My aunty Tje Ie in Kupang, Timor, loves to make these when she has visitors – a tradition I’ve carried over to my home in London. Juicy, chunky kernels of corn come together with fragrant spices and aromatics to form these delicious fritters. They keep for up to 2 days in the fridge and, if prepared in advance, are best reheated in the oven for 10 minutes at 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3.
If using canned or frozen corn, squeeze out as much moisture as possible – the easiest way is in between layers of paper towels.
Origin Popular all over Indonesia
Chilli heat Mild
- Place the chillies, garlic, ginger, shallots and tomatoes in a food processor and blend to a semi-fine paste, retaining a little texture.
- Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the paste to the pan and cook, stirring continuously, for 10–15 minutes or until the sambal darkens, is fragrant and reduces to a thick consistency. Season with the tamarind paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Leave to cool.
- If using fresh corn, remove the outer husk and threads, then carefully slice down the outside of the cob with a knife, as close to the core as possible, to remove the kernels. Set them aside.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, chillies and shallots and fry, stirring, for 10 minutes. Blend to a medium-fine paste in a small food processor with the spring onions and kaffir lime leaves, if using. Mix the spice paste with the corn kernels in a bowl and add the coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and eggs. Stir well to combine, then add the cornflour.
- Fill a deep saucepan one-third full with oil. Heat the oil to 180°C. (If you do not have a kitchen thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 15 seconds.) Carefully drop a dessertspoonful of the batter into the hot oil – it should settle into a roughly circular shape. Repeat to make 6–8 fritters, without overcrowding the pan. Fry until golden all over, about 4 minutes. Test one to ensure it is cooked through. Transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat to use up all the mixture, topping up the oil if needed. Serve immediately, with sambal or chilli sauce to dip, if using.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a high heat until the oil shimmers. Add spoonfuls of the corn mixture to the oil, flattening them lightly. Turn over after 2–3 minutes – they should be golden all over. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and cook in the oven for 5–10 minutes – test one to ensure it is cooked through. Drain any excess oil on paper towels and serve.
Reprinted from Coconut & Sambal by arrangement with Bloomsbury Publishing. Copyright © 2020, Lara Lee. Photography by Louise Hagger.