Happy Tuesday. Ordinarily I would be quite apologetic about the fact that this Malaysian Monday post was delayed. But this year, post scheduling will be very erratic (as explained here), and I’d prefer not to start each post with a mea culpa. For the record, this year Malaysian Monday will not be very regular at all. It will probably not appear weekly, and it might not even be on a Monday. But I will still post whenever I can, and most importantly, the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday event that I host with 3 Hungry Tummies will still definitely go on. This month, I’ll be compiling the round-up, which will be posted on the first Monday in February. So get cooking and send your entries in to its(dot)sharon(at)gmail(dot)com.
Now back to the fritters. I’d never understood why these fritters were called cucur badak (badak is the Malay word for hippo). They didn’t contain meat, and no matter how hard I squinted, couldn’t see the hippo resemblance. Then I read this post by Zurin of Cherry on a Cake. Zurin explained that these fritters (or bites as she calls them) are usually much bigger than other bites, hence the name.
Well, lucky they are huge because I just love these snacks! The cucur is pretty simple to make too. A dough of sweet potato and flour is wrapped around a spicy coconut filling then deep fried. Or shallow fried in my case (I don’t deep fry things very often as I dislike the “waste” of oil for such a small scale production of food).
You can check out Zurin’s post for a proper recipe, I’ll just give you the measurements I used. As I mention very often, Malaysian cooking is very imprecise, everyone does their own thing and agak-agak (guesswork) as they go along. For the dough, I used about 2 cups of leftover baked sweet potato and slightly less than 1 cup plain AP flour, and pinch of salt. It helps if the potatoes are warm before mashing and mixing with the flour. After making the dough, it’s helpful to let the dough rest for a while to relax the gluten, otherwise the balls could end up really tough.
For the filling, I used 1/3 of a large red onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 red chilli, 1 stalk of lemongrass (white part only), about a tablespoon of dried prawns (soaked, drained well, then chopped) and 3/4 cup dried dessicated coconut. These bites are usually made with fresh grated coconut, but if you can’t find fresh, I’ve found that the dried stuff works but you will need to add a little water from time to time when cooking. I can’t really tell you how much water to add, it will depend on the “wetness” of your spice paste as well. The finished filling should be dry with only the slightest bit of moistness in it. Obviously you can also adjust the amount of chillies used, I kept the filling mild so MC Senior could eat it, but if you have hotheads at your place, scale up the chilli amount as you see fit :). (You will end up with slightly more filling than needed but follow Zurin's advice and freeze the rest. It's really not worth scaling the filling down any more,)
If you’re pressed for time, you can fill the cucur and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge overnight, which is what I did. Let them come to room temperature before frying. The cucur taste best when served warm, although we thought they were still pretty delicious at room temperature. If spicy is not your thing, the sweet potato dough can be made into doughnuts (also known as kuih keria), another favourite snack of mine, and you can check out that post here.
(Cucur before frying)
Thanks for dropping by, and have a great start to the week :)