Pempek are 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 about pempek is the sauce, made with palm sugar, tamarind, garlic, and Thai chilli. Making the sauce is simple enough, as long as you can find all the ingredients.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-2 Thai chillies, seeded (optional, according to taste)
- 100 g palm sugar
- 25 g tamarind
- 400 ml water
- Grind garlic and chillies 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 pulp and seeds.
- Serve the sauce with deep fried fish balls and cucumber slices.