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Bakwan Sayur - Vegetables Fritter

How to cook bakwan sayur (Indonesian vegetable fritters) at home, choosing the vegetable mix, and tips to get crispy bakwan.
Ingredients for bakwan sayur (Indonesian vegetable fritters): carrot, cabbage, scallions, egg, all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, sugar, and white pepper.
Ingredients for bakwan sayur (Indonesian vegetable fritters): carrot, cabbage, scallions, egg, all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, sugar, and white pepper.

Bakwan sayur is Indonesian deep fried vegetable fritters. Found nation wide, mostly sold by street food vendors, the most popular version uses a mix of cabbage, carrot, and mung bean sprouts. Some regions in Indonesia call this as bala-bala, though it is more widely known as bakwan sayur.

If you are Indonesian living overseas, I am sure there are times that you crave some freshly fried bakwan sayur. Now with this recipe, you can cook some to cure that homesickness. ♥

Bakwan sayur batter, ready to be fried into fritters.
Bakwan sayur batter, ready to be fried into fritters.

Vegetables mix for bakwan sayur

Although cabbage, carrot, and mung bean sprouts are the most common mix, you can use your own mixture.

If you are familiar with Japanese yasai tempura (vegetables tempura), then all the vegetables that you can use for yasai tempura can be used in bakwan sayur.

For this particular recipe, I keep it as simple as possible and use a mixture of shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and thinly sliced scallions. But reallly, there is no fixed rules, so feel free to improvise.

Bakwan Sayur - Vegetables Fritter
Bakwan Sayur - Vegetables Fritter

Batter for bakwan/Indonesian fritters

My bakwan batter uses very simple ingredients: all-purpose flour, rice flour, salt, sugar, ground white/black pepper, grated garlic, egg, and ice cold water.

Rice flour is the secret ingredient to get crispy fritters. You can substitute rice flour with tapioca starch to get the same effect.

As you increase the amount of rice flour/tapioca starch, the crispier the fritters get but it will be less chewy. Everyone has a different preference to the crispiness and chewiness level of their fritters, so feel free to experiment.

For beginners, stick with 150 gram all-purpose flour and 50 gram rice flour ratio. If you decide that you want a crispier batch next time, you can use 100 gram all-purpose flour and 100 gram rice flour.

Bakwan Sayur - Vegetables Fritter
Bakwan Sayur - Vegetables Fritter

You cannot avoid deep frying

If you want to whip up authentic bakwan, there is no avoiding deep frying. To get crispy bakwan, my trick is to make sure the oil is hot, and the bakwan batter is super cold.

If you have a thermometer, you want the oil to reach 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit). If you don’t have a thermometer, the oil should look shimmering, and a drop of batter should sink slightly in the hot oil and immediately float up the surface.

To make sure the batter is cold, use ice cold water. Usually, I even put the batter back in the fridge while my pot of oil is heating up.

Once out from the hot oil, drain the bakwan over a wire rack to remove excess oil. Please don’t drain excess oil with paper towels as they will make the fritters soggy. Serve the fritters immediately, as is, or with your favorite chili sauce.

Bakwan Sayur - Vegetables Fritter

5.0 from 19 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8

Print Recipe


  • 250 gram shredded blanched cauliflower (Indonesian: bunga kol), or shredded cabbage (Indonesian: kol)
  • 150 gram shredded carrot (Indonesian: wortel)
  • 2 scallions (Indonesian: daun bawang), thinly sliced
  • 150 gram all-purpose flour (Indonesian: tepung terigu)
  • 50 gram rice flour (Indonesian: tepung beras)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 250 ml ice cold water
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg
  • oil for deep frying
  • Commonly served with
  • Thai chilies
  • tomato ketchup
  • chili sauce/sambal of your choice


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all purpose flour, rice flour, salt, sugar, and ground pepper. Add water and mix well, make sure there are no lumps.
  2. Add grated garlic and egg into the batter. Mix well.
  3. Add shredded blanched cauliflower/cabbage, shredded carrot, and sliced scallions into the batter and mix well.
  4. Put the bakwan batter in the fridge while we heat up the oil to keep the batter as cold as possible.
  5. Pour enough oil in a pot for deep frying. Once a bit of batter dropped into the oil bubbles immediately, the oil is ready. If you have a thermometer, wait until the oil reaches 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit).
  6. Remove bakwan batter from the fridge. Use a small laddle (or ice cream scoop) and drop a laddleful of vegetables mixture into the hot oil. Deep fry until the fritter is crispy and turns golden brown on both sides, remove and drain on a wire rack/paper towel. Repeat until all batter is used up.
  7. Serve immediately with some Thai chilies, or a combination of tomato sauce and chili sauce.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Kate (@KatefromScratch) Kate (@KatefromScratch) says:

    ooh these look fantastic! I will definitely be trying these very soon. Thanks!

  • lina lina says:

    I love these things so much !!! I don't even like cabbage, but these fritters are really delicious. Thank you very much for the recipe!!!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I am so happy you like the recipe Lina. Thanks for giving it a try.♥

  • april april says:

    Hi, I am craving for bakwan udang. Would the recipe be the same as that of bakwan sayur?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi April, you can substitute the 250 gram cabbage to 250 gram peeled shrimps and the 150 gram carrot to 150 gram cabbage to make this into bakwan udang (shrimp fritters) recipe :)

  • Mark Mark says:

    I love these fritters and find them to be versatile. Of late, I have been making them by pan-frying them to use less oil. They are (to me) equally delicious as a sort of small, crispy scallion/cabbage/carrot pancake. Sometimes, when I've got it, I will finely chop kaffir lime leaf and add it to the batter. I absolutely love your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes - there's always something new to try! :)

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Mark, I have never thought of pan frying them and now I feel that I must try as soon as possible.

  • Agathi Yap Agathi Yap says:

    Hi.. What can i substitute the flour with to make it gluten free?

  • Jen Jen says:

    Hello! Can you substitute rice flour with all purpose flour?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yes Jen :)

  • Fitri Arfiani Fitri Arfiani says:

    Very good recipe. My family loves it. Thank you, Anita.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yay, I'm so happy to hear that Fitri :)

  • Isabelle Ng Isabelle Ng says:

    Very nice and easy recipe. Tried different recipes online, but yours is the best. Can't get enough of it. Thank you for sharing.

    • Anita Anita says:

      I am very happy to hear that this recipe suits your taste Isabelle.

  • Tee S Tee S says:

    This is to go recipe but I omit the egg. I add 1 tbsp melted butter to give it more crunch. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thank you for sharing your modification Tee :) I am very happy it works out well even without egg.

  • Venny Venny says:

    Hi Anita..you may consider to use self raising flour instead of plain flour. I always use self raising flour whenever i make bakwan (bakwan sayur or jagung), it will more crispy and crunchy. And the crispiness will be longer than plain flour. I always use your bakwan jagung recipe, but I subtitute plain flour with self raising flour. Thank you for all the recipes. Keep writing, Anita.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Venny, thank you so much for the tips! I will definitely try using self raising flour to cook bakwan next time, since I definitely love crispy and crunchy bakwan. Also, thank you for always using my recipes. :)

  • Gavin Gavin says:

    I LOVE fritters - always doing corn ones for brekkie. These ones are just perfect and I love dipping them into a spicy sauce.

  • Sylvie Sylvie says:

    What a delicious way to eat more veggies! They look so crunchy and delicious - perfect so serve as an appetiser or even as a side dish for dinner :)

  • Sara Welch Sara Welch says:

    Such a flavorful snack! These are perfect for after school snacks and a great way to get my kids to eat their veggies! Love it!

  • Taylor Kiser Taylor Kiser says:

    These vegetable fritters look so delicious! I can't wait to make them!

  • Tammy Tammy says:

    These look fabulous! So golden and crispy...I love fritters! Definitely going to need to make these ^_^

  • Caitlyn Erhardt Caitlyn Erhardt says:

    Wonderful recipe! I love how simple and tasty this is and it always comes out perfect.

  • Jessica Jessica says:

    I've never had bakwan sayur, but I made these last night and they were incredible! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Jill Jill says:

    I've not tried making fritters of any sort at home. This looks like a delicious and easy recipe to try.

  • Noelle Noelle says:

    These were so good! Easy to make and turned out exactly how I was thinking they would, thank you for the great recipe!

  • kim kim says:

    Love this recipe! These are delicious and so easy! Will definitely make again!

  • Li Ling Li Ling says:

    Hi Anita, can I use glutinous rice flour or tapioca flour to replace the rice flour?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Li Ling, the rice flour is added to make the fritters crispier. You can simply replace rice flour with all-purpose flour and it will work, just a slight reduction in crispiness. :)

  • Li Li says:

    Superb !! this is very delicious. Thank you for the recipe. I used tapioca instead of rice flour. Can I use all tapioca flour to make it gluten free? And can we freeze the ready made bakwan?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Li, I haven't tried it personally, but I've seen gluten-free tempura recipe with only 100% rice flour, or a combination of rice flour and tapioca starch. I think 100% tapioca flour should probably work too.

      Also, you should be able to freeze the fried fritters. To reheat frozen fritters, place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400°F oven/toaster oven until warmed through and crisp again, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Mae Mae says:

    Hiya, Can I make this a couple days a head? Was thinking to make for a small birthday party. Please let me know Regards Mae

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Mae, if you have an oven, you can reheat and crisp the fritters again right before serving with a 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit) oven for 5 minutes per side for a total of 10 minutes.

  • Wenny Wenny says:

    Anita, I love your recipes, simple and straight forward. I've just tried making this bakwan sayur, it is a success :D I didn't put the batter in the fridge thou, but yes it is still good!! Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  • Becca L Becca L says:

    These are excellent! I used a 14 oz bag of coleslaw mix (prewashed and chopped cabbage and carrots), so if you find yourself short on time, one bag makes two batches.

    I also found that ketchup mixed with Sriracha tastes incredible as a dipping sauce.

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