How To Make Vegan Spicy Sweet Potato Dumplings (Cucur Badak)

Cucur Badak is a fried sweet potato dumpling typically filled with a spicy minced dried shrimp and coconut filling. I recently created a vegan version of it using crushed soy beans left over from making tofu pudding and soy milk. If you don’t have any crushed soy beans sitting around that would otherwise be thrown out, you could easily use diced or minced tempeh (fermented soy bean cakes), firm tofu, or any vegan meat substitute.

I prefer to use purple sweet potato, which I find is less sticky once it’s steamed, which means I don’t need to add too much flour to turn it into a soft dough. It’s also the cheapest of the different varieties of sweet potato at my local greengrocer’s, so there’s that.

Here’s the recipe, and as always, a healthy dose of “agak-agak” is applicable.

Vegan Cucur Badak


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

3 Tbsps crushed soy beans, or finely-diced tempeh or meat substitute
1 onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsps minced lemongrass (optional)
4 Tbsps sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetarian seasoning (I use a mushroom seasoning powder)
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 in a food processor; mince.
  4. Transfer to a saucepan, add crushed soy beans, 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. Flatten slightly so it’s disc-shaped. Repeat with rest of dough and filling.
  11. Heat oil to between 160-180C; deep-fry evenly until they float and are a light golden brown.
  12. Drain on paper towels, allow to cool, then serve.





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