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Savoury Tray Cake {Guestpost}

Savoury Tray Cake? (That is what you get when you attempt a direct translation of “Kuih Talam Berlauk“.)

In Malay, kuih is what we generically call savoury or sweet morsels eaten as snacks or desserts. Google images for kuih and you will be blown away by the gobsmacking vibrant appetizing varieties – never again nay-say the versatility of rice or glutinous rice! Oven baking is not a usual method of making traditional kuih, but I am happy to vouch that this recipe is absolutely do-able in your home oven.

Talam is a deep platter or tray, usually made from aluminium. The ones used in savoury recipes are usually square or rectangular, but there is no hard and fast rule. You could use a rectangular/square bake tin, or a Pyrex dish; it’s all good.

Berlauk is the term we use for savoury dishes.

So there you have it, Savoury Tray Cake explained……but be forwarned this is not a cake in the traditional fluffy crumb-vanilla-y sense. Most definitely not!

I am totally stoked because this is a guest post by my childhood friend Taheera Rosheena; the kuih talam berlauk recipe (a lite version, so to speak) and photos are hers.

Come on, let’s make some traditional Malay kuih!

As she wrote it:

“The BakeSlave hollered: you must write and blog about this! (She actually calls me Nat, really; I do not insist on being addressed as BakeSlave, contrary to popular belief). And even as I began to decline, the answer changed easily to a more positive note. We have known each other since before puberty, zits and all, till marriage and helicopter parenting came about as a norm. But since we shared the joy of baking for our loved ones (more because we liked experimenting recipes, not so much of how it tasted), it gave us a kick to share kitchen tales of what burnt, and didn’t, in our own kitchens on a weekly basis.

This year was the beginning of her sweet indulgence, and I got inspired. Though I like chocolates and sweets, I am all for trying out great savoury recipes that won’t hurt the pocket (at least it wouldn’t get a snub from the curry loving husband; well, you get the idea!).

This year I began experimenting with Kuih Talam Telur (Egg tray cake)…… more than 10 times; just to get the right texture. Some had too much coconut milk and too rich; some turned out too hard. (I must tell you that Taheera is very good at the eyeballing method of cooking, i.e. what we call campak-campak, or literally translated as thrown in willy nilly.)

Not bad for a “campak campak” experiment

Until yesterday, close to a year, I googled again and found a lead and got just the right measurements but modified the recipe a bit more. So, I went on a baking spree. From the Kuih Talam Telur, I decided to do a rice flour version (Kuih Talam Tepung Beras) and finally, after much too sweet offerings for too long, I had my savoury buds working. Hence, the Kuih Talam Berlauk.

For the topping, you will need:

200 g minced beef or chicken
Half a cup of diced red onions
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, diced
One tablespoon of good curry powder to marinate the mince
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced red chillies and coriander (aka cilantro) for garnishing

For the tray cake, you will need:

1 cup of plain flour
Half a cup of rice flour
1 cup of milk (The original recipe calls for coconut milk)
2 cups of water
Salt to taste

Make it:

  1. First make the tray cake. Mix all of the ingredients well and drizzle a bit of oil. (Another option is to add an egg for a more sturdy base but either way is still fine, like I said mine is a healthier version but you still get the ooomph)
  2. Pour the cake base into the baking tin and bake for 5 minutes first, at 200° C. 
  3. While the tray cake is baking, sauté the onions until translucent, then add in the minced meat. When the meat is well cooked (aim for crispy), season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Drain the meat from the oil and set aside.
  5. Take the tray cake out and put half of the cooked meat on top; not too much as you want it to float onto the top of the cake. And some of the cut red chilies. It will sink a bit, but it’s expected.
  6. Return the tray cake to the oven and continue to bake for another 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, and let it cool down. Then when warmish, add the remainder cooked meat, chilies and chopped coriander. For more zing, add fried shallots.
  8. Serve with a mild chili sauce. If you’re preparing for kids, like I do, I try to lessen the chili portion.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it 🙂 XOXO BakeSlave

2 comments on “Savoury Tray Cake {Guestpost}

  1. Sharina
    November 7, 2012

    WOW.. savoury kuih talam! usually see this with yam as the base.. interesting! what size pan do you use? blh try ni! 😀

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This entry was posted on November 7, 2012 by in Bake, Malaysian Kuih and tagged , , , .
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