Malays in Singapore
The Malay race is one of the four major races in Singapore and their culture is one steeped in history with their ancestors reportedly being in the area since the 13th century. The Malay population mainly has their roots from Indonesia and Malaysia and their cuisine is known for their liberal use of spices and aromatics indigenous to the region such as galangal and lemongrass and ingredients such as coconut milk and belacan (shrimp paste)
Begedil is the term used to refer to deep fried potato patties that can commonly be found as a popular snack at a Malay stall or restaurant in Singapore. It is also often served as one of the side dishes for Nasi Padang (steamed rice served with cooked dishes). In this story, we feature two versions of this moreish snack: one from Chef Mel Dawi from Nusantara Cuisine (171 Telok Ayer) and early childhood educator Norsiah Mohamed who shares her family’s recipe.
Begedil (Chef’s Version)
From: Mel Dawi, Nusantara Cuisine (171 Telok Ayer Street)
800g Potatoes. Waxy potatoes scrubbed clean and sliced thickly.
60g Shallots, sliced, fried.
80g minced beef (lightly stir fry with a clove of crushed garlic and salt/pepper, drain excess liquid and set aside)
3 Stalks Spring Onion, sliced
1 (or 2 if adventurous) red chillies, chopped
A bunch of Coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg powder
1 beaten egg
1.Fry sliced shallots till golden brown. Set aside. Do not discard the shallot oil, throw them with the potatoes as well for extra kick!
2.Deep fry the potato slices until they becomes a beautiful golden colour.
3.Mash the fried potatoes with a fork or a masher. Leave some chunks, give your patties some bite!
4.Add fried shallots, spring onions, chillies, minced meat and coriander into the mashed potatoes. Mix well.
5.At this stage, add nutmeg powder then taste and adjust with salt and pepper to your liking.
6.Scoop some of the mashed potatoes (with a small ice cream scoop for example) and make them into thick patties.
7.Heat up enough oil for deep frying – medium heat.
8.Beat egg in a bowl.
9.Dip the begedil into beaten eggs, one at a time. And then fry the begedil till golden brown.
10.Drain off excess oil before serving.
Begedil (Home Recipe, pictured)
From: Norsiah Mohamed
Ingredients (Yields 20):
6 to 8 medium sized potatoes that have been peeled, washed and cut into 1cm slices.
100grams minced beef, stir-fried with a tablespoon of oil till cooked (optional).
3 stalks spring onions, finely chopped.
4 tablespoons fried shallots.
1 tsp salt (add more if needed).
1 tsp pepper.
1 egg (for egg wash).
Oil for deep frying.
1. Heat up oil in a frying pan (it should cover the sliced potatoes).
2. Fry the potatoes, in small batches until just cooked.
3. Once all the potatoes are all fried, place them in a large mixing bowl.
4. Set aside the frying pan and oil for later.
5. Mash up the potatoes using either a pounder or masher.
6. Add the chopped spring onions, fried shallots, salt and pepper.
7. Combine the mixture using large spatula or by hand (with cooking gloves).
8. Once all the ingredients are evenly distributed and well mixed, taste-test and add salt accordingly.
9. Take a handful of the potato mixture and firmly shape it into a ball. Slightly flatten it to ease frying. Continue with the rest of the mixture.
10 .Heat up the oil for frying (medium fire to avoid burning)
11. Beat the egg, dip the potato cutlets in it and ensure it is evenly coated with the egg wash. Transfer immediately into frying pan.
12. Fry in small batch of 5 to 6 balls. Make sure the potato cutlets are slightly firm before flipping over. This is to prevent the ball from breaking apart.
13. Once the potato cutlets turn golden brown, remove and strain over kitchen paper to remove excess oil.