Pempek Recipe : Indonesia’s Iconic Fish Cake

Pempek Recipe : Indonesia’s Iconic Fish Cake

Delving into Indonesian Cuisine:

Pempek, also known as Empek-Empek, is a beloved Indonesian fish cake originating from Palembang, South Sumatra. This iconic dish is made from a mixture of fish and tapioca, giving it a unique chewy texture. Pempek is traditionally served with a rich, tangy, and slightly sweet vinegar sauce called “cuko.” This dish is a staple of Palembang’s culinary heritage and has spread across Indonesia, becoming a favorite street food and snack.

Brief Pempek Recipe Information:

<Origin Country: Indonesia
Number of Servings: 4 servings
Number of Calories (per serving): Approximately 350 calories
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Keywords: Indonesian cuisine, pempek, fish cake, street food, Palembang

Pempek Recipe Essential Ingredients:

For the Pempek, Vinegar Sauce and Garnish:

  • 500g white fish fillets (mackerel or tenggiri), finely minced
  • 250g tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 200ml cold water
  • 1 egg (for filling, optional)
  • Cooking oil for frying
  • 200g palm sugar, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 liter water
  • Cucumber, finely diced
  • Fried shallots
  • Yellow noodles (optional)
  • Hard-boiled eggs (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Pempek Recipe:

  1. Step 1: Preparing the Pempek Dough – In a large mixing bowl, combine the minced fish, tapioca flour, salt, sugar, and minced garlic. Gradually add cold water while mixing until a smooth, pliable dough forms. Divide the dough into equal portions and shape them into small logs or balls. For a stuffed version, create a small pocket, fill with a piece of hard-boiled egg, and seal tightly.
  2. Step 2: Cooking the Pempek – Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Drop the shaped pempek into the simmering water and cook until they float to the surface, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pempek with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  3. Step 3: Frying the Pempek – Heat cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the boiled pempek until golden brown and crispy on the outside, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  4. Step 4: Preparing the Cuko Sauce – In a medium saucepan, combine water, palm sugar, garlic, chilies, tamarind paste, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Strain the sauce to remove solids and set aside.
  5. Step 5: Serving the Pempek – Slice the fried pempek into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on a serving plate and garnish with diced cucumber, fried shallots, and yellow noodles if using. Serve with a side of cuko sauce for dipping.

Tips for Perfecting Pempek:

  • Fish Selection: Use fresh, firm white fish for the best texture and flavor. Mackerel or tenggiri are traditional choices.
  • Consistency: The dough should be firm enough to shape but not too dry. Adjust the water as needed to achieve the right consistency.
  • Boiling Technique: Simmer the pempek gently to prevent them from falling apart. They are ready when they float to the surface.
  • Sauce Balance: Adjust the spiciness and sweetness of the cuko sauce to suit your taste. More chilies will add heat, while extra palm sugar will enhance sweetness.
  • Serving Variations: Experiment with different shapes and fillings for the pempek, such as using other types of fish or adding shrimp to the mixture.

Savor the Authentic Flavors of Indonesia:

Pempek is more than just a fish cake; it’s a culinary journey that encapsulates the rich and diverse flavors of Indonesian cuisine. The combination of chewy fish cakes and the tangy, sweet, and spicy cuko sauce creates a unique taste experience that is both satisfying and addictive.

Whether you’re enjoying pempek as a snack, appetizer, or main dish, its versatility and distinct flavors make it a delightful addition to any meal. Embrace the tradition and joy of making pempek, and let each bite transport you to the vibrant streets of Palembang. Happy cooking!