Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables on the planet. They can take almost any kind of seasoning, and they yield different pleasing textures and flavours depending on the cooking method. In Singapore, one favourite presentation of the potato is the begedil, a Malaysian potato patty that is liberally seasoned and deep-fried. It’s delicious whether you grab one from a hawker’s stall on your way home from work or sample one from the buffet spread of a Singapore caterer.
A Taste of History
Begedil is also known as bergedil or perkedel. In some regions, the original patties were made of many other ingredients besides potatoes, with some variations including minced fish, ground corn, or tofu as a dominant element.
Although the modern version is distinctively Asian in its flavours and style, the original begedil probably came from Dutch “frikadeller.” The Netherlands exerted significant influence over Indonesia throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, until eventually Indonesia transitioned from colonial status and became a sovereign nation.
Javanese immigrants brought their version of Indonesian perkedil to Singapore and Malaysia, where it was called begedil and became a popular menu item for Singapore catering services, households, restaurants, and hawker stalls.
Begedil at Home
When you begin making begedil at home, you first have to make a choice about potato preparation. Will you deep-fry or boil the potatoes? Many people love the taste that deep-frying yields, but boiling is definitely the more healthy option. However, boiling the potatoes sometimes makes the resulting patties a bit too mushy, so consider baking or deep-frying if you want a firmer texture.
Once you have decided which way to go, you’ll need to wash, peel, and slice the potatoes. Boil or fry them until tender. Drain off the water or oil and mash them up in a clean bowl.
Next, mix in the other ingredients and seasonings that your recipe suggests. Salt and pepper are must-have seasonings, of course. Some recipes include chopped spring onions, finely chopped cilantro, and fried shallots.
Other variations suggest minced meat, prawns, bits of beef, vegetable shavings, or Chinese celery. Keep in mind that if you add too many other elements into the mix, the mashed potato will not be able to hold the mixture together as well, and you may end up with a kind of potato crumble instead of the neatly formed patties you want.
Work with the mixture until the texture seems right to you, and then form the circular patties. Heat up some oil in a deep frying pan, then beat some eggs in another bowl. Dip each begedil into the beaten egg to coat it; the raw egg will help your patties develop that delicious, crispy brown exterior.
Begedil for Your Next Event
If you want to share the hearty flavours of begedil at an upcoming family dinner party, business gathering, reception, or other celebration, contact Eatz Catering. Many of our menu packages include begedil as a tasty buffet option. We’ll prepare a delightful version of this timeless potato patty that will have your guests going back for more.