Wednesday, July 8, 2009

crackling the krupuk

Krupuk, kropek, keropok… These crackling chips are ubiquitous in East and Southeast Asia. Coming often as prawn crackers, they are served as starters in a lot of Asian restaurants for the diners to munch while they wait for their main courses.

Bali Food- krupuk 0409
a collage of krupuk for sale at a village store in Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia

pink-edged krupuk
orange-edged krupuk

flower krupuk
flower-shaped crackers

In Indonesia though, these crackers are serious business and they come in countless forms, sizes, colors and flavors like nuts, vegetables, fowl, seafood or meat. A visit in a village store in Tabanan, Bali show so much varieties that boggle the eyes. Displayed in sacks or large plastic bags, they literally sell fast as krupuk is basic side dish fare in Bali and is even commonly used as offering.

krupuk with peanuts? tempe?
krupuk with what seem to be peanuts, beans or tempe

typical fish krupuk
fish-flavored krupuk

pink krupuk with yellow trim
pink krupuk with yellow trim

As for me, I often would bring pack of krupuk of the Tanjung brand. These are not available in the supermarket though and I have to order them from Sidoarjo, East Java. This city is probably one of the most renowned centers of manufacture of Indonesian krupuk although I hear that West Java’s Garut produces fine krupuk as well.

a typical crowd jostling to buy krupuk at the Tanjung store in Sidoarjo, East Java

colored krupuk
colored krupuk

Recipes vary from shop to shop but the basic ingredients are the same: tapioca flour, egg, sugar, salt, spices and flavor essence. These are mixed in large vats and then the dough is rolled thin, steamed, and then sliced or cut before sun-drying. The krupuk are sold wafer-thin but they expand like popcorn when deep-fried. As expected, these crackers absorb so much oil during frying so they are not the healthiest food. But like many fans of the krupuk, I am not complaining.

yellow trimmed krupuk
multicolored-trimmed krupuk

basic krupuk
plain krupuk

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