Wednesday, November 4

Deep-fried Mixed Vegetables

It was in Indonesia when I had this dish for the first time. That was many years ago, my husband had a job assignment in Indonesia and our daughter was only few months old, we resided there for less than a year. We had very nice easy life there with housemaid and chauffeur.

One day our maid made this dish, my husband and I both liked it very much.  The maid told us it was called “goreng sayuran” in Indonesian, it means “deep-fried vegetables” in English.  This is a very common fast food sold at local street vendors.  Normally Indonesian they like to dip with hot chili sauce that was made with various chili peppers.  For us, we like it simply dip in soy sauce with chopped garlic.  This is the best dish I’ve learned in Indonesia though, one because the ingredients needed are very common, secondly, our whole family all love it.  Until now, every time I made this dish, it reminds us of our Indonesian maid, a lively and courteous young woman with very dark skin.

Normally, I like to use carrot (red), potato (yellow), green bean (green) and onion (white) these various vegetables with different colors.  Have them all cut or shredded into strings at about the same size.  These will not only look colorful, have the same texture, and they all get cooked in about the same time.  Sweet potato can also be used to substitute carrot (orange flesh) or potato (white flesh).

1. 2 cups shredded carrot
2. 2 cups shredded potato 
3. 1 cup green beans, cut in 1.5” long sections
4. 1-1/2 cups onion strings
5. ¾ cup flour (all-purpose flour or cake flour)
6. ¾ cup ice-cold water
7. ½ teaspoon baking powder
8. 1 tablespoon oil
9. Frying oil

Dash of salt and ground pepper

Dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1. Have all vegetables cut and shredded, mixed in a big bowl (soak shredded potato in cold water for about 30 seconds, drain and pat dried with paper towel before mixing with other vegetables, this will prevent it turns brown before cooking)
2. Lightly mix ingredients item 5 through 8 to make batter in a small mixing bowl (stop mixing as long as there’s no big lumps).

3. Heat the frying oil to very high, and then lower to medium high.  Add dash of salt and ground pepper in mixed vegetables and mix them well (don’t add too much salt and don’t add it too early, this will prevent too much liquid coming out of vegetables).  Add half of flour batter into the big bowl of vegetables, mix well with a big spoon, make sure every piece of vegetable is coating with flour batter.  A little more can be added until every piece of vegetable is coating with a thin layer of flour batter.  Pick up some batch mixed vegetables with a shallow cooking spoon (about ¾ full, don’t pick up too much batter, Tip 1).  Slowly let the vegetables slide into the oil against the siding of wok with a little pushing by chopsticks, hold the batch with chopsticks for several seconds until the vegetable is being set and formed.  Push the small batch away from siding of wok when one side is turning golden brown, flip side and continue frying (about 1-2 minutes each side). Remove, drain oil, dry excess oil on paper towel.  Do the same for all vegetables, little batch after little batch.
4. Best to serve with dipping sauce while it's warm.

Tip 1: Every small batch of vegetables should weave and stick together consisting of various colors.  Do not fry with too much batter in each spoonful that will form a thick cake at bottom and won’t get the crispy taste.

(pieces on the right are the bottom look with minimum batter)

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