How to cook bakwan sayur (Indonesian vegetable fritters) at home, choosing the vegetable mix, and tips to get crispy bakwan.
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. ♥
Choose your vegetables mix
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 use a mixture of blanched cauliflower, shredded carrots, and thinly sliced scallions. But reallly, there is no fixed rules, so feel free to improvise.
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. Then serve immediately, as is, or with your favorite chili sauce.
Originally published on December 9, 2013. Updated on February 20, 2019 with new photos and tips to get crispy bakwan.
Bakwan Sayur - Vegetables Fritter
5.0 from 11 reviews
Author: Anita Jacobson
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hour
- 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
- 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.
- Add grated garlic and egg into the batter. Mix well.
- Add shredded blanched cauliflower/cabbage, shredded carrot, and sliced scallions into the batter and mix well.
- Put the bakwan batter in the fridge while we heat up the oil to keep the batter as cold as possible.
- 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).
- 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.
- Serve immediately with some Thai chilies, or a combination of tomato sauce and chili sauce.