Sunday, February 6, 2011

Begedil Or Bergedil?

I grew up calling them Begedil. But my Indonesian helper says it's Bergedil. What do you call them?
Pin It

The other day, I tweeted that "making bergedils is a lot easier than styling or photographing them". It was right after I had arranged and re-arranged these unphotogenic potato patties on 3 different plates. Dull, greasy food just makes for challenging photography, doesn't it? Give me pretty desserts any day!

I know it looks jarring to have a non-Chinese New Year dish thrust onto the (virtual) table, especially when we are all still swimming in pineapple tarts and sugee cookies but that's precisely my point. Let's take a break from CNY goodies for a while and look at other food!

Now, this is not the first time I have blogged about begedils/bergedils. However, a reader recently wrote to me, asking why her potato patties could not hold their shape while frying, and which instead, "melted" into the oil. Coincidentally, since I made this dish, I thought I'd share some tips on how to get the perfect begedil/bergedil:

1. Use potatoes are that not too floury, otherwise you will have a tough time trying to shape them. And they are not going to make tasty patties either. Imagine biting into mush. Hmmm, not very nice.

2. When mashing your potatoes, mash only about 70%. Leave the other 30% in rough chunks. This helps the patties hold their shape, and provides some 'bite'.

3. I find that pre-fried potatoes (as opposed to pre-steamed or pre-boiled) gives the best texture.

Eating begedils/bergedils is an occasional indulgence (or at least, it should be). This is certainly not diet food, and if you are squeamish about oil and carbs, erm, you can stop reading at this point ... though bear in mind that your "healthy" zucchini chocolate bread or "healthy" carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting) aren't exactly angels either! ;)

- 700g peeled potatoes (use slightly firmer ones), cut into small pieces
- 150g fry shallots (sliced)
- 3 to 4 stalks spring onions, chopped
- Pinches of salt and white pepper to taste
- 1 beaten egg

My favourite all-purpose potato - the Indonesian Brastagi.

(Left) Spring onions: use the green parts. (Right) Shallots: use plenty.

(Top left) Fry shallots in oil till crisp and golden. Drain and spread them out to cool.

(Top right) Using the same shallot oil, fry the potatoes. You can cut them into slices, chunks, wedges, doesn't matter. They are going to be mashed up, anyway.

(Bottom right) Drain the potatoes and then mash. Leave about 30% of the potatoes very roughly mashed, ie, still chunky. This gives the patties a nice bite, and also helps hold their shapes better. Mix in the shallots, spring onions, salt and pepper. Taste test at this stage, but resist the urge to eat them all. Mmmm ...

(Bottom right) Shape the potatoes into palm sized patties, dip in beaten egg and fry. You need to shallow fry them, so you can't hold back on the oil. The patties should be semi-submerged in oil.
Hello? Anyone still here?

Drain the begedils/bergedils of excess oil before serving. You can make these a day ahead and keep them chilled in the fridge, and then reheated again in a toaster ovenette. But seriously, with that incredible aroma, you'd want to start eating when they are straight off the pan.
Pin It


  1. Ju these look just beautiful and delicious!
    Gorgeous pics my friend!

  2. n we call it Aloo tikki :-)
    LOVE it any day and not photogenic?? Please! Love the top shot!

  3. we called it Perkedel in Indonesian.

  4. I love love love begedils! Yours look amazing :) Making me crave for some right now...

  5. hi ju,

    i've been you silent reader - nice blog that u have! thks for sharing all the great recipes and infos - such a great help for beginer like me :P

    i'm indonesian and back in indonesia, we call this "perkedel"

    yours looks nice! shall give it a try
    thks :)

  6. Hi Ju - your begedils look great!

  7. I've never heard of this dish before. Thanks for the tips and I think it looks great! I agree though that oily foods can be hard to photograph as they get that dull look quickly. But yours look fresh and yummy in my opinion!

  8. I have no idea what it is called but it looks delicious and thanks for the tips :)

  9. Good tips for those who want to make these potato patties! I usually stuff them with some minced meat which my daughters love.

  10. I call it Begedil but I know some Malaysians call it Bergedil. We always pre-fry the potatoes before shaping them for the final fry not only to maintain it's shape but to add flavor. I like mine a bit more brown but yours look pristine, great to go with a bowl of steaming soto ayam!

  11. Lady, you could make a rock look tasty... gorgeous pictures and fun recipe.. who doesn't like fried potatoes! I always despair over shooting lots of brown blobs (ok, 1/2 of what we eat goes under that heading). Trying to make them look good takes patience and added textures and colors... in the end we are our own worst critics!

  12. You're kidding right? Unphotogenic? Come on! hey look delicious and attractive:) and the raw ingredients too!

  13. Hi Ju, i think it's a begedil..even some called them pegedil..

    I just made them n yup very nice on it's own or other main courses..

    Nice pic!

  14. I am Indonesian, we called them perkedel, but my grandma called them bergedil.

  15. These look so tasty and I imagine they would be seeing that the ingredients are first fried, combined and then fried again! Yum!

  16. Gong Xi Fa Cai, Ju! I loooove bergedil (that's what I call them) and they are a staple for me whenever I have nasi padang. Really craving them after looking at your photos, though!

  17. I call it delicious ;) love potato patties. Happy CNY to you and your loved ones :)

  18. We called it perkedel here in Indonesia. Love to have it with Indonesian chicken soup (soto ayam). Very mouthwatering pictures! They are so 'yummygenic' for me hehehe :D

  19. Have you ever been to Brastagi? I recalled when I visited that place long time ago, it was a beautiful town with tons of flowers and very nice weather.

    My family recipe of Perkedel or Begedel usually adds the mixture with shrimp or ground beef or corned beef.

  20. I am an Indonesian, and I called it 'Perkedel'. I believe the word came from Dutch, 'Frikadel', means 'frying meatball' or something like that

  21. Love to read ur posts as they are 'deliciously' funny!! Will try this soon n thanks for the tips!

  22. Hi

    I been a silent reader of your blog till now. Because I can't resist potato patties and I am so curious on how it i made! I do not really care about the name of it for now. I have a few questions on making them:

    1) after frying slices of them, how do you mash them up (using what)?

    2) Dun we need to use flour or something else to hold the potatoes together?

    3)beaten egg to coat the outer layer, can we use egg white only?

    Thanks for answering my questions

    Please keep posting your wonderful cooking methods, I really enjoy your blog posts!

    Yours Sincerely,

    ps: gong Xi Fa Cai

  23. Hi everybody! Thanks for dropping by, and for your lovely, cute comments ... made me laugh. :)

    FoodieFC: Wow, I managed to get you out of hiding and talk. LOL. To answer your questions:
    1) Mash with fork.
    2) No flour. That's why homemade taste better, cos NO flour!
    3) Egg white only? Erm, this one I am really not sure cos I never tried that. But I *think* it is possible, tho it could affect the taste. An eggy coating adds to the aroma, I feel. ;)

  24. PS: A special hello to all my Indonesian readers! :D

  25. After having the great honour of eating your bergedils, I now REFUSE to eat any others!

  26. This looks delicious and loving the picture. Gonna have to make this ^_^

  27. My mum who is Indonesian brought me up calling them 'Perkadel'.

  28. How delicious Ju! And now they are all I feel like for dinner lol :P

  29. I think your pictures are beautiful! I think in the USA, we'd have to use yukon gold potatoes as those are not starchy potatoes. Are these light or heavy tasting?

  30. I call it Begedil and I love them! I am a strange creature when it comes to Begedil - I will order them as a side dish together with rice when I visit Malay rice/Nasi Padang stall :)

    Don't care about the carbs anymore!

  31. hello ...

    indonesian people called it 'perkedel' from dutch 'frikadel'.


  32. wow thanks paulina! that's what my mum calls them too :)

  33. Well, I am a dummy and have never heard of the name begedils OR bergedils so I will believe whatever you tell me!! But an amazing, delicious, and fan-tabulous potato pancake by any other name would taste as sweet. (To badly paraphrase Shakespeare) Which is to say - these look amazing and you managed to style them quite prettily as well!

  34. Hi

    I was looking at your bergedil with envy. I made once but it became disintegrated during frying process and turned to a mushy slush. Then my ever helpful helper told me that I should mix the egg in the batter instead of dipping it. Anyway will give your method a try.


  35. Thanks to your recipe! I made these last weekend but i added corned beef.Yummy! It is sure a lot of hard work /effort just to make these few patties. But next time i will cut the potato slices thinner so that its will be easier to mash because i had quite a hard time trying to mash them after it had been fried.:X as i cut them too thick.

    We then bought the mee soto/soto ayam so that we can dip them in the soup.:)

  36. So nice to find an Indonesian food in your blog... I'm Indonesian n call it Bergedil too, because im from East Jave (so its Javanese accent of Perkedel) maybe your helper is from East Java too. i think its Dutch adapted food that originally named Frikadel (now thats make sense where this funny name came from)
    I usually use Some garlic, many shallots (fry & mash them all together) then mix them with mash fried potato, ground beef, pepper, little bit of sugar, salt, ground Pala (nutmeg? Idk), egg yolk, little bit of flour. Dip it in white egg first then fry it... Its really Good!! Just try it..

  37. I'm so very wanna make this after I've seen this post. Thanks for the recipe! It would definitely be good if it goes with soto ayam. Hehe...