Cucur udang — savoury local favourite with a satisfying crunch

Prawn fritters served in a paper box.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Feb 23: A savoury, crispy crust on the outside and fluffy, chewy goodness on the inside. This winning combo has made prawn fritters a favourite snack of many Malaysians.

Locally known as ‘cucur udang’, prawn fritters are a delectable snack which can be eaten any time of the day as a side dish to other food or just on their own.

Deep fried until golden brown, prawn fritters is a popular choice for afternoon tea or even mid-morning break.

There are many ways to make prawn fritters, but most commonly, a big spoonful of a savoury batter mixed with small prawns is deep fried in hot cooking oil until golden brown.

These days, there are even special moulds which can be used to shape and fry prawn fritters.

The moulds make frying easier which reducing wastage at the same time as they enable prawn fritters to be uniform in shape and size.

They also make clean-up less of a chore. For those who sell prawn fritters, the moulds make it easier to plan for and calculate the quantity sold.

Prawn fritters are usually served fresh from the wok and cut into bite-sized pieces, perfect for dipping into chilli sauce or relish, sometimes dusted with a sprinkling of grounded peanuts.

In Kuching City, there are many stalls serving prawn fritters. A handful of them which have been operating for decades have developed big followings of faithful patrons hungry for good food and a taste of nostalgia.

However, one does not necessarily have to follow the crowd to find tasty prawn fritters.

Yummy Cafe ABC proprietress, Maggie Goh

One such stall satisfying locals’ cravings for ‘cucur udang’ in the city is run by 36-year-old cafe operator Maggie Goh.

When met recently at her stall at Yummy Cafe ABC just off Jalan Rubber, she was using a metal double mould to deep fry two servings of batter with three small prawns in one mould at a time.

In no time, she filled up a tray full of fresh prawn fritters, ready to be served to waiting customers.

“This spoon (mould) is an ingenious way to fry more prawn fritters at one time and also to cook other fritters we serve here at the cafe,” she told this writer.

“I prefer to fry the prawn fritters myself so that it has the same consistency in texture. Over the years, the quality of the prawn fritters have remained unchanged.”

Goh said she has been making and serving prawn fritters for seven years. In fact, her prawn fritters are one of her cafe’s specialities.

“Before we moved to this branch, we also served prawn fritters at our other branch at Wisma Saberkas. That was where I started making prawn fritters,” she revealed, adding that another branch at Wisma Satok currently only offers fastfood.

“Those who patronised our stall at Wisma Saberkas will recognise my prawn fritters,” she said.

Prawn fritters being deep fried in a pot of hot oil.
Prawn fritters (seen at bottom right) and other types of cucur sold by Goh at Yummy Cafe ABC.

Goh disclosed she taught herself how to prepare and cook food as she loves cooking.

“I was lucky to be surrounded by many people with culinary skills and knowledge and learned from them and my immediate family,” she shared.

Goh said that by observing her customers over the years, she has also learned to recognise what they want in the food they eat.

“My business is providing such services and products, and I serve my customers good food. When the patrons come back to my cafe, I know they like what I cook for them,” she said.

Goh said she also learned how much to cook and prepare her ingredients so that the food she serves is always fresh.

“I will tell my supplier how much I need for the day, week or month. No one tells you about this initially, and you have to learn fast,” she shared.

“There are many doing the same business in the market, and to make my stall stand out, I prepare a wider variety (of fritters) to give customers more choice.

“I named my stall, “Cucur Udang Campur” so that customers can order a mix of fritters.

“We have fried bean curd, sweet potato and yam fritters, savoury onion and vegetable fritters, fish balls and wanton fritters, and many more,” she said, reeling off the names of some of the items on her menu.

Yummy Cafe ABC is located just off Rubber Road, Kuching.

Goh further revealed she used at least three to four kilogrammes of small prawns daily to make her prawn fritters.

“I make more on the weekends as there are more customers. It is the time you get more people coming over to enjoy the wide variety of food we serve at our cafe.

“Of course, our ‘cucur udang’ or prawn fritters are still the star fritter here, and our patrons will order it to accompany the other fried food dishes we serve here,” she said.

Goh’s cafe, Yummy Cafe ABC, is located just off Rubber Road and is open daily from 8am to 5pm except for Thursday. For inquiries, call 014-968 6010. — DayakDaily