The Daily Roar

Mendoan, A Favorite Snack from Banyumas, Indonesia

If you ask people from Java, especially Central Java and the surrounding areas, if they know mendoan, I’m pretty sure most of them will say yes. But wait! Is the mendoan they know the authentic mendoan? Or do they call it mendoan just because it appears like one? I dare to bet that the mendoan they know is most likely not. What is mendoan actually, you ask. Well, it is a fried dish made from tempeh (Indonesian soy bean cake, has been globally recognized as a healthy food) coated with some kind of flour paste, originated in the Regency of Banyumas, Central Java.

As a matter of fact, you can find similar dish all over Indonesia. However, most of them are not mendoan. What makes it special and different from other flour-coated fried tempeh then? First of all, the tempeh used to make mendoan is a special kind of tempeh. While ordinary tempeh is usually made in thick loaves, tempeh for mendoan is made in thin square shape. This way, the beans aren’t as dense as those in ordinary tempeh, hence more room for the fungi to grow, but don’t worry, the fungi is edible and not harmful. So when people make flour-coated fried tempeh from thinly sliced ordinary tempeh and call it mendoan, I’d say “meh”.
Another difference is that mendoan is supposed to be half-cooked because that is why it is called mendoan, from Banyumasan word “mendo” which means half-cooked. It is a bit tricky to fry mendoan because mendoan is supposed to be kinda soggy inside but crunchy outside. Most of the “fake” mendoan out there are simply dry-fried to the core.


Want to make your own mendoan? Here’s the ingredients and how to. You’ll need some pieces of the special kind of tempeh, green onions, wheat flour and rice flour, water, and lots of oil to deep fry. For the seasoning you will need garlic, coriander seeds, salt, and white pepper powder. Mix the two kinds of flour with water, add thinly sliced green onions, and the grinded spices until it becomes a fairly thick paste. Heat the oil until it gets really hot, dip the tempeh into the paste until it is covered and the green onions are stuck on it, deep fry until the outer paste gets crunchy and becomes yellowish. Indonesians usually eat it with small cayenne pepper bites. Enjoy while it’s hot!

/// Written by Immawati Khoiriyah, Indonesia

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