How many of you grew up eating Cream Crackers? Well I certainly did as my father has been working with Hup Seng for the longest time as a wholesale distributor and if there’s anything that’s omnipresent in our household, this is it. There are many years Malaysians love to enjoy Cream crackers. Some of you would probably vouch for Milo + Crackers as your breakfast growing up. Kaya is a popular one as well I’m sure. I used to drizzle condense milk on my crackers, definitely not the healthiest but since we are already going there, why not go all the way right?
I remember once I was at a house party in Bintulu (of course I was still very young then), and I came across this savoury snack made with cream crackers, or we used to like to call it Ping Pong biscuits back then. It kinda did blow my mind. The eggy filling with something as simple as luncheon meat was all the more comforting. That was my only encounter with this Foochow hybrid snack. I don’t even know what it’s really called. But google turned up some results and I guess I’m gonna go with Oriental Lasagna.
It resembles a lasagna because the cream crackers act as “Lasagna sheets”, you’ll do either 5 or 7 layers (depends how much crackers you want to consume). Although, the egg and milk filling also makes it similar to a quiche. The fillings always include Luncheon meat and onions at its simplest, especially back in the days when luxurious ingredients aren’t readily available. I added mushrooms in mine to errr lighten it slightly, haha. When cut up, it looks like this:
My layers aren’t so distinctive because my egg/milk ratio is slightly higher thus the layers look more filled up. Which is fine for me because I love the filling. How to make this? Very simple, even kids can do it!
Oriental Lasagna (苏打饼千层糕）adapted from My Cooking Escapades.
27 pcs of Cream Crackers (36 if you are doing an extra layer, which is what most people do I think)
1 can evaporated milk
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 can Luncheon Meat, diced
Button mushrooms, a handful and roughly chopped
In a pan heat oil on high heat and saute onions until translucent, then add mushrooms and luncheon meat. Cook until slightly coloured and season with pepper and salt if you want to. i didn’t add any salt at all. Turn off heat and set aside. Depends on the amount of layers you might want to divide into either 2 or 3 portions.
Beat evaporated milk and eggs together and soak cream crackers in small batches (I soaked 9 at a time so I can do the whole layer, you can do it in even smaller amount). Just a few seconds would be fine, you just want the crackers to be less brittle to handle, since you’ll be drowning everything later anyway. Meanwhile, oil your square cake tin too (23cm x 23cm would be ideal).
Start lining the soaked cream cracker, your tin should fit 3 x 3, if not you might want to consider biting off the edges (just kidding, a little bit of overlapping won’t hurt). Spread half the luncheon meat mixture over, then layer with more cream crackers. Spread the other half of the meat mixture, and finish with the last layer of cream crackers.
Pour the remaining of the egg mixture over the top. Use a spatula to press down the top layer gently to ensure all layers are submerged. Steam for around 30minutes, or cover the tin with foil to bake for 40 minutes in 180C oven.
Let cool slightly before removing. I’d suggest at least 30 minutes. It’s lovely when warm, but perfectly fine room temperature. Serve it with chili sauce for extra oomph. I recommend Lingham’s.
Don’t underestimate the serving. I think this easily feed around 10 people. I’m pretty sure this just blew Kevin’s mind today too. The sweetness of onion, savoury crackers and luncheon meat make such good pairing. A dose of chili sauce really elevates the whole experience too. This is something that will appeal to all ages for sure.
This can keep in the fridge, although I’d guarantee there won’t be much leftover. Just reheat in the oven or re-steam before serving. I use my trusty airfryer of course. Though I’d recommend try baking it for a slightly crispy top for that textural contrast.
Please do try it at home and let me know how it goes!