I always wonder how the heck do people make those crunchy but slightly hard-ish peanut crackers. I guessed two points are involved. It would be time consuming process. And it would be a super oily deal. I was right at both counts. But I took pleasure in learning how to do traditional dishes, and I am dipping my toes in the pond of traditional snacks making.
The peanut crackers (or rempeyek) are familiar snacks for people who live in rural areas, where Pringlers are as alien as touchscreen cellphone. The crackers are made from spice paste-and-rice flour batter and peanuts, fried to crunchiness. The odd ingredient is lime water (saturated calcium hydroxide solution, also known as air kapur). It gives batter the light and crunchy texture to fried goods. It can be omitted, if you don’t mind slightly hardish crackers, but you can always fry thinner crackers. That proves to be a bit of a challenge for me. As you can see, my crackers were a bit too thick. Practice does make perfect. After the 30-th cracker, I got a hang of it.
This is best served with Indonesian vegetarian salad, pecel. Also great for snacking with beer!
Ingredients would include raw peanuts. The thin brownish peanut skin is always intact. It gives the crackers the yummy earthy note. Spice paste are made from grinding garlic, candlenuts, coriander seeds, cumin. Kaffir lime leaves are sliced as thinly as possible.
The batter made from mixing rice flour and coconut milk.
Grind the ingredients for paste and some salt in a mortar and pestle.
To fine paste.
Combine rice flour, paste, kaffir lime leaves in a big bowl.
Add coconut milk and peanuts.
Add some water (here the water is diluted with a bit of coconut milk) and lime water (if using).
Mix well. Make sure there is no lumps.
Heat some cooking oil (okay, a lot of cooking oil) in a flat bottomed wok (or pan). The heat should be on medium setting. If using a mould, place a rempeyek mould (a thick version of egg ring, about 3 cm tall) in the middle of the wok. Pour a couple of tablespoons of batter into the ring. If not using mould, pour the batter slowly into the hot oil.
After half a minute, remove the ring by wiggling the batter out of the ring. If some part sticks to the ring, use a fork or chopsticks and poke it out. Start over by pushing the frying crackers to the sides of the wok and place the ring in the middle of wok. It would help greatly if the ring still has some kind of handle. Somebody borrowed ours and broke it.
Fry crackers till golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes in total. Again, the heat should be on medium low. High heat will cause the batter to brown too quickly, leaving peanuts still raw.
Finish up frying all crackers. The inexperienced me spent an hour in front of the wok.
Drain on paper towel and keep in airtight container. The rempeyek will keep fresh for 2 weeks.
Peanut Cracker, Rempeyek
3 garlic cloves
5 g coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp salt
24 kaffir lime leaves
250 g rice flour
300 cc coconut milk
400 cc water, dilute with 50cc coconut milk
250 g peanuts, raw
1/3 tsp lime water (optional)
Oil for frying
Grind garlic, candlenuts, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and salt to fine paste.
Combine paste and all ingredients in a bowl.
Heat cooking oil over medium heat. When the oil is warm, pour 2-3 tablespoons batter into the warm oil.
If using ring mould, pour batter into the ring place in the middle of wok. Remove when the batter is holding its shape, about 30 seconds. Continue pouring batter into the ring.
Fry crackers till golden brown. Make sure the peanuts are cooked. About 3 minutes each side.
Drain on paper towel and keep in airtight container.