How to Make Cucur Badak (Stuffed Sweet Potato Dumplings)

Cucur Badak, or savoury sweet potato dumplings stuffed with a spicy minced dried prawn and coconut filling, is one of those little Malay kuih (snack) recipes that we learned in our Home Science classes back in high school in Malaysia, and they’re really not that hard to make.

The fact that you need to deep-fry them is probably a bit of a turn-off for your average Australian cook, but as I often tell my Live Asian Kitchen audience, you don’t in fact need a deep-fryer to do decent deep-frying; a wok or pot filled with oil will work just fine.

The filling for this is the same as what I use for pulut panggang – those grilled sticky rice rolls wrapped in banana leaf that I used to sell back when I ran market stalls around Sydney. Essentially, we’re replacing sticky rice with steamed & mashed sweet potato kneaded into a dough with some flour, before dropping them into oil.


Cucur Badak


500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
7 Tbsps plain flour
1 tsp salt

3 Tbsps dried shrimp, soaked and drained
1 onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsps minced lemongrass (optional)
3 Tbsps sugar
⅔ Tbsp chicken powder
2 tsps belacan powder (optional)
⅔ cup desiccated coconut
1 Tbsp chilli crush
4 Tbsps oil

Oil for deep-frying


  1.  Steam sweet potato until soft, then mash. Allow to cool until it can be handled; add salt.
  2. Add flour gradually and knead to form a soft dough.
  3. Combine onion, garlic and dried shrimp in a food processor; mince.
  4. Transfer to a saucepan and fry until most of the liquid has evaporated; add oil.
  5. Fry until oil separates and onion caramelises. Add all other ingredients and fry until aromatic.
  6. Allow to cool, then form into balls about 2cm in diameter.
  7. Divide sweet potato dough into 1 ½ Tbsp portions.
  8. Place dough on palm of hand, flatten slightly, then make an indent in the middle.
  9. Place a piece of filling in the middle, then seal with dough.
  10. Heat oil to between 160-180C; deep-fry evenly until they float and are a light golden brown.
  11. Drain on paper towels, allow to cool, then serve.

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