Indonesian Perkadel: A New Look at Potato Fritter


Photo Credit: Maurina Rara

Perkadel is an Indonesian dish that uses firm mashed potatoes as base, and it is frequently made with ground beef. It is one of the most popular street foods in Indonesia, but it is a tidbit you can make at home for a family meal or as part of your canapé tray. Perkadel, alternately called perkedel, begedil, and bergedel, is a popular dish not only in Indonesia but in Java and in Singapore as well.

The Roots of Perkadel

Perkedel Kentang is discussed in Indonesian Food, a website featuring Indonesia’s cuisine. The article partly explains where this dish originates from: “The name “Perkedel” is derived from Netherlands. It’s name “Frikadel”and in Indonesian name we called it “Perkedel”. The dish shows the influence of the Netherlands in the art of Indonesian cooking. In the history of the Indonesia, Netherlands was colonized my country (Indonesia). So this becomes fused with cuisine culinary Indonesia… 
“Original of Perkadel made from mincemeat and then fried, but in Indonesia Perkedel made with potatoes with a little mincemeat. And Now many kinds of Perkedel, some made of tofu, potatoes, Corn and tempeh…”

In The Domestic Man’s  Indonesian Meat and Potato Fritters (Perkedel), Russ Crandell echoes the statement about perkedel’s Dutch origins: “The word Perkedel is actually a derivative of the Dutch word Frikandel, which is a deep-fried sausage that doesn’t have a casing and is often sliced down the middle and stuffed with toppings (the original #hotdogasthebun, in truth). The Dutch first colonized Indonesia, so there is a lot of cool Dutch influence like this in the archipelago (and vice-versa – Indonesian food is wildly popular in The Netherlands).”

Versions of Perkedel

Because more than 88 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, perkedel is usually cooked with beef or chicken – fillings that meet the dietary requirements of the Islamic population. In Potato Frikadel, Perkedal Kentang, the Indochine Kitchen gives its own comment and recipe, saying, “Potato frikadel or perkedel kentang is our answer to mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes is mixed with spices such as shallots, garlic, candlenuts and white pepper. Add in chopped Chinese celery and spring onions, then shaped into patties. Little round patties are then dipped in eggs and deep-fried till golden. The perkedel patties are usual condiment to a special coconut-based chicken soup…”

Preparing Perkedel in the Home Kitchen

One of the fancier versions of perkedel presents the beef filled finished product shaped like large quail’s eggs. Here’s how you can prepare it in your own kitchen. Prepare 750 grams of potatoes, peeled, quartered, fried, and mashed fine.  Prepare two shallots, two cloves of garlic, ground white pepper, two whole eggs, two stalks of spring onions, celery, and 1 ½ pounds of ground beef.

The beef is sautéed lightly and set aside. Then, the garlic and spices are all ground finely before being added to the mashed fried potatoes along with the cooked meat and the egg yolks while the egg whites are set aside. After the potato-beef mixture is shaped into balls, each one is dipped into the egg white and deep fried. Dipping the mixture into the egg whites gives each finished piece a crispy white coat. This makes them different from the usual fritter.

Traditional cooks use a mortar and a pestle to mash the potatoes and spices for this dish, but there is no stopping you from using a food processor if you prefer. The potatoes can be steamed or microwaved instead of fried, but your dough will be rather wet, and that tends to get soggy more quickly. You can make the mixture as early as a day before you fry the patties, which makes it possible to prepare a huge batch if you are expecting company.

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