the shallots have wilted, add fish meat and keep stirring until the mixture is almost dry.
- season with salt and pepper.
- when the mixture does not have visible liquid, take it off the heat and set aside to cool.









For the Santan Gravy :
- 200ml packet santan mixed with 50ml water
-  3 shallots, thinly sliced
-  3 thin slices of ginger, finely julienned
- 5 fenugreek seeds
- salt and pepper to taste

Method :
- pour santan into sauce pan over medium heat.
- add shallots, ginger and fenugreek and simmer until shallots have wilted.
- take off the heat and set aside to cool.

To assemble :
- put a teaspoon of fish sambal onto the base.
- top with santan gravy.

Note : Another method is to mix the fish sambal with the gravy before topping the base.

I would like to share the practical aspects of making Bekang based on my recent experience.

1. Oil the mould and put it over low flame. When it is sufficiently hot, pour in batter.
2. The batter is runny. Do not worry as it will firm up when cooked.
3. To facilitate pouring, transfer your batter into a measuring cup with a beak.

Batter poured into heated paniyaram pan.
3. Test the batter after about 8 to 9 minutes by checking the surface and loosening the sides (the sides should brown slightly). When the top is almost firm (it will have some liquid on top) flip it over. The inverted top would not come into contact with the bottom of the mould due to it's shape but the heat will cook it further. That should take 1 to 2 minutes. It is important that the base if fully cooked or else you will get the smell and taste of raw flour.

Top is almost done. Notice that the sides are firmed up and there is some liquid on top.
Flip the Bekang base over to allow the top to to be cooked. Notice the light browning.
4. To remove the cooked base, take the pan off the heat first. After removing, use kitchen towel to clean the pan and oil it again before putting it on the stove.

5. This is how the fish sambal looks like while being cooked. I should have wilted the shallots first before putting in the fish. That's why I mentioned this step in the recipe.


I am really glad I made Bekang and I hope that you give it a go especially those of you who hail from Terengganu. Don't let this culinary treasure disappear as it would be a great loss to our heritage.

Topped with fish sambal only. Still good.

Add on santan gravy, even better.
Topped with fish sambal mixed with santan gravy, DA BOMB!



I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Terengganu Month hosted by Lena of frozen wings.

54 comments:

  1. You must be very pleased with this Bekang ! Though this is totally something new to me, but looking at all these photos and with the fillings in it, it sure is delicious and yummy. Just great for my afternoon tea break. I really wish I am nearby your place! Have a wonderful weekend

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Mel! I was very pleased. But I wonder if people outside Terengganu would find this kueh appealing. Might taste weird to them :)

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  2. nice post dear.. delicious bekang with fish topping..

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    Replies
    1. Thanks to the Indian paniyaram pan, I could fulfil my dreams!

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  3. Interesting. Never heard of nor seen that before. Would certainly want to try.

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    Replies
    1. Arthur, this is something unheard of outside Terengganu. One of our best kept secrets :)

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  4. Drooling!!! opps...what is that wet patch on my keyboard?? looks deliciousimo ...wonder what happen if you replace sambal ikan with sambal heh bee ?

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    Replies
    1. Hey, that's an idea! I think it will taste good too, a different version of bekang. I've been wanting to make sambal heh bee for the longest time.

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  5. is tat ganu style takoyaki? looks good... bet those day, excess gravy will get diluted and cooked with tupat sotong...? btw, do you know why i keep feeding you the ideas of these 'gonna extinct' food? so you can cook for me when we meet... hahaha

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    Replies
    1. Very clever! Sure, sure, one of these days I can make and then call you to come and get. But I have to perfect it first, if not b'ng staga!

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  6. Hi Phong Hong,
    You must be really excited you have made this. This is another new Terengganu specialty right?
    It looks really delicious. I would like to try both sambal fish and coconut gravy.
    I also love your wonderful pictures.
    Thanks for sharing!
    mui..^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mui Mui! Yes, I was very excited that I made Bekang. If you have eaten nasi dagang, you will have an idea how fragrant shallots, ginger and halba are when combined with santan. If you do try making Bekang, I hope you will like the taste :)

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    2. Hi Phong Hong,
      Thanks. I have the idea roughly how it taste, if you describe it that way.
      One more thing I like to know from you. Can I use ikan tongkol instead of selar or kembong?
      I went to the fishmonger today, they don't have fresh selar or kembong only tongkol. Any difference between the fish flesh?
      Thanks again..^^

      mui..^^

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  7. Phong Hong, this Bekang is really new to me. But, by looking at the ingredients, I can imagine how delicious it is. Mmmm...yum!
    You are very good at promoting Terengganu cuisine. ..maybe can consider writing a cookbook on Terengganu specialties food.

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    Replies
    1. Li Shuan, I think Bekang might be weird for you :) But I think you might like it because it is very fragrant. Hah! Hah! Maybe when I retire, I will make it my project :)

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  8. Oh dear I would love to give it a try... Looks so inviting

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    Replies
    1. Hi Vimitha, the ingredients are like those used in Indian cooking like fenugreek, shallots and ginger. Perhaps it will suit your tastebuds :)

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  9. Hi Phong Hong, this is something new to me. I'm anxiously waiting for the MFF Terengganu round up to get the full info on Terengganu food.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kimmy, yah I think not many people outside Terengganu know this kueh :)

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  10. This month MFF look like nobody can beat with you this Terengganu Lang , hahaha ..hopefully one day you can cook all Terennganu foods for us to try. This sound like a yummy kuih..

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sonia! Heh..heh...If you go to the MFF Terengganu Facebook page, check out my cousin Dahhne Hwee Lan Chua's write up and recipes. She is more expert than me :)

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  11. yeah, the other day you were all discussing abt this bekang, all so excited! so is this bekang kuah lemak? you mean now it's difficult to find this kuih in terengganu?

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    Replies
    1. Lena, this one is with kuah lemak. I have not tried the kuah manis as yet. This kuih is difficult to find these days, unless if you know where to get it. As my cousin mentioned, this kueh will be like the dinausour soon unless we revive it!

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  12. This seems very unique to me. we do have a similar version in indian cusine making use of the same pan, but we do using white lentils. liked the way your turned out. must have tasted great

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Swasthi! It was the Indian paniyaram pan (made in India no less that gave me the opportunity to make this dish :)

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  13. I han imagine that it taste good considering the ingredients!

    Blog about life and travelling
    Blog about cooking

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ola, yes the taste was mind blowing hah! hah!

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  14. Hi
    Went through your whole blog could not resist my self and checked till the post you have started from.Pictures are very nice.I am following you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Subhashini! Thank you for taking an interest in my blog. I will visit your soon!

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  15. Ha! Good things come to those who wait .... Jusco sale, right? Can you believe I went and all I bought was one blinking handbag? Amazing, right?
    That pan looks seriously interesting. Now I gotta go back and look for it. I'm getting some crazy ideas for it but like you, it'll probably get to hibernate in my cupboard among other hibernating stuff :)
    I really haven't heard of this stuff, bekang. It sounds quite different from the usual kuihs. I'm beginning to realise how vast this country is even tho geographically it really isn't. I also like that you've used fresh fish instead of canned sardines (I'm assuming some folks do that). Very educational!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ping! Read your comment yesterday but was unable to respond because my computer went bonkers again. ***Sigh*** Well, the timing was right and that was the only thing I got during the sale. I think there are probably lots of kueh and dishes waiting to be discovered. Even for TGG, I am not familiar with some of the kuehs featured. I guess we'll be seeing your entries for MFF Penang next year, eh?

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    2. There's gonna be an MFF Penang? Cool! Penang food .... gosh! Nobody bothers to cook Penang food at home. The nearest hawker stall sells whatever you need. I only know how to eat! :)

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    3. Hah! Hah! As far as Penang food is concerned, I also only know how to eat! My favs are the asam laksa (must have heh koh!), rojak and of course the char kueh teow. Lucky I don't live on Penang or else I'll be as big as a house :)

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  16. hi Phong Hong kuih mu ni bekang nampok sedaknya boleh dok buat kasi aku makang?Mu ni bajok pandai buat kuih kuih Trengganu.Lain kali buat boleh kasi aku tumpan makang dok

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buleh, buleh! Aku buak banyok-banyok biar makang sampai tok leh tahang!

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  17. sorry Phong Hong aku ni bukan Anonymous aku ni nama Pang Pooi

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  18. never come across this lei. But can imagine how tasty it is :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jane, I think this is very alien for you :) Maybe if you taste it, you might find it pleasing.

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  19. First time I see or hear of this kueh, looks very interesting!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeannie, something new for you to try!

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  20. Wonderful post! I have learnt something new today! Yes, you are right, lots of our traditional kuehs and dishes are slowly diminishing as nowadays kids prefer to spend time in front of the computer than at the stove! You did a great job with the Terengganu food! A big applause to you, Phong Hong! Yay!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Joyce ! Appreciate the kind compliments! I am starting to realise that too, if no one makes an effort to revive these old recipes, it would be such a great loss. I am lucky that my Aunt is a cooking enthusiast and she recorded the recipes from her friends and also from my grandaunts. There are many more recipes to be explored and tested.

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  21. Pai seh pai seh lah, you must let me try this because.....I never have this b4! It looks yummy there!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jesse, if you ever come this way, perhaps there's an opportunity for you to taste this kueh :)

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    2. Eh, sorry spell your name wrongly, Jessie!

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  22. Just for the record, Phong Hong.... those residing in KT, Bikang is only available on Fridays at the Kampong Tiong morning market. But must warn you .. not every Friday. And they really sell like hotcakes!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I did not know that! I am not surprised that it sells like hot cakes. If I were there, I would borong it too!

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  23. Hi Phong Hong,
    nice kuih! seems a bit like pancakes..
    its very interesting that you chose to describe this kuih as "endangered". Do you have any other recommendations to add on that endangered list?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joyce! This kuih is endangered because you can hardly find it anymore in Terengganu or elsewhere. A very rare species indeed. There are many more traditional kuihs that are going into extinction. I have the recipes but then they are quiet tedious to prepare, maybe that's why they are going to be like the dinosaurs!

      Delete
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