Tumpi (Bruneian Pancakes)


With my grandmother here in London with us, it seems that I can get to see her make various “traditional” recipes. First up was last time’s Maruku. Now, its Tumpi!

Tumpi… I suppose, is sort of a Bruneian pancake. (I asked one my my friends. In Kedah, at least, they don’t have this. Not sure about other parts of Malaysia.) Its … sort of a flattish bread (made withour raising agents) that is deepfried until crispy. Its usually eaten with chicken or beef curry.

And I love it. I really really do. Especially if the curry is made well. *drool* But for now, I have the recipe for Tumpi for you! Here we go!

What you need:
Plain flour
Softened butter, or margarine
Salt, dissolved in some water

Unfortunately, you will have to play this by ear, since my grandmother doesn’t measure this out at all. If I had to guess, she used about 500g of flour, with roughly 1 tablespoon of butter per 100g of flour.

What you do:

  1. Place the flour in a bowl. Add in the butter or margarine, and rub it in with wyour fingers. (similar to pastry making).
  2. Add in a little bit of the water, and start kneading with your hands. I suggest using plastic gloves, since its very sticky in the beginning.
  3. Adding more water slowly, add enough water so that the dough is smooth and elastic. If it seems to be a bit dry, add in some butter.
  4. Now, to make the tumpi, there are several ways. The overall aim is to make a dlat, circular piece of dough, about the size of a saucer. You can either just flatten a round ball of dough, or roll up the dough into a log, as shown below.
  5. First, take the dough (dividing it into portions, if necassary) and, using a rolling pin, flatten it out to a roughly rectangular shape. Don’t make it too thin. Spread a little bit of oil over the top surface, and roll the dough into a log shape. If you want, you can flatten this log and repeat the process. Apparently, the more you do it, the more “spirals” your finished tumpi will have. It doesn’t add anything but decorative value. Which is nice, I guess. 😉 Repeat with any remaining dough.
  6. To fry the tumpi, take each log shape and cut into thick slices. Roll out each slice to make a saucer-sized piece of dough. Remember, don’t make it too thin.
  7. Heat up some oil for deepfrying ion a frying pan, and fry the tumpi until golden brown. Alternatively, you can use minyak sapi (er, cow oil?) or ghee.

This was much simpler to make than I thought! Although I don’t think I explained it well, but I’m sure you can still understand the instructions, yea? 😀 The best thing is, the dough keeps quite well. About two days in the fridge, and for a couple of months in the freezer. Thaw it before frying, if you decide to freeze it. Plus, if you freeze it in between sheets of baking paper, you can easily separate them, so you can just thaw what you need. So, you can get fresh tumpi whenever you want! How nice. 🙂

But the best thing about tumpi, in my opinion, is the curry. Unfortunately, I can’t quite make a good chicken curry yet, *sigh*. But eventually…. *drool* The one we had with this batch of tumpi was delicious. But I think… curry is hard to get a recipe for, isn’t it? There are so many variables…

Then again, some people eat this with susu manis (condensed milk). *cough*Hadi*ahem*

Quote of the day: Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think.

7 thoughts on “Tumpi (Bruneian Pancakes)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Now… that’s what I call a classic appetite tickler! I share your passion in tumpi. In addition to your ‘appetizing’ description, I would like to add that tumpi dipped in ‘dhall’ curry or any other curry for what it’s worth, is equally sumptuous. Try it!! Have tumpi for breakfast or coffee break or lunch or tea… don’t hate me if you ask for more! Bon appetit!

  2. Jguy says:

    Wow! Looking forward to make one. Being away from Brunei for longer period of time really do make you missing all the foods. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Unklev says:

    Tumpi is uniquely Bruneian. I’m a Malaysian and have been in Brunei for 3 years. I get sick when locals try to push roti canai to me. I mean, let’s face it, you can’t beat Malaysian roti canai as how you can’t beat our nasi lemak.
    Instead, take pride in your Tumpi! I love it. Even my friends who came over for visits loved it. Made right, which i believe Fayze Jaya did well, it would even be tastier than a good roti canai from Malaysia.
    Oh, i love nasik katok too!

    • haha. Have you tried roti canai (roti kosong here) at Iskandar and Noraliza’s House of Curry? That is supposedly one of the best in Brunei.

      I shall have to try tumpi at Fayze Jaya one of these days, but I do love the ones just made by my relatives fresh. 🙂

      • Unklev says:

        I did. Still not that good. Have you tried Azam Ria? It’s the one behind Shell Mabohai. That’s the place most Malaysian embassy staff goes to. That’s the best here for me. If you travel to KL, make a detour to Subang Jaya and hunt down Restoran Seri Melur Jaya for their awesome roti canai.

        Fayze Jaya? U should! Go to the one behind The Arch (Taurean Cafe) near Kiarong roundabout.

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