Indonesian Meat and Potato Fritters (Perkedel)

Perkedel are Indonesian fried fritters, found everywhere from city streets to high-end restaurants. This dish carries a lot of variations, but most contain potatoes and ground meat, so that’s what I focused on in this recipe (most variations use just beef, but I found adding pork evens out the flavors). Speaking of variations, I made two versions of this dish as you’ll see in the pictures below: one with the breading, and one without. Both are awesome and easy to throw together.

The word Perkedel is actually a derivative of the Dutch word Frikandel, which is a deep-fried sausage that doesn’t have a casing and is often sliced down the middle and stuffed with toppings (the original #hotdogasthebun, in truth). The Dutch first colonized Indonesia, so there is a lot of cool Dutch influence like this in the archipelago (and vice-versa – Indonesian food is wildly popular in The Netherlands).

Totally unrelated, but the folks at Tabasco offered to give a selection of their sauces to one of my readers, shipped in time for Super Bowl this weekend; head over to this FB post to throw your name in the hat, if you’d like.

Be sure to wet your hands when forming the meatballs, as they’ll want to stick to your fingers.

Indonesian Meat and Potato Fritters (Perkedel)

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

for the meatballs:
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 tbsp butter, ghee, or coconut oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork (or beef if avoiding pork)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 dash ground ginger

1/4 cup coconut oil for frying

breading (optional, see notes below):
1/4 cup tapioca starch
4 eggs, beaten

1. Place the potatoes in a stockpot and cover with 1″ water. Bring the water to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Strain and mash with a potato masher or sturdy fork; set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

2. In a skillet or wok, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes.

3. Combine the cooled potatoes, shallots, and garlic with the remaining meatball ingredients; form into 1″ balls, smashing down slightly. You should be able to make about 30 balls.

4. Warm your oven to 200F. Return the skillet or wok to the heat, and warm the lard or oil over medium/high heat. You’re looking for an oil temperature of about 350F. Once the oil is ready, dip a ball into the starch, rolling slightly to lightly coat, then dip into the beaten egg. Shake off excess egg and add to the oil. Continue this process until you have filled your pan with meatballs (without overcrowding). Pan-fry until cooked through, about 8 minutes, turning periodically.

5. As the fritters finish cooking, place them on a plate lined with paper towels; keep them warm in the oven as you cook your next batch. Once they’re all cooked through, serve the fritters.

** This dish can also be made without the outer breading. To do so, heat the oil to only 325F and drop right into the oil after forming the balls. Cook until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes, turning periodically.

Perkedel without the breading. Still delicious.

21 thoughts on “Indonesian Meat and Potato Fritters (Perkedel)

  1. I love this dish. My Indonesian roomate cooked it once for me a few years ago. She even deep fried the potato slices before mashing them – it was probably not the healthiest solution but absolutely delicious!


    1. I would think so. At any rate, they look lovely enough I’m going to try just that for my Saturday road trip. — so I don’t have to worry about what (and when) I’m eating until dinner time.


  2. I loved the flavors.

    I had a few issues, maybe someone has a few tips to fix?
    The meatballs came out a little dry, I think it was because I fully drained the potatos and they were dry going in. Not sure if I should reserve some cooking liquid and add back to the potatos or add something else like butter.
    I had some problems with some of the meatballs coming apart when I turned them. I didn’t bread the meatballs. It made me think I should have added a few eggs to meatball mixture.

    If I wasn’t avoiding wheat and dairy, I would just add some bread soaked in milk(panade) and eggs, but that isn’t really an option. Is there a good alternative?


  3. I did enjoy the meatballs. I did wonder if there was a dipping sauce or gravy that would pair well with them.

    I tried a ketchup, lemon juice, tamarind, Worcestershire combination and it was ok, but, I think there may be some better options.


  4. I admire your blog, but I have to say, if you’re going for authentic, this isn’t it. As an Indonesian, I know that virtually no one in Indonesia makes dishes with pork and lard because it is the largest Muslim country on Earth. And ghee is used in South Asian countries, not Southeast Asian countries.


    1. Isabella, I appreciate the comment. You’re absolutely right about the addition of pork; I was thinking from a culinary perspective (mixing pork and beef balances the flavor, ghee adds richness without using lactose) without thought to the cultural perspective; I’ve adjusted the recipe to be more accommodating – thank you for bringing it up!


    2. Well, not really Isabella. When I was little my mom always put some pork meat in the mixture as well. There are many ethnic groups in Indonesia that are not muslims, so they’re fine with eating pork.

      And for ghee, we Indonesians do use ghee. If you ever heard “minyak samin”, that is ghee.


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