How To : Fry Shallot Flakes

One of the most popular condiments in Indonesian cooking is fried shallot flakes. A bit tedious to make, but you can make them in big batches and store them in airtight containers. These can last for one week in room temperatures or two weeks in refrigerator. We love to sprinkle some on top of soup dishes, fried noodles or fried rice. 

These crispy shallot flakes are sold in packages, but it is not difficult to make it yourself. It is important to slice the shallots as evenly as possible. If thicker flakes are preferred, the whole batch should be of the same thickness. A mandoline would be extremely helpful, but to get the kick of it, I sliced them all myself. Took an hour, roughly, and yes, I was that slow. I don’t own mandoline myself. I wonder whether I can use a slicer? Anyway, that’s for future experiment


1 kg shallots

4 cups cooking oil

pinch of salt

pinch of tapioca flour (optional)


  • Peel and slice shallots. Wash them under running water for a few seconds. Drain and pat dry slowly by spreading the shallots on top of clean and dry kitchen towel. It is important to dry them as much as possible to shorten the frying time
  • Sprinkle some salt (and tapioca flour – if used) on top of them. Leave for 5 minutes
  • Heat cooking oil in heavy pan / wok over high heat, until light smoke comes out from the surface
  • Toss in the sliced shallots and cook for 5 – 8 minutes, until they turn light brown and all the moisture is cooked out
  • To get them perfectly golden, remove them from the oil a few seconds before they actually appear done 
  • Remove shallots from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel lined plate as they will darken slightly as they sit). Let cool
  • Store in an airtight container, lined with clean paper towel on the bottom and top of container


  • Do not overcook, otherwise it will taste bitter
  • Tapioca flour will give the flakes extra crunch, but if the flakes are going to be used on soup dishes, the tapioca will act as starch agent and will more or less effect the dish as it thickens the soup liquid – my mother strongly disagrees in adding the flour
  • Some prefer to fry in small batches. I didn’t encounter any problems in frying them all at once. I stirred every 30 seconds to get them cooked evenly  
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15 Responses to “How To : Fry Shallot Flakes”

  1. 1

    Alice — January 20, 2009 @ 2:44 am

    Those shallots are awesome! so nice in color and texture!

  2. 2

    Christine — January 20, 2009 @ 4:05 am

    Hi Jun!

    Luv ur site!
    Just wanna know, didn’t you get all teary up when you sliced the shallots?
    How did you cope?

    Tks, Christine

  3. 3

    noobcook — January 20, 2009 @ 4:53 am

    Kudos for slicing them so perfectly, they are beautiful. Lazy me bought premade fried shallots ;p

    noobcook’s last blog post..Three Cups Chicken (San Bei Ji, ???)

  4. 4

    mimid3vils — January 20, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

    Too bad ,I don’t like fried shallots in my food :(

  5. 5

    Jun — January 20, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

    They did taste not bad. Very crunchy and quite tasty. :)

    It took me a long time finishing the whole batch. I did not get teary eyes .. I wonder why myself. My fingers kinda hurt at the end.

    Thanks! Haha I would do the same thing myself next time

    Aahh .. I ll have your shallots then

  6. 6

    Farina — January 21, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

    I love fried shallots but am too lazy to make them myself so I just buy them ready-made. lol.

    Farina’s last blog post..Pengat Pisang

  7. 7

    Maya — January 24, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

    I am with Farina, I buy mine premade. But my mom makes fries her own…all perfectly sliced like yours!

    Maya’s last blog post..Savoury Bread Pudding

  8. 8

    Salsa Dip with Sweet Soy Sauce — May 30, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

    [...] have fried shallot flakes? Check this out and make some to stock up your [...]

  9. 9

    Chinese Fresh Spring Rolls Popiah — June 8, 2010 @ 4:25 am

    [...] 1/2 cup shallot flakes (recipe) [...]

  10. 10

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    [...] Indochine [...]

  11. 11

    Roy — June 2, 2012 @ 12:22 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I am making Gulai which calls for fried shallots and your instructions are exactly what I needed! Terima kasih!

  12. 12

    lalita — September 20, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

    Thank you for the post. I could never make my fried shallots crispy. Is that the reason why you slice them first then wash them? I’ve never done that before. I’ve never sprinkle tapioca powder or salt on them either.

    Thank you!

    • Jun replied: — September 26th, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

      The rinsing and patting dry help shorten frying period, and tapioca powder is for making sure of extra crunchiness. It is great on everything.

  13. 13

    Vincent Lee — January 5, 2013 @ 2:25 am

    Try and Compare, and you will experience the differences in Color , Crispiness , Freshness and the Fragrance of our Fried Shallots (Fried Onion) and Fried Garlic the minute you open the seal.

    Color will be determined by the consistent temperature of the fryer which normal atmospheric frying can’t do.

    Crisp will be determined by the timeliness of frying and frying technology.

    Freshness will be ensured by our technology of processing facility from raw materials to finish product.

    Fragrance will be ensured by using 100% pure onion and garlic without additives ie. Salt and Flour.

  14. 14

    bawang goreng — February 21, 2013 @ 2:28 am

    Do not overcook, otherwise it will taste bitter. And yes, thats true.. overcook just will make your fried shallot flakes taste bitter.
    anyway, i really love your blog

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