I have recently renewed my passion for Indonesian cooking after returning from a two week journey through West Java and Sumatra where I spent the whole time eating! Travelling with Barnadi, a native speaker and chef, made it so much easier to access all sorts of fabulous street food, particularly in the cool highlands of Puncak, and the quiet town of Cipanas, as well as tasty Sundanese banquets on the way. During my five-day cooking class with Barnadi, chef and proprietor of the once famous Djakarta restaurant in Melbourne, I learnt a great deal. His recipes were gleaned from his mother as he grew up in Jakarta. I intend to explore these recipes in my blog over the next month.
Corn fritters are a favourite street treat, often eaten as an afternoon snack or as part of an Indonesian banquet. I tried many versions of this popular snack, including Barnardi’s, throughout Indonesia and I haven’t made them for years. Today’s version comes from the classic book by Charmaine Solomon,The Complete Asian Cookbook, as part of the Leah’s The Cookbook Guru. Each month a cookbook is chosen and participants may join by cooking and blogging one item from that book. This has been a chance to re-live my trip to Indonesia, and re- acquaint myself with my old cooking mentor from way back, Charmaine Solomon, as well as being forced to follow a recipe ( with a few minor adjustments)
Pergedel Jagung. ( corn fritters)
- 376 g fresh corn kernels, cut from cobs with a sharp knife, ( I used three cobs)
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon laos powder, optional
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 medium red onion ( or better, some red shallots)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 stalk of celery ( I omitted this it doesn’t appear as an ingredient in the Javanese versions I tasted)
- 1/2 cup of water ( see notes below)
- 1 teaspoon of belachan/ terasi/shrimp paste
- squeeze of lemon juice ( I used lime )
- vegetable oil for frying.
- Place ( or sift) the flour, ground rice, baking powder, salt and spices into a bowl.
- Quarter the onion and cut into very fine slices. Crush the garlic or finely chop.
- Mix together the water, beaten egg, terasi, and lemon juice and add to the flour mixture.
- Stir in the corn, garlic and onion.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. The recipe says to 12mm ( 1/2 inch) I made it deeper. When oil is hot, test with the end of a chopstick to see bubbles, drop mixture by tablespoons into the oil. They should flatten out to around 7.5 cms ( 3 inches) in diameter. Fry until golden, turn, fry the other side and drain well on paper towels on a wire rack. This keeps the fritters crisp.
- Don’t crowd the pan. I cook 3- 4 at a time so that they remain crispy and therefore oil free.
- I omitted the laos powder as I tend to use fresh galangal in Indonesian cooking.
- I always toast the terasi/belachan over a gas flame first.
- The cumin was an odd ingredient: it made the fritters taste more Indian.
- The quantity of water changed from the 1992 version I own ( and happily acquired from Savers second-hand) and the 2011 edition which I borrowed from the library. The newer edition suggests 1 cup of water, which made the batter far too wet. I would suggest sticking to the original quantity of 1/2 cup, then add more water if the mix seems too stiff after the corn is added.
- I only added a pinch of chilli, as this is a popular snack for children. Instead, serve it with a hot chilli sambal goreng or a glug of Kecap Extra Pedas.
Really tasty with beer. Beer Bintang in Indonesia. Fifty Lashes or Coopers in Australia. I have added a few pics throughout the post from my Indonesia trip, highlighting Barnardi’s corn fritters, which he serves with a sharp pickle and a variety of other dishes.