Cooking log 43 : Cucur Udang – Malaysian Prawn Fritters

Street food is one of the things i miss the most about Malaysia. Among them Cucur Udang is one that holds sweet childhood memories…well technically memories of begging my mum to buy it for me and sneakily buying them when i am old enough to go out on my own with pocket money.

Some time ago, I bought some small prawns called “Jyako Ebi”, means random small prawn, online and it somehow reminded me of Cucur Udang as small prawns on it was its signature look. In Malaysia, prawns too small for main dish were used and in some cases only there were only the prawn head. Not able to shake away the craving, i went online to search fro recipe as i had never done this before. Praise to the internet, i found a nice recipe.

Cucur Udang is fundamentally deep-fried wheat flour batter with dry yeast and sugar for fluffiness, seasoned with turmeric and salt. I added paprika and cumin seed on top of the original recipe. The batter needs to rest for 30 minutes to allow the yeast to work, so i made the batter first so i could use the waiting time to prepare the fillings. I used 300g of flour with 400ml of luke warm water. Yeast was dissolved in the water with some sugar before mixing.

As time passed the batter became sticker. Seen that it was ready to go, chopped shallot, scallion, carrot, red chillies, green chillies, small dried shrimps and bean sprout were stirred in.

Next is the frying part which i have no photos as it was quite dangerous to take photos while dealing with hot oil on my own so please use imagination. I started with heating up the oil then heating a steel ladle in it. When the ladle was of similar temperature to the oil, I took it out and poured some batter in it. Next i placed a few prawns on top of the batter then carefully placed the ladle back into the hot oil. After frying for 30 seconds, the cucur can be easily detached from the ladle and flipped over to fry the other side while i moved onto making the next piece. The cucur needs to be fried until both sides are golden brown and the middle is cooked.

I have encountered a small problem on trying to get the middle cooked by frying. As i live alone in a tiny apartment in Tokyo, i do not own proper frying equipment. I was frying with my soup pan which means i can only fry 1 piece at a time. High temperature is needed when dropping in a new piece to immediately solidify the crust and prevent it soaking up too much oil. I made the mistake of having the batter too thick so to fry until the middle is cooked and not burnt it prematurely, a slightly lower temperature was required. Adjusting heat for each pieces was not practical nor did i have that much time on my hand, and i also did not want oily cucur!

There came my usual trick with this kind of situation, use the oven for finishing! So i fried the cucur until it took shape and have nice crust. Then it was taken out of the oil onto a larger pan on low heat to keep it warm, and make room for the next piece. After finished frying all, i roasted them in the oven at 160°C for about 25mins to cook the middle and remove any excessive oil.

I think i did quite well for first try. I figure i would do bite size next time instead with a spoon if i ever attempt again. Main task now is to ensure that i do not devour too much of it in one go as, well, it is deep-fried street food so the calories count is….ahem….you know.

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