People have been making bergedil since time immemorial . Variously spelled begerdil, begedil or perkedel, each culture has its own versions depending on the local ingredients. But the common ingredient in this fried patty is the potato.
The cutlet is usually made with leftover meat that is repackaged into bite-size morsels and eaten on-the-run as a snack or lunch the next day.
In recent years, the traditional bergedil has enjoyed a new repackaging, this time with tofu puffs. You can find tauhu bergedil these days at many pop-up stalls and especially at the Ramadan bazaar.
You will require all the basic ingredients of a bergedil with the addition of the tofu puff, which you will need to hollow out to be filled with the potato stuffing. The excavated tofu mass can be deep fried and served on the side with the tauhu bergedil. It tastes amazing with the dipping sauce.
Or if you want to make a vegetarian version of this dish, the tofu mass can be stirred into the stuffing mixture along with diced mushrooms, and stuffed back into the tofu puff cavity.
Some recipes call for the potatoes to be boiled or steamed before being mashed, but the traditional Malay method is to fry them. Not only does it reduce the amount of moisture in the bergedil, it also adds a layer of flavour you will not get by boiling or steaming them.
Another way to layer in more flavour is to fry your own shallots rather than using store-bought fried shallots. The remaining oil from frying the shallots imparts a tremendous amount of flavour to the meat when sautéed in it.
The traditional meat in bergedil is ground beef, but you may use chicken or other meats instead. A vegetarian option is to substitute mushrooms for the meat. You may use fresh shiitake mushrooms, or soak dried shiitake mushrooms in water, then sauté the finely diced mushrooms and tofu mass in the shallot oil.
So as not to soak up too much egg batter, dip the stuffed tofu puffs in the batter just before dropping them into the hot oil. Because all the stuffing is already fully cooked, the puffs just need to fry for a few minutes on both sides until it is lightly golden and crispy.
They keep well in the refrigerator, and you can reheat them in the oven or toaster oven to crisp up again before serving.
- 6 tablespoons cooking oil
- 150g shallots, sliced or 50g fried shallots
- 300g minced chicken or beef
- 750g potatoes, peeled
- 4 cups cooking oil for deep-frying
- 50g scallions, diced
- 50g cilantro, minced
- 300g tofu puff
- For batter:
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- For dipping sauce:
- 3 pods Thai chilli
- 3 pods bird's eye chilli
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- juice from 1 lime
- Fry shallots in 6 tablespoons of oil until lightly brown and crispy.
- Pat dry excess oil from fried shallots on kitchen towels. Set aside.
- In remaining oil, fry minced meat until browned. Set aside.
- Cut peeled potatoes into half-centimetre-thick slices. Wash off starch with water and drain on a wire strainer to dry.
- Fry potato slices in hot oil until lightly golden. Mash fried potatoes into coarse chunks.
- Stir in browned meat, cilantro, scallions, fried shallots and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut an X across the top of the tofu puff, and hollow out tofu mass from the cavity. Gather balls of potato mixture and stuff into the tofu puff cavity.
- Beat the eggs with cornstarch until combined. Dip the tofu puffs into batter and deep-fry until light golden and crispy.
- When all the tauhu bergedil are fried, deep-fry remaining tofu mass to serve on the side.
- Put all of the dipping sauce ingredients into an electric mill and blend until fine.
- Garnish tauhu bergedil with a sprinkle of fried shallots, diced red chilies and minced cilantro served with dipping sauce.