Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pempek Adaan ( Indonesian fish cake with Sweet and Sour Sauce)

Hi Everyone,

I was so content knowing the fact that I had five days of short holiday to spend. I wasn't able to concentrate at all during the week. I kept thinking what I should cook, what I should do, where I should go. Sadly, this holiday had upset the weather slightly. The sky was dark, and gloomy. So, no picnic at all this easter holiday.

I woke up one day and craved for pempek. Pempek is a fried fish cake, it is served with a sweet and sour sauce. The sweet element comes from the deep and dark palm sugar, whilst the sour tang comes in a form of tamarind paste. Pempek is originated from South Sumatra, Indonesia. Pempek are available in so many varieties, some of them are deep fried to perfection and some are baked. 

I preferred to make pempek adaan simply because unlike most pempek which have to be boiled before being deep fried, this one is much simpler, just ignore about the boiling step. Save one pot to wash means a glory!

I love this dish so much, the soft and yielding fish cake marries so well with the sweet and sour sauce.  The addition of sliced cucumber gives an extra crunch factor to the dish. To top it off, the dried shrimp, which is crumbled on top nicely echoed the mild fishy flavour. This is seriously a treat in a bowl.

So, give it a try... ^^

 Here is the recipe 

Pempek Adaan
primarasa : Kudapan asin

500 g Spanish Mackerel, skinned and boned
100 ml egg whites
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
400 ml water
8 eschallot, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
250 g tapioca flour
Oil for deep frying

Sweet and Sour Sauce
600 ml water
10 bird's eye chilies, pound into a paste (Please do reduce the number of chilies you want according to your taste)
10 cloves of garlic, minced
200 g palm sugar, shaved
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp dried shrimp crumbs*

1. Place spanish mackerel, egg whites, salt, pepper in a food processor, process until it resembles a smooth paste
2. Add water, eschallots, and spring onion, process it again until it resembles smooth paste
3. Add in tapioca flour spoonful by spoonful to the fish paste, pulse after each addition
4. Heat up the oil to 170C, form a ball out of the paste by using 2 teaspoons
5. Place the paste into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown (the pempek might pop slightly, so be careful)

For the sauce :
1. Boil water, chili paste, minced garlic, palm sugar, salt, tamarind paste
2. Turn down the heat, let the sauce reduce to appx. 300 ml

3. Take it off the heat, and strain the sauce, leave it cool at room temperature

To serve:
1. Place 3-4 fish cakes in a bowl
2. Add the sliced cucumber
3. Pour the sauce
4. Garnish it with dried shrimp crumbles

* dried shrimp is available in many Asian grocery stores. You may get it out of a package or you can buy it in kilos or grams. To prepare the dried shrimps crumble, just toss some of the dried shrimps on a pan with no oil, pan fried it until fragrant. Pound the shrimps with mortar and pestle or use a food processor.

'Till then,



  1. It seems "pempek season" on Indonesian foodie blogs. I happened making pempek pistel at the beginning of April. I still have cuko leftover, so I made otak-otak as well.

    Your cucumber curls look so pretty

  2. @Indonesian Eats..
    Sounds good.. :D:D I love otak-otak so much. I love the smell of the burnt banana leaves. :)

  3. @chocolatesuze..
    Thanks Suze :D