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Bakwan Jagung - Corn Fritter
If you like crispy and crunchy fritters, then you are going to love these bakwan jagung (Indonesian corn fritters). This popular Indonesian snack happens to be a quick and easy treat that you will want to make again and again.
If I must pick two of the most popular side dishes/savory treats that seem to be sold everywhere in Indonesia, then I will have to settle for perkedel kentang (potato fritters) and followed closely by bakwan jagung (corn fritters).
Both are delicious and the smell of these can make you feel hungry instantly even after a full course meal.
For those who want to learn to cook Indonesian dishes at home, any of the two is a great dish to start. They are both not spicy, and the ingredients are common anywhere in the world. I am confident that anyone who wants to prepare Indonesian food in their kitchen should be able to make either one in their home.
What's in bakwan jagung?
Indonesian corn fritters are made from fresh corn, eggs, shallots, garlic, scallion, celery, all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, ground white pepper, and ice cold water.
Fresh corn, frozen corn, and canned corn
It is best if you can use fresh corn, but you can also use frozen corn or canned corn when fresh corn is not available.
On average, one fresh corn yields a 3⁄4 cup of kernels. So for this recipe, you will need 2 1⁄4 cup of corn kernels.
If you use frozen corn, be sure to thaw and drain off any excess liquid and pat the kernels with kitchen towel before using.
For canned corn, please drain and pat dry as best as you can. Since the liquid in canned corn contains salt, you may want to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe from 1 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.
Chinese celery vs. regular US celery
Chinese celery is more readily available compared to regular celery in Indonesia, so most Indonesians prefer using Chinese celery to prepare corn fritters.
You can substitute Chinese celery with regular US celery. Chinese celery has a stronger flavor, so you will miss some of that flavor when using regular celery. But you will still end up with delicious corn fritters even with regular celery.
Rice flour and its substitute
Rice flour makes the corn fritters crispy. You can substitute rice flour with an equal amount of tapioca starch.
If you don’t have any rice flour or tapioca starch at home, you can also use the same amount of all-purpose flour, but know that the corn fritters will be less crispy.
Preparing the batter
For fresh corns, please place a small ramekin inside a large mixing bowl. Stand each ear of corn on the small ramekin, and use a sharp knife to scrape off the kernels. The kernels will fall into the mixing bowl without making a mess. Throw away the cobs.
If you are using frozen corn or canned corn, be sure to pat dry the corn kernels first before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Add minced shallot, minced garlic, thinly sliced scallion, thinly sliced celery, and eggs into the mixing bowl. Add also all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, ground white pepper, and ice-cold water. Mix gently with a spatula into a thick batter.
For the crispiest possible corn fritters, it is best if you can keep the batter as cold as possible. I always chill the batter in the fridge while I prepare the hot oil for deep frying.
Frying corn fritters
The best pot/pan for deep-frying is a cast-iron skillet/pot or a Dutch oven since it will retain heat better and make sure the oil temperature stays where we want it.
Choose an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil or canola oil. Fill the pot with about two inches of oil and turn the heat to medium. Wait until the oil is hot before frying the fritters.
When the oil is hot, a bamboo chopstick lowers into it will have air bubbles around it. The oil will also register 170 Celsius/340 Fahrenheit on a thermometer.
Drop ladleful of batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side.
You can fry several fritters per batch, but don’t overcrowd the pot. Doing so can lower the oil temperature and you end up with greasy fritters.
Please drain fried fritters on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Draining fritters on paper towels will make them soggier compared to a wire rack.
Storing and reheating leftover fritters
If you have leftover corn fritters, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or free for longer storage.
Please thaw frozen fritters before reheating. Thaw frozen fritters for one hour on the kitchen countertop, or overnight in the fridge.
To make the fritters crispy again, try heating a small amount of oil in a frying pan and fry until hot and crispy.
This will feed a crowd
You don’t need to make the whole recipe if you don’t plan to serve the fritters to a lot of people. One fresh corn (1⁄3 recipe) is good for 2-4 people, two fresh corn (2⁄3 recipe) for 4-6 people, and the full recipe for 6-8 people.
The above numbers assume that you are feeding a horde of super hungry people. On average, the full recipe should be enough for 10-12 people.
Play around with your bakwan ingredients
There are other varieties of bakwan that you can make with this basic recipe. Just substitute corn with the same amount of other vegetables (or mixed vegetables) of your choice.
Popular ingredients include shredded cabbage, carrot julienne, green bean julienne, mung beans sprouts, thinly sliced blanched cauliflower/broccoli, and even roughly chopped shrimp just to name a few.
If you like this recipe, you may want to give my bakwan sayur (vegetable fritters) recipe a try.
Bakwan Jagung - Corn Fritter
- 3 ears fresh corn (~ 2 1/4 cup of corn kernels)
- 125 gram shallots (~ 10 Indonesian sized, or ~ 3 US sized), minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks Chinese celery, thinly sliced, about 1/4 cup (Note 1)
- 2 stalks scallion, thinly sliced, about 1/4 cup
- 3 eggs
- 150 gram all-purpose flour
- 75 gram rice flour or tapioca starch
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 300 ml ice-cold water
- enough oil for deep frying (Note 2)
- Place a small ramekin inside a large mixing bowl. Stand each ear of corn on the small ramekin, and use a sharp knife to scrape off the kernels. The kernels will fall into the mixing bowl without making a mess. Throw away the cobs.
- Add minced shallot, minced garlic, thinly sliced scallion, thinly sliced celery, and eggs into the mixing bowl. Add also all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, ground white pepper, and ice-cold water. Mix gently with a spatula into a thick batter.
- Heat two inches of oil in a pot to 170 Celcius (340 Fahrenheit) for deep frying.
- Drop ladleful of batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side. Drain the fritters on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Repeat until all batter is used up. Serve hot with tomato ketchup and chili sauce.
- (1) Substitute with one stalk of regular US celery.
- (2) Use a high smoke point oil such as peanut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or vegetable shortening.
wow, this is my favorite snack, Indonesian people love this !
So true, we love the many incarnations of our deep fried foods :)
Great to have stumbled across this! This was a favourite snack of my friend (and myself!) while staying in Indonesia for a number of months :)
we eat this in myanmar too! its delicious :)
Hi Anita, I've made these several times and turned out well :). Just wondering, do you think it's possible to bake instead of deep fry? If so, what temperature and for how long? Many thanks. Fithria
Hi Fithria, that is a very interesting question. I haven't tried baking bakwan before, so I have no idea at the moment. Hopefully I will have the time to experiment a bit in the future to see if this is possible :)
My husband is Indonesian and Im European ,and we have tried to cook corn fritters on many occasions with no success ,so now we will try your recipe and we love to have them really crunchy as we have tried other peoples recipes and they were really crunchy .what is Scallion and were do you get it from ????
Hi Maria, scallion is also known as green onions, it is called "daun bawang" in Indonesian. The easiest place to buy some is from an Asian grocery store, though it is common enough that I can find them in more mainstream grocery like Safeway and such.
Robert Hughes says:
I had these in Bali and loved them. I was wondering whether the batter can be made and frozen prior to cooking?
Hi Robert, I have tried making it one day in advance and store in the fridge (not freezer), and it worked. I am not sure how it will perform when frozen.
Thank you for all the Indo recipes. So happy to find this on Pinterest. Banyak terima kasih.
You are welcome Cece :) I hope you like the recipes.
wondered upon this old tag. i spent the best 4 years of my life in indonesia. truly a magical place, even jakarta which can be a ass whipping. nasi gareng, bakwan and sate!
True, Jakarta is such a hot and humid city, and not to mention the pollution and traffic situation. But, when the topic changes to food, then suddenly the city becomes a magical place :D
Natalie Levin says:
Thank you for a unique delicious recipe! Can't wait to try this!
Corn fritters, hello yum!! I think this is a unique and interesting recipe. I have seen heaps of zucchini fritter recipes but a corn one is quite original. Yum, I look forward to giving these a go.
Being Indonesian, it's actually the other way around for me. I have seen and tried so many corn fritters recipes, and once I moved to the US, somehow all the fritters suddenly seem to be zucchini version, haha. :D
Claudia Lamascolo says:
I just love corn and these sounds so flavorful and yummy they just may be my new favorite!
veena Azmanov says:
These corn fritters are so tempting and colorful. Love the crispiness to it. Amazing flavors too.
Amy | The Cook Report says:
These sound absolutely delicious, I love how crispy they are!
Thank you for the yummy recipe. Always had this at my Indonesian friends' place. Going to try it. Do you have a print command/function by the way? Thanks again
I hope they will turn out like the ones you had at your friend's place. The print button is inside the recipe card.
My kids and I are always searching for new recipes to make. We love to spend time in the kitchen. We made your recipe and it was delicious. I love how easy it is to make, my kids did most of the work!
Kelly Anthony says:
What a great snack to feed a hungry crowd. I like that this recipe can serve a large group making it easy to feed a lot of people at one time.
Angela Allison says:
Such an incredibly flavorful and fun side dish. Love anything with corn. Thanks for sharing!
Carrie Robinson says:
I have never tried these before, but they definitely look & sound delicious! :)
Emily Liao says:
I've never made corn fritters until I found this recipe! It's so delicious and such a fun way to use up my leftover corn.
I love corn fritters but I've been used to the American ones that are very doughy. When I saw these, I had to try them! I'm a new convert - I'll only be eating these corn fritters from now on!
Abigail Raines says:
Reminds me of the kind of corn snack I ate in the Philippines! So much flavor and love the crunch!
Thanks for including the US substitutions. I actually had Chinese celery from our international market- worth trying if you can find it!
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says:
What a tasty snack! I haven't tried them before but certainly will be trying these now!
Krissy Allori says:
Everything about this dish sounds amazing. I love corn fritters but I've never made them myself. I am going to save this and try it this weekend. Thanks!
Thank you for this recipe Anita! This is the 2 nd recipe from you i tried. Just bit question, my bakwan wasnt that crispy and bit soggy, i wonder why, i put 220 ml ice water cold because i thought it was too wet. Is it because of this? Thank you dear.
Hi Lala, thanks for trying my recipes. You can reduce the water, the batter really shouldn't need that much water.
You can also try increasing the amount of rice flour. Instead of 150 gram all-purpose flour and 75 gram rice flour, you can try 125 gram all-purpose flour and 100 gram rice flour, or even 100 gram all-purpose flour and 125 gram rice flour. As you increase the amount of rice flour, the bakwan will become crispier, so you can experiment which ratio you love best.
Also, be sure to drain your fried bakwan over a wire rack or even a stainless steel colander/strainer. If you drain them on paper towels, the bakwan will definitely become soggy.
Thanks for the recipe~ do we need to boil that fresh corn first or just use the uncooked fresh corn?
There is no need to boil, just use the uncooked/raw fresh corn.
Hi there! Do you recommend serving these alone or with a dipping sauce! Thank you!
Hi Erika, Indonesians usually eat this with fresh bird-eye chilies, but I prefer serving this with chili sauce. You can use Sriracha, though I prefer Indonesian bottled chili sauce.
Hi Anita, I'm Indonesian living in UK and always love your recipes:), may i know how many cups or how many cans? thank you
Hi Mblack, 3 fresh corn kernels = 2 1/4 cup of corn kernels. This can come from either canned corn or frozen corn. :)
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