What Is Krupuk?

P.M. Willers

Krupuk is a snack found primarily in Indonesia, although it can also be found in other parts of Southeast Asia and Europe. Known as prawn or shrimp crackers in English, the snack is made of starch, water, and prawn or shrimp. The light and airy crackers can be purchased in many forms and in a wide variety of flavors.

Cassava root is used in a vegetarian krupuk.
Cassava root is used in a vegetarian krupuk.

Indonesia and The Netherlands are the primary sources of krupuk. Most common Indonesian varieties are made with shrimp, which is ground into a paste and mixed together with water and a starch and rolled flat. Starches such as sago or tapioca are normally used. In order to remove moisture, the chips are dried in the sun after being rolled out.

The Netherlands is the biggest source of krupuk in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is the biggest source of krupuk in the Netherlands.

When the sun-dried chips are ready, they are fried in hot oil in a wok. Krupuk fries very quickly, so it is removed from the oil almost immediately. It is most popular eaten alone as a snack, though the crisps are sometimes crumbled on top of main dishes to add a crunchy texture. Indonesian restaurants frequently serve it as a garnish for the main course. People can either eat them as they are or crumble them over the dish.

Though shrimp is the most popular ingredient to be used as a base, vegetables or nuts are sometimes also used. A common vegetarian version is made with subtly spiced cassava root. All of these varieties are commercially available worldwide and sold in the same manner as potato chips. Unfried krupuk is also available, though it is not as popular outside of Indonesia.

Within Indonesia, many other varieties are available. A few include long and chewy keropok lekor, steamed keropok losong, and the thinner and crispier keropok keping. Kripik is a similar snack, but is normally smaller in size than krupuk. The smaller kripik can also be made from fish or fruits and vegetables, and the variety of ingredients is greater. Some types of kripik are made of exotic fruits such as jackfruit, snake fruit, taro, and breadfruit.

Another form of the light snack can be found in China. Chinese krupuk is more colorful and is considered lighter tasting than its Indonesian counterpart. The Chinese crackers are usually made from prawns and are served as a side for specific dishes in Chinese restaurants.

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