Corn fritter & vegetable salad with peanut sauce

Corn fritter & vegetable salad with peanut sauce


Street Food Asia
4–6 As part o f a shared me al
Alan Benson

Kota is the name of Jakarta’s old town, and it’s where you really see the influence of the Dutch. I love the history around here; there are monuments and statues, old wooden framed doorways in picturesque buildings and a big town square from when the Dutch ruled Batavia, as Jakarta was once known. Around here too is some great street food and I am drawn to a cluster of women, sitting around baskets of blanched vegetables. There’s a different one in each basket and they include cassava leaves, snake beans, water spinach and bean sprouts. The women serve these, mixed on a plate, with the crispiest of corn fritters and a lovely peanut sauce flavoured with tamarind, galangal, shallots, makrut, chilli and shrimp paste.


Quantity Ingredient
200g bean sprouts
200g snake beans, cut into 2 cm lengths
200g cassava leaves
200g water spinach, cut into 5 cm lengths
1 litre see method for ingredients, vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 handful indonesian red prawn crackers, (kerupuk merah; see glossary)
2 lebanese cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced

Corn fritters

Quantity Ingredient
2 corn cobs
75g plain flour
40g rice flour
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 eggs
4 red asian shallots, diced
1 long red chilli, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper

Peanut sauce

Quantity Ingredient
300g skin-on peanuts
2 garlic cloves
10 long red chillies
5 bird’s eye chillies
3 red asian shallots
5 makrut leaves (kaffir lime)
1 teaspoon sea salt
4cm piece of galangal, peeled
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, (with the seeds; not tamarind purée)
100g liquid palm sugar (see glossary) or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
1 teaspoon shrimp paste


  1. Briefly blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water, drain and set aside. Repeat with the snake beans, cassava leaves and water spinach.
  2. In a large wok, heat the oil to a medium–high heat, around 170°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds. Flash-fry the prawn crackers in 3 batches for a few seconds, just until they fluff up. Drain well on paper towels, keeping the wok and oil in place.
  3. For the peanut sauce, add the peanuts to the hot oil and deep-fry for 20 seconds until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and allow to cool, then transfer to a large mortar and pound with a pestle to form a coarse paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl to cool.
  4. While the peanuts are cooling, add the garlic, chillies and shallots to the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, then transfer to the mortar together with the makrut leaves, salt and lesser galangal and pound to a coarse paste. Add the tamarind pulp, palm sugar and shrimp paste and pound until fine, then return the cooled peanut paste to the mortar and mix everything together well. Transfer 250 ml of the combined paste to a bowl, pour over 500 ml warm water and stir together to form a sauce.
  5. To make the corn fritters, cut the corn kernels away from the cobs using a sharp knife and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add all the remaining fritter ingredients together with 150 ml water and mix well to form a fairly thick batter.
  6. Return the oil for deep-frying to 170°C. With oiled hands, shape the fritters into six 8 cm round discs with a thickness of 2 cm. Carefully slide the fritters into the hot oil, in batches if necessary, and fry for 5–6 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  7. To assemble the salad, slice the corn fritters into bite-sized pieces and arrange them on a serving platter. Top with the bean sprouts, snake beans, cassava leaves, water spinach and cucumber, spoon over 3–4 tablespoons of the peanut sauce and serve with red prawn crackers and the extra sauce on the side for dipping.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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