Pempek is a typical Indonesian recipe made of fish and sago. Varieties of pempek exist, but the most popular is pempek kapal selam, which is filled with eggs and deep fried. A sauce called cuko is made especially for this dish.
1 kilo fish meat (Spanish mackerel), ground
1/2 kilo sago flour
25 grams wheat flour
1/2 cup water
3 eggs, beaten
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
250 grams palm sugar or brown sugar
50 grams tamarind
1 teaspoon dried shrimp, ground or mashed
2 cloves of garlic (minced or chopped) or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Red chili pepper powder
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
A pinch of salt
Tools and Equipment:
Mortar and pestle
Instructions for making pempek balls:
1. Mix the ground fish meat with water and one beaten egg in a bowl. Set aside in the chiller.
2. Mix sago flour with wheat flour and add sugar, salt, minced garlic, and water. To make the dough, add the fish meat into the flour mixture. Knead the dough until the ingredients have thoroughly combined.
3. Form balls from the dough and use the remaining beaten eggs as filling for pempek kapal selam, which means pempek submarine.
4. Fill up half of a big pot with water and add a few drops of cooking oil to prevent the pempek balls from sticking to one another. Place the water over medium-to-high heat until boiling.
5. Drop the balls into the pot until they’ve solidified and floated to the surface. Strain and drop the balls into icy water. Strain again and let them dry on large plates.
6. Pour two glugs of cooking oil into the frying pan and heat it over medium fire. When bubbles appear on the surface of the oil, start dropping the pempek balls into the pan and deep fry them until they’re golden brown.
7. Strain and place them on paper napkins and let the porous material absorb any excess oil.
To make cuko sauce:
1. Boil water, brown sugar, and tamarind in a sauce pan over medium heat until boiling. Turn off the fire and sieve the dregs using a strainer.
2. Add the chili powder, dried shrimp, and garlic. Adjust the taste with a pinch of salt.