I have been craving for Kai Zai Paeng (鸡仔饼), otherwise known as Kampar Chicken Biscuits, for a while. These famous biscuits originate from Kampar, a town in the state of Perak in Malaysia, and boast a distinctive and aromatic flavour that can only belong to Kai Zai Paeng. Strange as it sounds, it is the intense flavour imparted by the salty and pungent fermented red beancurd (aka Nam Yee 南乳) that reels people in. Pungent = delicious? Ironic, I know, but it’s true! Nam Yee is often used in Chinese cooking, and the pungent smell of the fermented beancurd transforms into the most addictive aroma after cooking. It is also eaten as it is, as a wonderfully savoury condiment to plain Chinese-style porridge.
Since I had Nam Yee, and plenty of white sesame seeds in my pantry, I thought I’d whip up some Kai Zai Paeng. Even though these biscuits are called Kampar Chicken Biscuits, there isn’t any chicken in it, but the recipe I found calls for a touch of chicken stock to give additional flavour and new meaning to the name of this delectable snack.
The verdict? These biscuits turned out perfect. They taste just like the store-bought ones, and are very fragrant with a distinctive savouriness and aroma coming from the sesame seeds. They were thin, very crispy and too addictive! M and I keep reaching into the jar for more!
You would be happy to know that these are very easy to make. The recipe is laborious, in that you need to roll out the dough very, very thinly to get the perfect texture (my arms are still aching from the rolling and it’s been 2 days since I made these), but putting the dough together is ridiculously easy. I have tweaked the recipe as I don’t have all the ingredients, and replaced some (namely the candied winter melon) with similar flavours from things that can be commonly found in the average Asian pantry (kecap manis and more honey).
Here is the recipe.
Kampar Chicken Biscuits aka Kai Zai Paeng
(adapted from Little Corner of Mine)
295g self-raising flour
120g icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped very finely
80g white sesame seeds
1 medium egg
2 tablespoons honey
2 pieces Nam Yee, mashed to paste
1 tablespoon kecap manis (Indonesian thick and sweet soy sauce)
100ml sunflower oil
1. Mix all dry ingredients in Portion A. Mix all wet ingredients in Portion B.
2. Add Portion B to Portion A, and mix till the dough is combined. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
3. Roll out dough to 2mm thick between two pieces of baking parchment. Use a cookie cutter to punch out the shapes you want. I used 48mm diameter round cutters and made 131 biscuits from the dough. Place pieces of dough on baking tray that has been lined with baking parchment, ensuring a space of at least 1.5cm between the biscuits to allow for expansion (this is also the reason why you have to roll the dough thinly because they expand a little).
4. Bake in oven that has been preheated at 175 degrees Celsius, for about 6 minutes. The timing will differ with different ovens. As the biscuits contain honey and are pretty thin, they can burn very easily, so keep a watchful eye!
5. Cool biscuits on cooling rack, this will make them thin and crispy. Store in airtight container when completely cooled, and exercise some restrain when eating them, will ya?
Hope you enjoy making these biscuits and let me know if the recipe works out for you.