Sunday, February 6, 2011
I grew up calling them Begedil. But my Indonesian helper says it's Bergedil. What do you call them?
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.