Asian Recipes/ Lunch/ Recipes/ Snack

Bakwan Jagung – Indonesian Corn Fritters

24/09/2020 (Last Updated: 29/09/2020)

Indonesian Corn Fritters (also known as bakwan jagung or perkedel jagung) are surprisingly easy to make with everyday ingredients. Packed with juicy corn kernels and zingy flavour from kaffir lime and ground spices, these Indonesian corn fritters are crispy, crunchy, and totally addictive! Includes delicious dipping sauce ideas. 

A stack of fried corn fritters known as bakwan jagung

Why We Love This

These crispy, golden fried corn fritters are easy to make, with a deliciously savoury flavour and a satisfying crunch.

This generous recipe will make enough Indonesian corn fritters to feed a horde of hungry foodies! It’s also easy to adapt to suit your taste, or double it to feed even more.

The batter can be made in advance, and leftover corn fritters can be frozen and re-heated for another delicious feast. 

Top down view of fried corn fritters on a tray.

What is Bakwan Jagung? 

Bakwan in English means vegetable fritter snack, while jagung means corn. Corn fritters are a super popular street snack in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, where they’re also known as perkedel jagung. You’ll usually find them sold by street vendors, who whip up and fry these tasty snacks on the street or at local food markets.

Where We Learned This Recipe

This recipe for Bakwan Jagung (Indonesian Corn Fritters) comes to you by way of a little detour through Kagoshima, Japan. 

The popular university town sees people flying in from all over the world to study, and we happened to make friends with a group of Indonesian students while staying with our amazing airbnb hosts.

One night they invited us to play angklung – a type of musical instrument made from bamboo – at the University. There were so many languages flying around the room, that at one stage, we were mixing Indonesian, Japanese and English words all together in one sentence. Thankfully everyone understood each other!

A few days later they invited us to a huge gathering with the expat community for a home-cooked feast – and to teach us a few of their delicious Indonesian recipes! 

While the men were in charge of cooking Sate Lilit (minced pork skewers) on tiny charcoal stoves (panggangan), the ladies taught us their treasured recipes. Together we created a feast of epic proportions! There were bowls of fluffy white rice, spicy Sambal Telur (boiled eggs in hot chilli sauce), platters of Gado Gado (steamed veggie salad with peanut sauce) and these delicious golden-fried corn fritters.

With our plates piled high with tasty food and enjoying such amazing company, we could almost have forgotten we were still in Japan!

What You’ll Need

You’ll need a few pantry staples and some fresh veggies for these crispy little fritters:

  • Flour – Regular / all-purpose flour forms the base for the batter. We then add rice flour which helps make the cooked fritters extra crispy! You can substitute rice flour for tapioca flour or corn starch.
  • Veggies – We use canned corn kernels which is easier than slicing fresh corn off the cob, along with fresh shallots, garlic, fresh kaffir lime leaves, cabbage and spring onions (green onions). Feel free to add julienne carrots for crunch or chilli for colour and heat.
  • Seasonings (aka bumbu) – This recipe uses a simple mix of turmeric, salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
Fried corn fritters with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Peanut oil or canola oil are the best choices for frying corn fritters because of their high smoke points. This helps the fritters cook faster and creates a seal to stop the oil soaking through into the batter. 
  • Corn fritters can be served warm or at room temperature depending on your preference. 
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan when cooking. Give each fritter plenty of space to cook evenly. 

FAQs

What other spices / seasonings (bumbu) could I use?

Indonesian style corn fritters include salt, pepper and sugar to taste, as well as ground turmeric, which gives these corn fritters their delicious golden colour. But you could also add ground coriander and/or candlenuts (or macadamia) for a deeper flavour. If using candlenuts, it’s a good idea to toast them in a dry fry pan until a darker colour then blend in a food processor before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

Can I freeze/reheat corn fritters?

Yes, corn fritters can be frozen and reheated in a toaster or frying pan. If possible, avoid microwaving as this will make them soggy.

Can I make them in advance?

Yes, just like pancake or waffle batter, you can make the corn fritter batter up to two days in advance. We often cook half the fritters for lunch, storing the other half of the batter in the fridge to cook up a fresh batch the next day.  

My batter is too watery – what should I do?

The batter is intentionally quite runny, as this ratio makes the fritters crispy once cooked. However if your batter is still too runny, you can add more flour a little at at time until you are happy with the texture. Note that if you add too much flour, your fritters might be softer rather than crispy, more like a pancake. But they’ll still be just as delicious!

Variations & Substitutes

  • Corn – You can use freshly boiled corn to make bakwan jagung if you prefer – if so, just slice it straight off the cob and pop it into your batter.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves – Even though you can buy dried leaves, they are much better fresh. If you can’t find them, just leave them out.
  • Add Extra Veggies – Traditional ingredients include bean shoots, shredded cabbage, julienne carrots and green beans.
  • Add Protein – Try adding finely diced chicken (ayam) or shrimp (udang/ebi)

Dipping Sauce Ideas

Our Indonesian friends loved dipping theirs in tomato sauce/ketchup, or sambal (chilli sauce), but we also love them with:

Bakwan jagung on a tray with dipping sauce, garnished with kaffir lime leaves

Want more colourful Indonesian recipe ideas? Try these:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Close up shot of a stack of corn fritters.

Bakwan Jagung – Indonesian Corn Fritters

Indonesian Corn Fritters (also known as bakwan jagung or perkedel jagung) are surprisingly easy to make with everyday ingredients. Packed with juicy corn kernels and zingy flavour from kaffir lime and ground spices, these Indonesian corn fritters are crispy, crunchy, and totally addictive! Includes delicious dipping sauce ideas. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 20 fritters
Calories: 97kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Equipment

Ingredients

Dipping sauce options:

Instructions

  • Pop all those tasty ingredients in a big bowl except the water, eggs and oil, then give it a quick stir. Next, make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs. Slowly start to mix, adding in water little by little until it’s mixed into a thin and runny batter. If it’s too thick, you won’t get that satisfying crunch, so thinner is definitely better.
  • Now heat up the oil in a large frying pan or wok. You’ll know the oil is hot enough when bubbles appear around a toothpick dipped in the oil.
  • Drop a ladleful of batter into the hot oil (carefully!) and fry until the batter turns a mouth-watering golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side. Feel free to deep-fry a few fritters at a time if you have the space.
  • When fritters are cooked, scoop them out of the oil and drain on a wire rack or paper towel. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  • Keep cooking until all the batter has been used up.
  • Serve hot and crispy with tomato sauce, chilli sauce or kecap manis.

Recipe Notes

Tips to get this recipe just right:
  • Corn – You can use freshly boiled corn to make bakwan jagung if you prefer – if so, just slice it straight off the cob and pop it into your batter.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves – Even though you can buy dried leaves, they are much better fresh. If you can’t find them, just leave them out.
  • Flour – Regular / all-purpose flour forms the base for the batter. We then add rice flour which helps make the cooked fritters extra crispy! You can substitute rice flour for tapioca flour or corn starch.
  • Veggies – We use canned corn kernels which is easier than slicing fresh corn off the cob, along with fresh shallots, garlic, fresh kaffir lime leaves, cabbage and spring onions (green onions). Feel free to add julienne carrots for crunch or chilli for colour and heat.
  • Seasonings (aka bumbu) – This recipe uses a simple mix of turmeric, salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
  • Cooking Oil – Peanut oil or canola oil are the best choice for deep frying corn fritters because of their high smoke points.  This helps the fritters cook faster and creates a seal to stop the oil soaking through the batter. 
  • Add Extra Veggies – Traditional ingredients include bean shoots, shredded cabbage, julienne carrots and green beans.
  • Add Protein – Try adding finely diced chicken (ayam) or shrimp (udang/ebi)
  • Avoid Overcrowding – Give each fritter plenty of space in the pan to cook evenly. 

Nutrition

Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 69IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Bakwan Jagung - Indonesian Corn Fritters

14 Comments

  • Reply
    Gatot Hadi
    25/09/2020 at 10:47 am

    Thank you for highlighting recipes from Indonesia.
    On behalf of the population, we’re honored to be featured on your magnificent website.
    The new hype in town recently is Indonesian kaffir lime rice, people usually eat it with sides and usual Indonesian protein.

    Once COVID is under control and you guys are able to globetrekking, let me know if you happen to be in (my) town, Jakarta. I’ll be your one/two days guide and take you to the less publicised spot with awesome food in here.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      28/09/2020 at 9:24 am

      Terima kasih atas rekomendasinya! Kami sangat senang. We will definitely need to try the Indonesian kaffir lime rice, it sounds delicious!

      That would be so amazing to visit you in Jakarta one day, it’s a city we’ve never been to but definitely want to explore. Just saw on your instagram that you’re a yoga instructor too – I (Laura) love yoga and if you’re keen it would be so fun to practice together too! Til then, stay safe and happy. x

  • Reply
    melissa
    28/11/2016 at 8:51 pm

    5 stars
    I love these! I lived in SE Asia and now I’m forever jonesing for a food fix from the region – absolutely incredible flavors with just simple ingredients.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/11/2016 at 9:27 am

      I know it’s incredible isn’t it Melissa? Amazing what you can achieve with simple, natural ingredients, and almost nowhere does it better than SE Asia!

      • Reply
        John
        29/05/2019 at 11:04 am

        5 stars
        Can you please tell me what is meant by two cabbages? What kind, how large, maybe in terms of cups?

        • Reply
          Wandercooks
          06/06/2019 at 11:42 am

          Hi John, thanks for stopping by. It’s only two cabbage leaves, not whole cabbages. We used savoy cabbage, but you could also use wombok instead. It’s completely up to you! 🙂

  • Reply
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    28/11/2016 at 8:39 pm

    5 stars
    I don’t know much about Indonesian food, but what I have tried I have loved! I am going to have to try these next.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/11/2016 at 9:26 am

      There’s so much flavour and spice to explore in Indonesian Cuisine – happy foodie adventuring! 🙂

  • Reply
    valentina
    28/11/2016 at 3:20 pm

    5 stars
    What a delicious recipe — I’m a huge corn fan and these sound over-the-top! And your photographs are so beautiful!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/11/2016 at 9:26 am

      Cheers Valentina, glad you like them! 🙂

  • Reply
    Christina | Christina's Cucina
    28/11/2016 at 2:28 pm

    Oooh, I adore corn! These look and sound fabulous! Will have to give them a try! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/11/2016 at 9:25 am

      Us too Christina, always love it when there’s leftover corn you don’t need in a recipe – we’ll literally eat it by the spoonful. 😛

  • Reply
    Geoffrey @ Spoonabilities.com
    28/11/2016 at 12:54 pm

    These look delicious. I’ve never had these before. Must try!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/11/2016 at 9:24 am

      Thanks Geoffrey, get ready for the awesomeness! 😛

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