Continuing our recipes from the nation’s capital, Jakarta, another ‘Betawi’ special is ‘Kerak Telor’, a favourite street-side delight.
Kerak telor, meaning ‘egg crust’, is a fried, pancake-like omelette filled with all the goodies and flavours you might find in any Indonesian street food snack, namely sticky rice and coconut! A tasty sweet-meets-savoury culinary creation.
Traditionally, it is cooked on a traditional coal stove (anglo), made by turning the pan completely over so that the egg (which sticks to the pan) is cooked directly over the coal’s heat.
This dish has been around since the Dutch colonial era; said to be created accidentally or by trial and error. At that time Jakarta was abundant with coconut trees and eggs were aplenty – so it seems it made sense to mix the two!
Now, it’s unlikely you’ll get the exact flavour right without the use of the anglo, but you can certainly get all the elements right: a result with sweet, savoury and even umami flavours.
50g white glutinous rice, soaked overnight
3 chicken eggs (can be done with duck, but will be saltier)
3 shallots, thinly sliced and deep-fried
1 tsp shrimp paste (or replace with 1tsp chicken stock)
75g grated coconut (pre roasted in the oven until brown, called serundeng)
Optional – 10g palm sugar to sweeten
1. Heat a large wok over a big fire, add in the glutinous rice and water – allow to boil until half the water has boiled out.
2. Mix in 50g grated coconut, 1tsp shrimp paste and 2 deep-fried shallots (plus optional grated palm sugar)
3. Continue to mix the ingredients thoroughly until a viscous paste, with still some moisture.
4. Now add the 3 eggs into the wok, then mix all thoroughly as if scrambling eggs.
5. When all the ingredients and well-mixed, spread the paste out over the wok to create a thin layer (around 0.5cm).
6. This is where the street vendors will normally flip the wok so the coals cook the top (the egg will stick without use of oil); but you can turn the heat down slightly and place a lid over the top.
7. Once cooked – you’ll see it has cooked like a regular omelette – take the remaining grated coconut and deep-fried shallots and sprinkle generously on top.
8. Serve for a classic taste of old Jakarta!
Note: some like to sweeten with sweet soy sauce on top of the sprinkles.