Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mixed Veggies Fritter (Bala-Bala)

Bala-Bala is another street food found mainly in Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta. It consists of shredded cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, and onions mixed together in a batter and then deep fried. What you end up with is a savory and delicious snack!

I'm not quite sure exactly where the name bala-bala comes from. I always imagined it could be because of its shape -- after it's been deep fried it somewhat resembles spider legs and a spider is called "laba-laba" in Indonesian...perhaps the name was tweaked into Bala-Bala? I don't know...this is completely my own theory! :) Some people also call it "bakwan," although if you're from Surabaya (East Java), bakwan is a completely different type of food...which reminds me of a funny story. I am originally from Jakarta and my husband was born and raised in Surabaya. The first time we talked about our love for bakwan, we were confused about what the other was talking about because our description of "bakwan" were completely different! Then we started arguing about which 'bakwan' was the original version. :)

Makes about 20

4-5 C. shredded cabbage (about 1/2 small cabbage)
8 oz. bag of bean sprouts
1/4 C. shredded carrots
3 green onion stalks (cut into thin strips)
1 t. minced garlic
1 egg
1-1/2 C. flour
3 T. tapioca starch
1 t. baking powder
2 T. chicken bouillons
3 T. sugar
black pepper to taste
2-3 T. water
vegetable/olive oil for frying

Cooking instruction:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. At the beginning, the batter will seem dry and needs more water. Don't worry, as you mix, the vegetables will release its water. But if you feel it's still too dry you can add another tablespoon of water.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Place 4 generous spoonfuls of the veggie batter around the pan. Turn over after 3-4 minutes or when it starts turning light brown. Continue until all batter is used up.
3. Serve hot with Thai chili.

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