Thursday, July 02, 2009

Chinese Pinwheel

It is difficult to find a recipe if we don't even know what it is called. When i made the 'Cow's Ear Biscuit', my vietneamese friend, Lan dropped by and i offered her some and she told me that it is called 'Banh Tai'. So, i googled and found some recipes and have it translated. By looking at the translation, it is still not quite like the ones we have in Malaysia. So, i just combined the recipes and came up with this which is close enough.


1 piece nam yee (red fermented bean curd)
1/4 tsp pepper
3 small shallots
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 egg yolks
5 tbsp condensed milk
1 tbsp oil
4 ozs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp 5 spice powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black soya sauce
2 egg whites
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
4 ozs all-purpose flour

Chop shallots, garlic, sesame seeds in the food processor or chopper until fine, then add in nam yee, pepper, 5 spice powder and salt, pulse to combine.
Add in egg yolks, condensed milk, oil and oil. Continue to pulse. Then add in flour and pulse until it comes to a dough.
Remove dough into a ziploc bag and leave to rest in the fridge for 1/2 hr.
Now, prepare B: Put the flour in the food processor, then add in the sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to mix the ingredients. Then add in the oil and egg whites and pulse until a dough is formed.

Remove to a ziploc bag and rest in the fridge for 1/2 hr.
Prepare the first dough by putting dough onto clingwrap and roll it out thinly into a rectangle(5 inch x 10 inch) and leave in the fridge while you prepare the white dough.
Roll the white dough between clingwrap into the same size rectangle as the first.
Take the flavored rectangle and place it on top of the white dough.
Roll dough up like a swiss roll from long side and wrap tightly.
Leave the rolled dough in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
Heat oil to moderately hot.
Slice the dough into thin slices. and fry them in moderately hot oil until golden brown.



shaz said...

Hi Lily,

Great job! These are my favourite biscuits, but I don't know what the red fermented beancurd looks like (does it look like tofu or is it like miso)? (I'm in Australia so not sure if I can find it, do you think red miso would work?)


lilyng said...


i have added the pic of the bottle of nam yee/red fermented bean curd. i am sure it is available in the asian stores. miso will not work.

Christelle said...

Excellent! :) I always like these recipe mixes, I do that too, best way! :)

shaz said...

Thanks Lily! I'll have a look

Anonymous said...

this really brings back childhood memories. btw, do you happen to be the m'sian lily who worked in a pr firm in s'pore many yrs back? just curious coz just like you, that lily ng i know can bake very very well too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

i love reading your blog with all your yummy looking eats. you're very talented.

is this by any chance what you're looking for?

original recipe found here:

came across these sites by googling them.

God Bless!

woollylamb from singapore

ch3rri said...

Oh Lily. You made it. I'm going to try this recipe too. Thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

Made some the moment I found your recipe. What a rare find. Absolute success. Thank you!

muffin lover said...

Hello lily can we bake this biscuit instead of frying it.Its a rare find

Loretta said...

Aunty Lily - this is so retro! Good ole days - u can get these in S'pore.

SteamyKitchen said...

Hey! I haven't come over in such a long time...wanted to see whatcha been cooking lately. Lovely sweets!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

AHA I finally found your recipe...Thanks for the recipe well you see I was eating this Arnotts Farmbake Peanut Brownies and it reminded me so much of this biscuit which my mother used to buy from the pasar malam vendor...well I definitely cannot get any here from where am currently I shall give this biscuit a try...btw can I add peanuts to the mix ?

lilyng said...


i am sure you can add ground roasted peanuts but just enough so that the filling can be binded together.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,
Thanks for your reply. I tried looking for Nam Yee but cannot find any. Is there a substitute ingredient for it ? And also can I bake this cookie instead of frying ??

lilyng said...


nam yee is the one that makes this cookie tasted exactly like the real mccoy. I have not tried baking them, perhaps you could.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

I tried this recipe twice, I followed through your recipe right to the tee except I could not find Nam Yee and so I replaced it with LKK's Char Siew Sauce. Both the batter was thick and lumpy. I panicked and then added lots more flour( your recipe calls for 4 oz and I added 8 oz for both batters. And then I fried them but it turn out soggy like a mashed banana fritter and next I baked them , and they turned out hard as rock...

The 2nd time I tried them followed the recipe exactly minus the Nam Yee and replace with the Char Siew Sauce...the smell and taste of the batter was just exactly how this biscuit should taste....but both the batter did not turn into a rollable dough instead it was lumpy and sticky...the white dough somehow was a little easy to flatten but not the flavoured dough I left it overnight in the freezer and took it out this morning it was still wet and lumpy, tried coating flour on it so that I can roll it out..Alas it was not I just mixed both dough and batter, it was still lumpy and drop them on oil first but it was like eating mashed banana fritters once finally I dropped them on cookie sheets and baked them .....and now when I taste them...I do get the hint of the taste, and after cooling them it somehow became hard but not as hard as rock....

I very much looked to forward to roll the dough this morning but I a matter fact I reduced the egg so that it will not turn out too watery lumpy wet... Please help....I can;t seem to get it right but I got the taste right ????? thanks...

lilyng said...


char siew sauce to replace lam yee is too watery. the recipe used only 1 pieces of lam yee which when mashed will be about 1 tbsp.

i would suggest if you could replace with mein see/tau cheong and use only 1/2 tbsp only

Margie Danielson said...

Oh wow! Felt like I hit the jackpot here. Reminds me of home sweet home...Penang. Can't wait to try your recipe!

SewFun Ho said...

Hi Lily, what pepper do you use for this recipe, white or black? Where do you buy good, fragrant pepper from? It's not easy to get fragrant genuine pepper which makes a lot of difference with this recipe.
What brand of nam yee (red fermented bean curd) do you use and where do you buy these nam yee and 5 spice powder from?
Can this dough be baked instead of oil fried? How about your recipe for Cow's Ear Biscuit, can it be baked instead?
Thank you.

lily ng said...

sewfun ho

the picture of the bottle of nam yee is at my post. i used white pepper which i grind from white peppercorn and 5 spice powder was from Penang. I have not tried baking and if you should bake, please give me a feedback.

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