Vege Vege Vegetable Fritters–Indonesian’s Bakwan Sayuran

 IMG_24491

INTRODUCTION

Vegetable fritter is  rather international. Almost all international cuisines will have some form of vegetable fritters. It is a  very common food item in South East Asian countries. Be it called bakwan sayuran (Indonesia), vegetable tempura (Japan), parkosa (India) or just vegetable fritters. Packed with vegetables, it can be as healthy as you want it. You can oven baked, pan fried or deep fried. Depending on which cuisine’s vegetable fritters, the dips can also be significantly different.

IMG_24441

WHY THIS DISH

I am having my yearly vegetarian 1-1.5 months and I am looking for some vegetarian dishes. In addition, I am preparing this dish in response to the monthly challenge organized by a Google plus food community.

This recipe is not my household recipe but an Indonesian vegetable fritter recipe obtained from Ms Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran However, I have modified to suit my family’s taste buds.

I concurred with Ms Karin that vegetable fritter recipe has lots of flexibility especially the choice of vegetables. Ms Karin had written in Google communities that “We can make fritters out of everything. Sometimes with something as lame as cabbage and a bunch of leftover vegetables (just avoid wet ones like tomatoes)”.

IMG_24281



WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipes adopted from  Ms. Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran.

IMG_2435

  • 150 g of jicama (shredded)
  • 150 g of French beans (cut into small pieces)
  • 100 g of bean sprouts
  • 50 g of red carrots (shredded)
  • 50 g of peanuts

IMG_2437

  • 2 tablespoons of coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of salts
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 125 g of rice flour
  • 125 g of wheat flour
  • 200 ml of plain water
  • 5 cups of cooking oil for frying


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_2438

  • In a big bowl, assemble all ingredients together;
  • Add in coriander powder, sugar, salt, white pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  • Add in flour (rice flour and wheat flour) and water. Stir until all the ingredients are coated with the batter.

IMG_2439

  • In a big pan, heat the cooking oil. The oil is considered as ready when you insert a chopstick or other wooden object into the hot oil, bubbles started to emit.
  • Put few tablespoons of batter at a time and deep fried until golden brown. You will have to keep a close eye during your frying process to ensure that your batter is not too big (otherwise it will be difficult to get cooked) and your oil temperature should not be overly hot (meaning exterior to start to get burnt and inside may not be cooked). In that case, you have to turn the heat to medium or small, it make take a bit longer but once you note that the colour start to turn golden, switched to high heat for high heat and immediately take it out. This will prevent the oil from going back to the batter!
  • Drain the fritters in oil absorbing paper.

IMG_2440

  • Let it cool and serve with your preferred dips.

IMG_24451



VARIATIONS

There are many variations to this dish. You can add in any vegetables of your choice such as Entoki mushrooms, cauliflowers and the list is endless.

Method of cooking, beside deep frying, can also be pan fried or oven baked. Though oven baked and pan fried version will not be that crispy, it is healthier and equally delicious.

Spices used can also change to include cardamom, cumin seeds, turmeric powder if you preferred.

Dips and garnishes have lots of flexibility. For my kids, I have some mayonnaise and tomato sauces which become thousand island dressings. For adults we have like to home made chilli sauce. Original Indonesian fried fritters like to go with fresh chilli or cabit as they called it. You can also garnish with cucumber or tomato slices to negate the slight greasiness of the dish!

 IMG_24471



CONCLUSIONS

  • A simple and easy to do dish that is packed with vegetables and can be as healthy as you want it to be . It is a vegetarian dish suitable for all age groups.
  • A full flexibility dish that can be tailored to meet your family taste buds including types of vegetables, spices used, method of cooking dips and garnishes.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers.



I am submitting this post to the Monthly Challenge organized by Google Plus Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia – Cuisine Communities in response of Ms. Karin’s Bakwan Sayuran (Vegetable Fritters)  post in her Karin’s Recipe blog. 

IMG_24461

For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTERESTor visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

group-board-picture72222222222222222

 

If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1000 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

piccompile 1

National Flower Series–East Asia 5–Taiwan Republic of China– Prunus Mume

IMG_2227

 

梅花 (Plum Blossom)

梅花梅花滿天下 愈冷它愈開花

 梅花堅忍象徵我們 巍巍的大中華

看啊遍地開了梅花 有土地就有它

 冰雪風雨它都不怕 它是我的國花

看啊遍地開了梅花 有土地就有它

 冰雪風雨它都不怕 它是我的國花

梅花梅花滿天下 愈冷它愈開花

 梅花堅忍象徵我們 巍巍的大中華

梅花 唱:劉家昌 詞:劉家昌 曲:劉家昌

 

Most Chinese  will not be unfamiliar with the above patriotic song which was written for the Taiwanese film “Victory” (梅花) (1976) by its director Liu Chia Chang (劉家昌) and that basically summed up the characteristics of Prunus Mume and the importance of this flower in Taiwan. If you are do not understand Chinese language, you may want to refer here for its Chinese Pronunciations and English translations.

General information

Plum blossom is highly appreciated and admired for its early (January to March in central and southern China) blossoms, Prunus mume has enjoyed great popularity in China and Japan for centuries. It is popular as a bonsai and a ‘must’ in every Japanese-style garden. The world famous Kairaku-en garden in Japan, for example, boasts 3,000 specimens including 100 different cultivars, which create a feast for the eye during the ‘plum blossom’ season in late February/early March. Due to its long history of cultivation and cultural significance, there are more than 300 known cultivars in China, which differ mainly in the color of their flowers (which can be white, pink, red, purple or light green).

National Symbol

The plum blossom, Prunus mei, was officially designated by the ROC Executive Yuan (legislative council) to be the national flower on July 21, 1964. The plum blossom, which has shades of pink and white and gives off a delicate fragrance, has great symbolic value for the Chinese people because of its resilience during the harsh winter. (Source: www.kew.org)

The triple grouping of stamens (one long and two short) represents Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People (namely nationalism, democracy and socialism (民族主義, 民權主義 and 民生主義)), while the five petals symbolize the five branches of the ROC government.  (Source: Taiwan President’s Office’s website) namely Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan and Control Yuan.

IMG_2344

Species information

  • Scientific name                    : Prunus mume Siebold
  • Common name(s)                 : mume, ume, mei flower, Chinese plum, Japanese apricot.
  • Chinese name                      : 梅

Additional notes

  • Plum blossom tree is related to both the plum and apricot trees. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is more closely related to the apricot.
  • The fruit ripens in early summer, around June and July in East Asia, and coincides with the rainy season of East Asia, the “meiyu“ (梅雨季节, literally “plum rain”). Those who live in East Asia will knew that during this season, the whole area will become very damp and mold will appear in household items from kitchen condiments to leather jackets etc..

  • The fruit of the tree is used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking in juices, as a flavoring for alcohol, as a pickle and in sauces. It is also used in traditional medicine. 
  • Ume vinegar is a traditional digestive aid produced from Prunus Mume. Its sour and salty taste stimulates the production of saliva and stomach acids, which in turn help the body to break down and assimilate the nutrients in the food. Try it as a condiment on soups, stews, vegetable and grain dishes to absorb more nutrition and eliminate indigestion. You can read further: here.
  • Plum blossom is a flower not only important in Taiwan ROC but also have a huge cultural impact on Japanese and other Chinese communities. In fact, it is also another prime candidate considered for the national flower of People’s Republic of China. You can read my earlier post: National Flower of People’s Republic of China where the peony is deemed to be the unofficial national flower.
  • In Chinese, plum blossom it is one of the flower representatives associated with the four seasons namely orchid for spring (春蘭)、bamboo for summer(夏竹)、chrysanthemum for autumn (秋菊)、plum blossom for winter(冬梅).
  • The combination for these four flowers, collectively called “four flowers gentlemen”, also a Chinese painting favorite, denotes four characters that a gentleman should possess. Plum blossom signifies ability to withstand hardship as it blooms in the cold winter: orchids symbolize modesty, beauty, joy and purity; chrysanthemum reminds us that it is possible to triumph when the going gets tough and to be brave when faced with adversity and lastly bamboo represents upright and continual growth (梅寒盛放,蘭花清秀,菊花淡香、竹子節節上升).

Picture from: www.nicpic.com

  • Lastly, ever wonder what is the difference between plum blossoms as in this post and the cherry blossoms which is famous in Japan? Well, they looked very similar and most people can’t tell and I have found one article which state the differences as follows:
  Plum Blossoms (梅花) Cherry Blossoms(樱花)
 
Flower Plum blossoms don’t have any split at the end of the petals. Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petals.
Bark The bark on a plum tree is darker and does not have distinctive horizontal line on it. The bark of the cherry tree often have small horizontal lines on it.
Flower Bud There is only one plum blossom coming out of the bud. More than one cherry will come out of a cherry bud.
Leaves Plum blossoms have small purple leaves that are unrolling although some species do have leaves that are green The leaves of cherry trees are green and unfolding.

You can refer to this website if you are interested to have a visual differentiations between plum and cherry blossoms. How about taking up another challenges to differentiate these two blossoms with the third blossom, i.e. peach blossoms (桃花)?

Hope you enjoy the post. Cheers

National Flower Series–East Asia 1–Japan–Chrysanthemum

 IMG_1837

National Flower Series – East Asia 1 – Japan (De-facto or non-official)

Japan do not have officially declared national flowers like other countries. However, two flowers that have significant influences in Japanese cultures and histories : Chrysanthemum (菊花) and Cherry Blossom (樱花) were deemed to be the de-facto national flowers.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums, often called mums or chrysanths, are perennial flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae which are native to Asia and northeastern Europe.Chrysanthemum are herbaceous perennial plants growing to 50–150 cm tall, with deeply lobed leaves with large flower heads that are generally white, yellow or pink in the wild.

Chrysanthemum had a deep rooted relationship with the royal family as evidenced by the following observations. It is believed that chrysanthemum may have been brought to Japan in the eighth century AD and the Emperor adopted a 16 petals yellow chrysanthemum flower design as his imperial seal (菊花印章) which shall solely be used by the members of the Japanese Imperial family. The Emperor also have chosen to name “Chrysanthemum Throne” to represent the periods reigned by Japanese emperors. A number of formerly state-endowed shrines (官国弊社), kankokuheisha) adopted chrysanthemum in its crest, most notably Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine. In addition, the Japanese honor awarded by the emperor were named as the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.In Imperial Japan, small arms were required to be stamped with the Imperial Chrysanthemum, as they were considered the personal property of the Emperor.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura)

A cherry blossom is the flower of any of several trees of genus Prunus, particularly the Japanese Cherry, Prunus serrulata, which is sometimes called sakura after the Japanese (桜 or 櫻; さくら). Many of the varieties that have been cultivated for ornamental use do not produce fruit. Edible cherries generally come from cultivars of the related species Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus.

In Japan, cherry blossoms are richly symbolic, and have been utilized often in Japanese art, manga, anime, and film, as well as at musical performances for ambient effect. There is at least one popular folk song, originally meant for the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), titled “Sakura”, and several pop songs. The flower is also represented on all manner of consumer goods in Japan, including kimono, stationery, and dishware.

The Sakurakai or Cherry Blossom Society was the name chosen by young officers within theImperial Japanese Army in September 1930 for their secret society established with the goal of reorganizing the state along totalitarian militaristic lines, via a military coup d’état if necessary.

During World War II, the cherry blossom was used to motivate the Japanese people, to stoke nationalism and militarism among the populace. Even prior to the war, they were used in propaganda to inspire “Japanese spirit,” as in the “Song of Young Japan,” exulting in “warriors” who were “ready like the myriad cherry blossoms to scatter.” A cherry blossom painted on the side of the bomber symbolized the intensity and ephemerality of life;in this way, the aesthetic association was altered such that falling cherry petals came to represent the sacrifice of youth in suicide missions to honor the emperor.The first kamikaze unit had a subunit called Yamazakura or wild cherry blossom.The government even encouraged the people to believe that the souls of downed warriors were reincarnated in the blossoms.

In its colonial enterprises, imperial Japan often planted cherry trees as a means of “claiming occupied territory as Japanese space”.

http://www.examiner.com; http://en.wikipedia

It is such a coincidence that the two countries (Japan and China) I have selected to kick off the EAST ASIAN COUNTRIES NATIONAL FLOWER SERIES do not have officially declared national flowers. However, its is still included as part of the National Flower Series because of their significant influences in these countries’ culture; that particular species’ origins; uniqueness to the countries; likability and perception by the people that rendered their de-facto status.