Pempek is deep fried fish cakes served with its signature dark fiery sauce hailing from the city of Palembang, the provincial capital of South Sumatra. The range of fish cakes varies from the plain round balls to big triangular ones stuffed with hard boiled eggs, they are all typically deep fried in hot oil just prior to serving. The best thing I like about pempek is the sauce, made with palm sugar, tamarind, garlic, and Thai chili. Making the sauce is simple enough, as long as you can find all the ingredients. The tricky part is to make the fish cakes, which if you love short cuts (like me), just get some fish balls, or any Japanese fish cakes and deep fried them. Seriously, they will still be amazingly great with the sauce. ♥
Saus Cuko Pempek - Palembang Fish Cake Sauce
- Saus Cuko (Pempek Sauce)
- 2 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih), peeled
- 1-2 Thai chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit), seeded (optional)
- 100 gram palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
- 25 gram tamarind (Indonesian: asam Jawa)
- 400 ml water
- deep fried fish balls / fish cakes
- slices of cucumber
- Grind garlic and chilies into a paste.
- Place all sauce ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Keep stirring until all the palm sugar has dissolved. Strain to remove tamarind pulps and seeds.
- Serve the sauce with deep fried fish balls and cucumber slices.