Pempek (Palembang Stuffed Fish Cake)

by Dewi Martha Indria
Pempek or we can called it Palembang Stuffed Fish Cake is a savoury fish cake delicacy from Palembang, capital city of South Sumatra. It is usually served with yellow noodles and a dark, rich sweet and sour sauce called kuah cuko. Pempek is one of my favourite Indonesian cuisine since I was child. I really love it. I still remember when I got my first pregnant, I ever asked my parents to bring Pempek from Pontianak just because I really want to eat Pempek that is made by my mother’s friend. 

Now, I try to make it by myself. So, I don’t need to imported  it again from Pontianak, or maybe from the origin place, Palembang. I was so happy because although it was my first experiment to made it I can made it successfully 😀 But only for Pempek Lenjer, not for the Kapal Selam type, it was so hard to make it perfec.
Pempek dough is made from a mixture of boneless ground fish meat, commonly Indonesian uses Ikan Tenggiri (kind of Wahoo or Spanish macakerel) with water, salt and tapioca. But some of others uses Ikan Gabus (Snakehead fish) or Ikan Belida (Featherback fish). Many people said the best tasting pempek are made from Ikan Belida, but it is so difficult to find that fish in Malang, very rare, so I use the usual thing and easy to find, Ikan Tenggiri.
The other important part of this cuisine is Kuah Cuko. The colour of this sauce is dark brown. Just make sure you made the sauce from palm sugar (gula aren), because it will give good colour of the sauce better than if you use brown sugar/coconut sugar (gula merah). But the best thing will always gula merah Linggau, palm sugar from Palembang.


Pempek (Palembang Stuffed Fish Cake)

Source: NCC
Basic Dough:
  • 500 grams boneless ground Ikan Tenggiri (Spanish macakerel) meat
  • 100 milliliter icy water
  • 1 egg
  • 25 grams wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 clove garlic, minced
  • 100 milliliter water
  • 400  grams sago flour (Tepung sagu tani)
  • 3 tablespoons Tang Mien Flour (wheat starch flour)
Kuah Cuko:
  • 250 grams palm sugar
  • 50 grams tamarind
  • 1 teaspoons ground dried shrimp
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 750 milliliter water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • bird eyes chilies, ground 
  • salt

Basic Dough:
  • In a bowl, mix boneless ground fish meat, icy water, and egg. Mix well (use your hand better than spoon). Take in chiller until thicken.
  • In a bowl, mix wheat flour, sugar, salt, minced garlic, and water. Stir it while boiled in small heat. Stir continuously until thicken. Leave it cold and take in chiller after that.
  • After 30 minutes, take out all the ingredients that you put in chiller. Mix all ingredients in different two bowl into one bowl. Mix well (use your hand again).
  • Add sagu flour and tang mien flour gradually while you knead the dough slowly until smooth and not sticky in the hand.
  • In a big pot, boil water. Add some cooking oil to make Pempek looks shiny and didn’t stick each other while boiled.
  • On your work table, dust sagu flour. And also don’t forget to dust your hand also with sagu flour.
  • Take a small amount of Pempek dough, shape it into ball (if you make Pempek adaan), or shape into long cylindrical (if you make Pempek lenjer), and you can also add chicken egg wrapped within the dough (Pempek kapal selam).
  • Plunk Pempek into a pot of boiling water. Let pempek float. Take it and leave it cold.
  • Deep fry until golden brown. Serve with kuah cuko and cucumber chopped. You can also add some noodles or ground dried shrimps to enrich the flavour.
Kuah cuko:
  • In a saucepan, add water, tamarind, palm sugar. Let the sugar dissolve and wait until boil.
  • Add minced garlic, ground dried shrimp, ground bird eyes chilies, salt. Bring to boil. Turn off the heat. Add vinegar. 
  • Strain it. Ready to be served.

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Haya Najma October 15, 2012 - 1:35 pm

bagi mbaaaa T_T hihi

Dewi Martha Indria November 2, 2012 - 1:00 pm

sini dong kalo mau ke rumah ya 😛

Anonymous January 25, 2013 - 6:55 am

Thanks for the empek empek palembang its look yammmm, I have to try it now!!!

Dewi Martha Indria January 29, 2013 - 11:30 pm

You’re welcome ^_^

Kurnia March 26, 2013 - 4:20 am

Baru tau Featherback fish untuk bahan empek empek 🙂 Kirain monopoli ikan tenggiri doang. Oh… Featherback fish gampang dicari disini nih, bahkan sudah dalam bentuk fish paste. Lebih mudah dong ya untuk bikin empek-empek. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Tha. A must try!
#Kangen empek-empek beraaattt…

Dewi Martha Indria June 12, 2013 - 5:30 pm

domisilinya dimana mbak?
Iya, ikan belida bisa dipake kok buat bahan empek-empek. Saya lupa daerah mana, tapi setahu saya ada satu daerah di Sumatra (bukan Palembang) yang khas empek-empeknya bukan dari ikan tenggiri, malahan dari ikan Belida. Di daerah asal saya juga (Kalimantan Barat) klo gak nemu ikan tenggiri, bikin empek-empek bisa pake ikan belida yang kadang-kadang bisa ditemui di pasar.

Anonymous June 30, 2013 - 3:33 am

Di Adelaide ini.. makanya kangeeen empek empek

Dewi Martha Indria July 3, 2013 - 5:07 am

Ealah… Ini Nia ta? 😀 Aku baru mudeng setelah kamu nyebut Adelaide 😀

Anonymous December 8, 2013 - 8:48 am

Mbak masih di Adl ?

ivonie zahra May 26, 2014 - 5:25 pm

Huaaa transletannya mana mbaaak? aku mau bikin juga nih

Dewi Martha Indria June 7, 2014 - 9:11 am

Pake Chrome apa Mozilla? Klo pake Chrome bisa langsung ditranslate-in sama browsernya 😀
btw yg kemarin pas latbar aku gak pake resep ini 😉


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