Vegetable Fritter

Indonesian food is rich of deep-fried snacks. That might have something to do with the teensy weensy fact that the country is one of the main producers of palm oil. Cooking oil is abused to the letter. It is the way of life, the fried food. We can’t do much, since we can’t really start boiling everything. What we can do is to enjoy it and do so prudently. We can make fritters out of everything. Sometimes with something as lame as cabbage and a bunch of leftover vegetables. This is one of the food item that is enjoyed as afternoon snacks, together with corn fritters and banana fritters.

This vegetable fritters, or bakwan sayur, are bit tedious to make at home, I personally don’t like to spend too much time chopping vegetables. Once a while it is a nice treat to make at home. Tasty way to use up vegetables beside stir-frying them.

Spices to be ground is almost the same as the one used in corn fritter. Shallots, candlenuts, garlic, white pepper, ground coriander, salt and sugar. Grind this in a mortar and pestle till fine.

Vegetables used are carrot, beans sprouts, cabbage, spring onions and Chinese celery with some chilies. Combine all these in a big bowl.

Add a couple of eggs in the bowl.

Add all-purpose flour and tapioca starch.

Lastly, add the rice flour into the bowl. If no rice flour available, substitute with fried chicken coating mix.

Add some water.

Mix everything well with a spoon till it resembles thick batter.

Drop batter into hot oil.

Fry till golden without over-crowding the wok.

Remove from the wok and serve warm with some chili sauce.


Indonesian Vegetable Fritters, Bakwan Sayur

Makes 30-40 fritters


5 shallots
3 candlenuts
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tbsp whole white peppercorn, or 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

150 g cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, grated
50 g french beans, chopped finely
70 g spring onions, chopped
150 g bean sprouts
3 chilies, chopped finely
2 eggs
150 g flour
50 g tapioca starch
20 g rice flour
1/2-1 cup water
Oil for deep-frying


Grind shallots, candlenuts, garlic, white pepper, coriander, salt and sugar to fine paste.
Combine cabbage, carrots, french beans, bean sprouts, chilies in a big bowl.
Add flour, eggs, flour, tapioca starch, rice flour in the bowl.
Slowly pour water in the bowl and stirring continuously so a thick batter is formed.
Heat cooking oil in a wok.
Drop three spoonfuls of batter into the wok. Three to four fritters at a time.
Fry till golden brown, both sides, about 2 minutes each side.
Drain on paper towel and serve warm with chili dipping sauce.

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19 Responses to “Vegetable Fritter”

  1. 1

    Miriam/The Winter Guest — May 11, 2011 @ 2:09 am

    Loved this recipe. Similar fritters are common around the Mediterranean, without the tapioca and the rice flour. I would like to try these different flavors…

  2. 2

    Nami @ Just One Cookbook — May 11, 2011 @ 3:09 am

    I love this recipe. Japanese have similar dish called kakiage. I miss my mom’s Kakiage… Yours look just delicious as my moms!

  3. 3

    Lia Chen — May 11, 2011 @ 4:05 am

    Bakwan sayur is so yum! Love the crispy bite when it still warm :)

  4. 4

    Tine — May 11, 2011 @ 4:23 am

    I have to try this!

  5. 5

    Gertrude — May 11, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    I like to make this type of fritters too but the lazy me will just use the ready grated coseslaw mix I get from the supermarket. Sometime I will add some shrimps and corn to it.

  6. 6

    TasteHongKong — May 11, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    Nicely fried!

  7. 7

    yummy supper — May 12, 2011 @ 12:04 am

    I recently made pakora and now thanks to your recipe, I can make an Indonesian veggie fritter too:)
    Gorgeous shots of the the cooking process!!

  8. 8

    Ananda Rajashekar — May 12, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    First time here, such a colourful post so colourful and fritters are amazing Jun!

  9. 9

    mycookinghut — May 12, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

    This looks delicious!!

  10. 10

    crustabakes — May 13, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    you are right about bakwan sayur using the lamest ingredients. But i love them to bits! They are very scrumptious and your pictures did the honour of making them look even more delicious than they already are.

  11. 11

    cynthia — May 15, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    This is called pajeon in Korean .. I usually make this without eggs. I love how many different veggies are in here!

  12. 12

    Lakshmi — May 23, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

    Wow !!!! It looks so delish !!! I want to try this as soon as possible …and my husband is gng to absolutely love this. Great photos

  13. 13

    erinwyso — June 1, 2011 @ 4:15 am

    These look amazing! Thanks for sharing this step-by-step guide. Your photography is gorgeous.

  14. 14

    chinmayie@lovefoodeat — June 5, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

    Hey Jun! you have a gorgeous blog!! love the pictures… i first glanced at the photos and thought you were in Indian!!
    Will visit often :)

  15. 15

    Indonesian Vegetable Fritters | neverstopeating — February 21, 2012 @ 1:18 am

    [...] IndochineKitchen This entry was posted in Asiatisch, Gemüse and tagged grüne Bohnen, Karotten, Weißkohl. [...]

  16. 16

    Powderbrush — December 14, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    I am from the former Dutch East Indies and because of this, Indonesian food is my staple food. I grew up on bakwan and sayur bakwan. I use peanut oil or coconut oil for my frying.
    We don’t use any other flour than rice flower to make this neither do we use candlenut in this recipe. I saw what you described and decided to check with family and friends and the one cooking site of which I am a memmber from a lady who married an Indonesian heart specialist and has lived in Jakarta for 45 years. None of them use candlenut. Just a bit of ground coriander.

    We also sometimes add shrimp or fish to this or even tofu. we just mash the tofu and fry it. BUT we DO cook the tofu first otherwise it will explode.

    The little trick in making Bakwan of Sayur Bakwan as it is also called is to spread it at the side of the wok and push it down a bit, so it becomes a flat fritter and therefore one does’t run the risk of the inside not being cooked. We eat this with a sauce made fromt he following:

    a bit of tomatoe paste.. I use One can of it and add a 2 tablespoons of tomatoe ketchup. Some HP sauce about 1 tablespoon and some white pepper en a bit ofsugar and hot chillies saus (to taste as it is hot)which we call sambel. Sambel can often be found in jars in Oriental stores and markets. Otherwise use tabasco.

    I also add a bit of grated garlic and let this cook slowly on a very low pit on the stove.. stirring often so it won’t stick to the bottom. We eat these fritters with everything on our meals or just as a snack while watching a movie or tv.

  17. 17

    Polkadots — March 3, 2013 @ 10:22 am

    Can i substitute Tapioca Starch to Potato Starch??

    • Jun replied: — March 3rd, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

      I am sorry but I have no idea as I have not used potato starch before

  18. 18

    Amelia — March 10, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    I wonder if it possible to stay crunchy for few hours? I made it once for my kids bento for after school lunch, but it turned soggy n chewy. Thank u

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