Cucur udang recipe- How to make Malaysian prawn fritters

Cucur udang is the Malaysian version of prawn fritters, hugely popular street food that you can find at Pasar Malam (night markets), Ramadhan bazaars, and hawker stores. It has a crunchy exterior when fresh from the wok, with a soft interior filled with various vegetables.

When frying, the prawns are usually placed on top and sometimes embedded in the batter. Some hawkers use small prawns with the tail and shell intact and fry them until crispy, while others prefer only uses the prawn meat.

Cucur udang is unique and worth making at home. It can be a surprise for your family and an amazing snack for your guest for any special occasion.

Here is the step-by-step instruction on making cucur udang (Malaysian-style prawn fritter).

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Cucur udang has a crunchy exterior and soft interior. It is popular street food in Malaysia, a must-try Asian style prawn fritters.

1. Prepare the batter for cucur udang

The batter of the prawn fritter consists of a base using plain flour (all-purpose flour), mixed with bean sprouts, Chinese chives, carrots, and small onions dice.

  1. Slice the carrot into 1/4 cm thick, then julienne.
  2. Cut the Chinese chive into one-inch sections. You may want to use spring onions as the substitute if chive is not available.
  3. Measure about 1/4 cup of bean sprouts. Some recipes use jicama instead of bean sprouts, which provide crunchiness when biting into the fritters. Cut the jicama (sengkuang in Malay) into julienne if you use it as the alternative to bean sprouts.
  4. Cut a small onion into small dice, about a quarter cup.
  5. Place the plain flour and the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Season the above ingredients with salt and turmeric powder, and add a teaspoon of active dry yeast as the leavening agent.
  7. Add 1.5 cups (375ml) of water to the above mixture slowly and combine all the ingredients into a thick batter. The amount of water is only a rough guide, as you may need more than that or less. The ideal amount is when it is enough to form a thick batter, with consistency as shown in the video in this article.
  8. Leave the batter at room temperature for a least 15 minutes before deep-frying the prawn fritter. 

Note:

  • The standing time before deep-frying depends on how active the yeast is. Generally, it will take at least 15 minutes or longer before the leavening power is enough to puff up the fritter slightly during deep-frying. You can deep-fry one fritter to check whether the yeast is already active and working well before cooking the whole batch.
  • Turmeric powder provides some flavor and helps to produce a yellow-to-golden, a signature color of cucur udang.

2. Deep-fry the prawn fritters

  1. Heat some vegetable oil to medium heat. I suggest using oil with high smoking points such as corn oil, canola oil, peanut oil, or palm oil. They are stable even at high heat and have a neutral flavor. The temperature of the oil should be 180°C/350°F, and it is best if you can maintain it at this point throughout the cooking process with a kitchen thermometer.
  2. Place a stainless steel ladle in the hot oil until thoroughly heated. 
  3. Add some batter into the hot ladle, and then place the prawn on top, and press slightly so prevent it from falling off during deep-frying,
  4. Place the ladle with the batter into the oil, undisturbed for a least one minute until the exterior of the batter starts to set. You can dislodge them from the ladle when it is set with a gentle push with a spoon or wooden chopsticks.
  5. The fritters will start to expand and eventually float to the surface. Continue deep-fry the fritters until golden brown.
  6. When the fritters turn golden, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.

Note:

  • You need to use enough oil to deep-fry the prawn fritters, which allows them to float freely on the surface.
  • You can add two prawns on top if you are using small prawns.
  • The batter will expand during deep-frying and push the prawn placing on top outwards. Therefore, you should press the prawn firmly into the batter to ensure it is partially embedded to avoid it from dropping off from the fritter during cooking.
Cucur udang has a crunchy exterior and soft interior. It is popular street food in Malaysia, a must-try Asian style prawn fritters.

3. Make a chili sauce as the dipping sauce for cucur udang

Cucur udang is good on its own but is better when served with a dipping sauce.

There are two typical dipping sauces for the prawn fritters. The first is a peanut sauce, similar to those served with satay. The second one is a sweet chili sauce which I prefer. Here is how to make the chili sauce:

  1. Cut the dried chili into sections to remove the seeds.
  2. Soak the deseeded chili in hot water until soft to facilitate blending.
  3. Blend the chili with some water to form a smooth chili paste.
  4. Heat the chili paste in a pan, then add the chopped garlic, Malaysian chili sauce, white vinegar, palm sugar, and salt.
  5. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry.

Note:

  • Use store-bought chili paste if you do not want to make your chili paste. It is available in every grocery store and market in Malaysia. You can also explore using part dried and part fresh chili to suit your taste.
  • The Malaysian chili sauce I refer to is the Maggi chili sauce widely available in Malaysia. You can omit it if it is unavailable.
  • Palm sugar has a unique aroma, but brown sugar is equally workable.

Prep Time
20 minutes

Cook Time
15 minutes

Total Time
35 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients A (for cucur udang)

Ingredients B (for chili sauce)

Ingredients C

  • Peanut oil for deep-frying

Instructions

For the cucur udang

  1. Place ingredients A in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine to form a thick batter.
  3. Leave the batter at room temperature for a least 15 minutes.
  4. Heat some peanut oil to medium heat. 
  5. Place a metal ladle in the hot oil until thoroughly heated. 
  6. Add some batter into the hot ladle, and then place the prawn on top, and press slightly so prevent it from falling off during deep-frying,
  7. Place the ladle with the batter into the oil, undisturbed for a least one minute until the exterior of the batter starts to set. 
  8. Remove the prawn fritter from the ladle, and let it float to the surface. Continue deep-fry the fritters until golden brown.
  9. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.

For the chili sauce

  1. Remove the seeds from the dried chilies, them soak them with hot water until soft. Blend the chilies with some water with a blender to form the chili paste.
  2. Heat the chili paste in a pan, then add the chopped garlic, Malaysian chili sauce, white vinegar, palm sugar, and salt.
  3. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry. (by mixing the cornstarch with water)

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

18

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 95Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 297mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 3/16/2022

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