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What Is Cilok?
Cilok – pronounced as chee-lock – actually stands for a Sundanese phrase of Aci Dicolok which means skewered tapioca. It is a savoury street snack originally from Bandung, West Java.
I remember getting this snack after school when I used to live in Bandung many years ago. In case you wonder, these are chewy dumpling balls made of tapioca flour. And you have them with a generous drizzle of spicy peanut sauce.
Here, I’m sharing a recipe that my sister gave me. With her permission, I tweaked it and changed some ingredient proportion and used a slightly different cooking method.
This recipe offers a better taste and texture than the original Cilok that I remember.
Maybe because it uses real chicken or fish to enhance the flavour. Because the original recipe uses stock powder. And also the texture of the tapioca is not too rubbery chewy. Plus, of course, you can always add the spices and herbs that you like to make them taste even better.
Forgotten Street Food From The Olden Days
I actually forgot about this humble street food until my sister reminded me.
So, the last few years have seen changes in the faith of those tapioca dumplings. Because apparently, Cilok is now quite popular. At least, it has won the hearts of people in Jakarta. And people try to modify the recipes into all styles.
Some add cheese in the balls, some add meat pieces, and of course, some also change the spices and flavour of the dumpling dough.
But here, I’m sharing with you a recipe that is close to the original. It’s an improved version in terms of taste and texture. But everything else is pretty much the same as the traditional Cilok from Bandung.
Simple Snacks With Simple Ingredients
The original cilok uses very simple ingredients. They are plain flour, tapioca flour, stock powder, garlic, salt and pepper. And to enhance the quality of this savoury snack, I substitute the stock powder with a real boneless fillet of fish or chicken. I also add spring onions to give extra flavour.
When it comes to the sauce, I simplified it by using peanut butter and shop-bought chilli sauce. But you can always use real peanuts and real chillies (I include both sauce recipes).
What you’re after is spicy and savoury peanut sauce with a slightly sweet taste.
Easy And Quick Way To Make Cilok
Essentially, you want to make the dough base by cooking the plain flour in hot boiling water seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper. You mix them all until you get a glue-like flour paste. Place it in a mixing bowl.
Then you process the tapioca flour and the fish/ chicken fillet in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can try to finely mince the fish/ chicken using a knife. And mix it with tapioca flour. You want the flour to feel like breadcrumbs if not finer.
Next, you add the sliced spring onions into the plain flour mixture and put the tapioca flour and fish/ chicken mixture little by little as you stir.
Keep mixing until all the ingredients are combined and you get a smooth dough. Then shape the dough into small balls of the golf ball size (or smaller).
Boil some water in a large pan, add a tablespoon of oil to it.
Once the water is boiling, carefully place the dough balls in it and cook them until all floating on the water surface. When the dough balls come up on the surface, let them cook further for at least 3-4 minutes. To ensure that your dumplings are fully cooked.
Pick the cilok using a slotted spoon, drain and place them on a plate.
For the sauce, you just mix all the ingredients into a smooth thick sauce. If you use roasted/ fried peanuts, you can process all the ingredients in a blender and boil until the sauce is bubbling.
Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now thinking of trying this Cilok recipe. When you do, it will be great if you can share what you think about the recipe in the comments below.
Before you go, don’t forget to check out my other Indonesian street food snack recipes that you may like:
- Pangsit Ayam: Indonesian chicken wontons.
- Asinan Jakarta: Indonesian crispy salad with spicy peanuts and tamarind.
- Perkedel Tempe: Indonesian tempeh fritters.
- Rujak Serut: Indonesian sweet potato slaw with tamarind dressing.
- Ketoprak Jakarta: beansprout and vermicelli salad with peanut sauce.
Thank you and all the best.