Perkedel jagung are one of my favorite Indonesian dishes. Usually served as part of a nasi tumpeng, they also make a great appetizer or snack. I usually make them with a little fresh shrimp and kaffir lime leaves as in this recipe, but came across this vegetarian version while in Kediri this summer and thought I'd give it a try. Right now both corn and kemangi (lemon basil) are readily available at the farmer's market, so this is the perfect end of summer dish.
Fried basil is a delicate flare of flavor that enlivens these fritters. The crispness the leaves take on from frying is a nice counterpoint to the sweet corn. For those who want a little more kick, try adding some thinly sliced chilies to the batter.
The only tricky part of this recipe is getting the oil to the right temperature. You want it to be hot enough that the fritters don't absorb too much oil, but not so hot that the fritters brown too much before being cooked through. I fry them in a wok with about an inch of oil with the temperature around 350º F.
adapted from 240 Resep Hindangan Sehari-Hari untuk 2 Bulan
(240 Recipes of Dishes for Every Day for 2 Months)
2 ears of sweet yellow corn
6 small shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
leaves from three stalks of lemon basil
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
vegetable oil for frying
Using a sharp knife, shave the kernels from the corn. Place half the kernels into a mortar and pound to a fairly smooth paste. Add the remaining kernels and pound lightly, preserving the shape of the kernels. Remove the corn to a large bowl.
In the mortar (or a food processor) grind the shallots, garlic, coriander, turmeric, salt, and pepper to a smooth paste. Stir into the corn. Add the lemon basil, flour and egg to the corn and spice mixture. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour about an inch of oil into a wok or pan. Heat over a medium flame to around 350º F. To cook, drop tablespoons of the corn fritter batter into the hot oil. Fry about 2 minutes, then turn the fritters over and fry about two minutes more on the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels. The fritters may be served warm or at room temperature.