Malaysian Monday 88: Cucur Badak (Hippo fritters)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


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 :)

12 comments:

Fiona said...

Shaz, apologies for being a bit slack on the commenting front these last few weeks - just catching up on all your delicious posts now my exams are finished! These look yummo!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a cute name-hippo fritters! And I'm with you, I see how much oil I use for one item and don't like the wastage. They still turned out perfect!

Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) said...

Agree on the cute name! In fact, the roundness make them look kind of cute too. :D Reading the ingredients list is making me hungry...

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I always wondered why it is call cucur basal too no resemblance of badak at all. Nampak sedap.

shaz said...

Fiona - Please don't apologise, I totally understand where you are coming from!

Lorraine - I think they do look kind of cute too :)

Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) - lovely to meet you.

Malay-Kadazan girl - terima kasih. Actually I was surprised, very sedap, dah baham semua :)

grace said...

what a neat treat! the filling sounds dreamy, and it's wrapped in something equally if not more appealing!

Beth said...

Your fritters look great, and of course anything with sweet potatoes is a winner.

pierre said...

love these fritters have a good week end !!pierre

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

Love your filling choice and they look awesome.

Barbara said...

That was the first thing I thought of, Shaz,.... size. These yummy snacks are a BIG mouthful!

Juliana said...

So cute these hippo-fritters...love the name, and they sure look so good, coconut and spicy.
Have a great week ahead Shaz :-)

shaz said...

Thanks everyone:)