Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rempeyek--Fried Crisps

Rempeyek, often simply called peyek in Java, are rice flour based crisps that are wonderful with beer or other adult beverages. The most common is rempeyek kacang--peanut rempeyek. Peanuts are added to a batter of rice flour, garlic, salt and other spices, and then the batter is ladled onto the side of a wok and after a minute the lacy crisp is nudged into hot oil and fried. Rempeyek are also popular in Malaysia, but they are more likely to contain cumin and to be cooked slightly thicker in a saucer-like mold. Small fish--ikan teri or ikan bilis--are often added to the batter. In Java they also make rempeyek bayam, dipping bayam (Indonesian spinach) in the batter and frying it--kind of like tempura. In Cepu, Central Java, where I lived for several years, they would make rempeyek with flying ants on nights when there was an abundance of those insects--I believe it was during nights of unusually high humidity and the insects would swarm around street lights.
The key to producing light, lacy rempeyek is to slowly ladle the batter on the side of the wok above the oil line. For this reason you want to use a gently sloping wok. For a demonstration of how to do this, watch this video, which also provides a slightly different recipe.

Rempeyek Kacang--Peanut Crisps
(recipe adapted from Indonesian Food and Cookery by Sri Owen)

250 grams (8 oz) peanuts
2 kemiri (candlenuts)
2 tsp ground coriander
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
120 grams (4 oz) rice flour
vegetable oil for frying

Pound the kemiri, coriander, garlic, and salt in a mortar until you have a fairly smooth paste. Mix the paste with the rice flour and then slowly stir in the water. You should have a fairly thick, cream-like batter.

Lightly pound or chop the peanuts. Some people like bigger pieces; my wife insists they should be coarsely ground.

Heat the oil in a wok to about 350º. Sprinkle several teaspoons of peanuts into a ladle of batter. Draw the ladle around the side of the wok above the oil. You are aiming to form a thin skin of batter just above the oil. After about thirty seconds, nudge the peyek off the wok into the hot oil. Cook for a minute or so, and then carefully lift the finished crisp out of the oil and drain on paper towels.

As long as you don't live where there's high humidity, the crisps should last several days stored in a cannister--if you can keep yourself from devouring them.

An even lighter crisp can be made with bayam. Simply dip the leaves in the batter and fry.

If you use ikan teri (ikan bilis), cut back on the amount of salt in the batter.

Get the flash player here:


  1. I love rempeyek. I used to watch my mum make rempeyek during Ramadan in time for Eid. This year, my mum is teaching me how to make them. Yours look delicious.

  2. high over happy,
    Your so lucky to have your mum teach you how to make them. They are really quite simple, but the technique of frying theme does take some practice. Having them on hand during Ramadan would seem a real test of one's willpower. I imagine they would be a nice way to break the fast with kolak perhaps.

  3. comel la gambar u dgn pilis jawa tu. kak jah pun jawa jugak.


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