If you are in the mood for some spicy dish, may I suggest giving this ayam goreng saus tauco – fried chicken in spicy soy bean sauce a try? There is two parts to this dish, fried chicken pieces, and the spicy soy bean sauce. Once you master this recipe, feel free to switch the chicken with fish, tofu, or tempeh, and I guarantee it will work with any of my suggested substitute.
For the juiciest possible result, stick with chicken thigh. That said, if all you have at home is chicken breast, it definitely will work so don’t worry too much about it. For a speedy cooking time, cut chicken thigh (or breast) into strips, and marinate with bruised (or roughly minced) garlic, lime juice, and salt. Once it has rested for 15 minutes, start preparing oil for deep frying. You can then whisk all purpose flour, tapioca starch (corn starch is okay too), and salt. Dump the chicken into the flour mixture and coat really really well, there shouldn’t be any liquid at all at this stage. Fry chicken until golden brown and set aside.
Tauco and Terasi/Belacan
Some of the key ingredients for this delicious sauce is tauco (salted soy beans) and terasi/belacan (shrimp paste). The links I provide are for products that should be available in your Asian market, such as Marina or 99 Ranch. Of course, you can always buy from Amazon, but the price is more expensive online. Another ingredient that you may consider getting online is Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam). You cannot substitute regular bay leaves with Indonesian bay leaves, and if you cannot get them, my suggestion is to omit from the recipe.
Spicy Soy Bean Sauce
Once you have all the ingredients for the sauce together, first, make the spice paste by grinding with a food processor/blender. I find that if I add a teaspoon of oil into my food processor along with the ingredients, the blended paste is much smoother. To prepare for the spicy soy bean sauce, simply fry the spice paste, lemongrass, and Indonesian bay leaves until fragrant. Add tauco, sugar, mix well, then add water and bring to a boil. Once the sauce is reduced and look slightly dry, add fried chicken to the pan and toss to coat well. It is best to serve this dish hot with some steamed white rice.
Spicy food lovers rejoice! Today I am sharing this wonderfully umami loaded bakso sapi saus Padang – Indonesian spicy meatballs with you. There are two parts of the recipe, making the meatballs, and the amazingly delicious saus Padang (spicy tomato and chili sauce). I get it that some don’t eat beef in their diets, like my Mom, so feel free to sub with ground chicken or ground pork for the meatballs. Regardless of your meat choice, I promise it will come out ah-may-zing!
Bakso Sapi (Beef Meatballs)
There is nothing exceptionally different in making Indonesian style meatballs (bakso) compared to its Western counterpart. The main different lies more in cooking process. There are two main ways in cooking the meatballs, either we boil them in plenty of water, or we deep fry them in super hot oil. We are going to go with the first method for this recipe.
Saus Padang (Umami Rich Tomato and Chili Sauce)
Padang cuisine is famous for its spicy and savory dishes and is one of the most beloved in the country. There is a saying that no matter where you are in Indonesia, there will be at least one Padang restaurant to satisfy your craving. But saus Padang, literally Padang sauce, has nothing to do with the distinguished cuisine. Instead, this sauce is basically a super spicy tomato sauce consists mainly of tomato ketchup, chili sauce, and oyster sauce, with aromatics such as onion, garlic, and ginger. I’m guessing it starts as some signature sauce in a restaurant that somehow gets adopted widely around the country.
How do you prepare your eggplant? Indonesian love to prepare eggplant dishes with plenty of sauce which goes really well with steamed white rice. One of my favorite eggplant dish is this terong saus tomat pedas – eggplant in spicy tomato sauce. A great thing about this dish is you can adjust the strength of heat by using different types of chilies. If you want a milder dish, use fresno chilies. If you want a super spicy dish, go with Thai red chilies. And when you simply cannot tolerate any heat at all, feel free to sub with red bell pepper.
This time I use eggplant that is common in United States, which is more oval and round with a darker skin color. If you have access to Asian market, you can buy the thinner and longer eggplants. The ones you buy from Asian market is closer to what you get in Indonesia. Either way, just chop your eggplant into big bite size pieces.
Eggplant and Deep Frying
Most Indonesian eggplant dishes will require deep frying the eggplant first before further cooking with sauce. I know that deep frying is not exactly a chore most people are fond of, but when it comes to eggplant, there is no avoiding it. You can try coating with oil and roast in oven, but the final dish is just not quite the same as the one I get back at home, to my taste buds at least.
Here comes the sauce
Finally, it’s time to make the sauce. Simply sauté the aromatics (garlic, ginger, and chilies), and season with tomato ketchup, kecap manis, fish sauce, pepper, sugar, and water. Once the sauce boils, add the fried eggplants, and toss gently to coat. Transfer the cooked dish to a serving plate and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
Saus ayam jamur – chicken mushroom sauce is probably the number one topping for noodles in Indonesia. Just about any noodle shop you visit will have this topping, so if you are Indonesian and you miss the kind of noodles you grow up with, try making this easy sauce. I usually have a large batch sitting in my fridge so I can boil a serving of egg noodles and just add this topping to make a delicious meal. Super useful on busy days as I don’t need to make complicated dishes.
Not just mushroom and chicken
Obviously you need chicken and mushroom, but there is so much else going on to create this delicious sauce. You need onion, garlic, and don’t forget your hard boiled eggs! As for seasonings, you need soy sauce, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), and ground pepper. So quite a bit more than simply chicken and mushroom, but the rest of the ingredients should be easy to procure.
Easy cooking even for beginners
There are recipes that are suited for people who have been cooking for years and years, and then there are recipes like this. I have been making this chicken and mushroom sauce since back in my college days, so I am quite certain even novice cooks can handle this. First, you fry the onion, garlic, mushroom, and chicken. Then, add soy sauce, kecap manis, ground pepper, and water. Once it boils, add hard boiled eggs (peeled!), and simmer away for 30 minutes. Easy!
Empal is a very popular Javanese dish, typically made from thinly pounded beef shank, cooked in spices, and finally fried. It can be a pretty laborious dish, and Mom usually just buy them from her favorite empal specialty store.
I recreate this dish with shredded chicken thigh meat, which cuts the cooking time significantly, but the taste is pretty much there. I hope you will give this ayam suwir saus empal – chicken in spices & coconut milk sauce recipe a try.
Poached chicken thigh meat
If you have any experience cooking with beef shank, you know it is a very tough cut and requires a long cooking time to make it tender.
Here I use skinless boneless chicken thigh meat, poached in boiling water for 20 minutes. So much faster, plus I get to prepare the spices while the chicken is gently poaching away.
Once done, just remove the chicken from the hot water, and shred the meat with two forks.
Once you are familiar with Indonesian dishes, you can expect a pretty long list of spices, and empal is no different. You need ginger, galangal, daun salam, tamarind, kecap manis, coconut milk, coriander, cumin, candlenuts (I use macadamia), shallot (I use red onion), and garlic.
Daun salam is usually translated into bay leaf, but I think it is more appropriate to call it Indonesian bay leaf since regular bay leaf is wildly different compared to our daun salam. If you cannot find this, it is best to omit instead of sub with regular bay leaf.
Terasi/belacan/shrimp paste is an important ingredient in Indonesian culinary. We use it to prepare Indonesian most popular chili sauce, sambal terasi, and it is also present in many Indonesian dishes. Today’s recipe for this delicious terong saus terasi (eggplant with spicy shrimp paste sauce) also uses terasi to give it a rich umami flavor.
What is terasi/belacan/shrimp paste?
Terasi is made from tiny shrimps fermented with salt. It is shaped into a block with dark chocolate color. It has a very pungent smell, akin to a highlyl condensed and intense smell of fish sauce.
It can be hard to find Indonesian terasi sold in the United States. I use Malaysian belacan most of the time and it tastes almost exactly like Indonesian terasi. If your market doesn’t have terasi nor belacan, you can also try Thai shrimp paste.
I hope you will be able to find one of these three and use it to prepare this lovely dish.
How to use/toast terasi
Terasi/belacan must be toasted before using it. Cut the amount called for in a recipe, and toast it until the color is pale and becomes crumbly.
The easiest method will be putting the shrimp paste in a microwave-proof bowl, cover the bowl with a microwave-proof plate, and cook for 30 seconds. This is usually enough to toast the terasi properly.
If you don’t own a microwave, you can also pan-fry the terasi in a frying pan without any oil until pale and crumbly. Using an oven toaster works too, or if you have a gas stove, use a pair of tongs to grab the terasi and stick it in the open flame.
Ingredients for terong saus terasi
This recipe needs eggplants, tomatoes, red chilies, shallot, garlic, terasi/belacan/shrimp paste, kaffir lime leaves, scallions, salt, and sugar.
Indonesian eggplants are similar to Chinese eggplants, which are slimmer and lankier than their American cousins. But you don’t have to use Chinese eggplants for this dish. I was using American globe eggplants when I prepared this recipe.
I use dried Thai red chilies since that’s the most convenient and reliable chilies I stock at home. I simply soak the dried chilies in hot water until soft before using it.
You can use fresh red chilies too if you do have them in your kitchen.
The number of chilies is not exact and you can adjust the amount to suit your preferred spiciness level of the final dish.
Preparing eggplant for frying
A successful stir-fried eggplant dish depends more on how you prep the eggplants, and less on the variety of eggplants you decide to use for that dish.
Eggplants, be it Chinese eggplants or American globe eggplants, have so much excess air distributed within their spongy cell networks. This trapped air is the reason why frying eggplants, untreated, or as-is, tends to make eggplants stick and burn when you stir-fry them. So how do we avoid this?
The most fail-proof and easiest method that I have found over the years is by cutting eggplants into wedges, and soak them in a big bowl of salted water. Usually for two medium-size eggplants, soaking them in a mixture of 2 quarts water and 1/3 cup salt for 30 minutes should break down the cell structure and the eggplants will fry beautifully.
Remember to drain the eggplants and pat dry them well with paper towels so they won’t splatter when fried in hot oil.
Cooking the eggplant dish
First, use a food processor or a blender with a spice attachment to grind together red chilies, shallot, garlic, and toasted shrimp paste into a smooth paste.
Next, heat a wok over medium-high heat until hot, then add 4 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add eggplant wedges into the wok sear until golden brown. Set aside.
Lower the heat to a medium, there should be some oil left in the wok, but if there isn’t, add a little more oil so it comes to about 2 tablespoons. Add the spice paste and kaffir lime leaves and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add tomato, salt, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tomato wilts.
Return fried eggplants into the wok and turn up the heat to medium-high. Once it boils, reduce the heat to a medium and cook until eggplant is soft and tender, and the sauce has reduced.
Turn off the heat. Transfer the dish to a serving plate and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
Other recipes using terasi
If you love terasi and would like to use it more to prepare other dishes, you can try some of these recipes:
Fried Fish in Honey Lemon Sauce (Indonesian: Ikan Goreng Saus Lemon) has been one of my favorite food since childhood. The crispy fried fish sticks, paired with a thick and sticky honey lemon sauce is truly delicious.
To ensure that guests can enjoy the crispy fish sticks, some restaurants separate the fried fish and the lemon sauce. Right before serving, the server will combine the fish sticks and the lemon sauce in front of the guests before placing the dish on the table.
I don’t usually do the above since I always serve this dish immediately right before our meal, but it is a neat trick if you are preparing this dish in advance.
Ingredients for fried fish in honey lemon sauce
1. Fried fish sticks, or fried fish fingers
For the fried fish sticks, we will need fish fillet, lemon juice, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, bread crumbs, water, and oil for deep-frying.
You can use tilapia, red snapper, cod, haddock, pollock, or other firm flesh white fish that are suitable for fish sticks.
If you don’t feel like making your own fried fish sticks from scratch, you can buy fish sticks in the frozen aisle of your supermarket and follow the packaging instruction.
2. Honey lemon sauce
For the honey lemon sauce, we will need unsalted butter, onion, garlic, lemon, honey, chicken stock, salt, sugar, tapioca starch, and scallions.
This sauce is all about lemon, so be sure to use some lovely fresh lemons to get their zest and juice.
Although you can always use lemon concentrate in a pinch, I highly advise waiting until you can get some fresh lemons before trying this recipe.
Fish sticks: marinating, coating, and frying
1. Marinate fish
Cut fish fillets into sticks/batons, then marinate with salt and lemon juice for 15 minutes.
2. Coat fish
Mix all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, and water into a thick paste. Add this to the marinated fish and mix well. Finally, coat the fish with bread crumbs and set aside.
3. Deep fry fish
Heat enough oil in a pot for deep-frying over medium heat. Once the oil is hot (180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit), fry the fish until the surface is crispy and golden brown.
Remove fried fish sticks with a slotted spoon and drain excess oil over a wire rack. Please don’t drain fried fish on paper towels since they will become soggy.
Honey lemon sauce
Make sure you have all the ingredients for honey lemon sauce ready before cooking since this sauce cook in a matter of minutes.
Start by melting butter in a wok/skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and the onion is translucent.
Add chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Stir to mix and cook until boiling.
Give the sauce a quick taste test. You may want to add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar if the sauce is too sour.
Once you are happy with the flavor, add the cornstarch slurry, and cook for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.
Return fried fish sticks to the wok/skillet, and toss gently to coat. Turn off the heat, and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
Finally, transfer the finished dish to a serving plate and serve immediately.
Home / All Recipes / Indonesian / Pempek Adaan & Saus Cuko – Chicken and Shrimp Balls & Spicy Tamarind Sauce
Imagine a bowl of crispy golden brown deep-fried meatballs, cut into bite-size pieces, served with a savory-sweet and spicy tamarind sauce. If you are drooling from that description, then you will be very happy to create pempek at home.
Although fish is commonly the main ingredient in pempek, today I am sharing this recipe for pempek adaan using chicken and shrimp. You will also learn how to prepare saus cuko (spicy tamarind sauce) from scratch to serve with your homemade pempek. I will even give you tips to prepare an almost instant pempek with frozen packets of fish balls.
What is Pempek?
Pempek, Mpek-Mpek, or Empek-Empek, is Indonesian fish cakes considered as the signature dish of the city of Palembang in South Sumatra.
The main ingredients for Pempek fish cakes are fish, especially Spanish mackerel (Indonesian: ikan tenggiri), and tapioca flour. The fish paste can be boiled or fried, but they are always served with saus cuko (spicy tamarind sauce).
The story has it that Pempek is created around the 16th century by an old Chinese immigrant man who lives in the area around the Musi river in the city of Palembang. He uses the bountiful fish in the area and mixes it with tapioca and spices to create fish cakes, and sells them in his cart around the village. Apek is how people address an old Chinese man, and along the way, the dish itself is known as pempek/mpek-mpek/empek-empek.
What is Pempek Adaan?
My best translation for pempek adaan is anything pempek, or pempek without fish. In this recipe, we will use a combination of ground chicken and ground shrimp for the meatballs instead of fish.
What is saus cuko and how to make it?
Saus cuko, kuah cuko, or just cuko, is the spicy sauce to accompany a bowl of pempek. It has a sweet, spicy, and sour note from tamarind, garlic, bird-eye chili, and coconut palm sugar.
For a more deluxe version of saus cuko, you can add a tablespoon of dried tiny shrimps (Indonesian: ebi) and/or a tablespoon of Tianjin preserved vegetables (Chinese: 冬菜- dong cai).
Saus cuko is a very thin sauce, very similar to noodle broth. It is very common to serve pempek with boiled egg noodles, sliced cucumbers, and the spicy tamarind sauce.
To make saus cuko, simply boil water with minced garlic, thinly sliced bird-eye chilies, tamarind, and coconut palm sugar. Turn off the heat once all the sugar melts.
You can strain and serve the sauce immediately. I prefer to let the sauce steep while I prepare pempek to get an even better flavor for the sauce. I strain the sauce once I am ready to serve the pempek.
Step-by-step to prepare pempek adaan mixture
In a mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, ground shrimp, ground shallot, salt, sugar, eggs, and coconut milk into a uniform mixture.
Add tapioca flour and use a spatula to gently fold into the ground chicken and shrimp mixture until uniform.
TIPS: Sometimes, there is no need to add the whole 500 gram of tapioca flour to create the meatball mixture. I start with about 2/3 of the tapioca flour, then only add as much as needed until the mixture reaches a meatball-like mixture consistency.
Chill this mixture in the fridge while we heat a pot of oil for deep-frying. If you don’t wish to fry the meatballs on the same day, you can wrap the bowl with a plastic wrap and just rest it in the fridge overnight.
Optionally, you can shape and boil the meatball mixture in a pot of water at this point. You can freeze boiled meatballs in a freezer-safe ziplock bag for up to 3 months. When you want to enjoy some pempek, fry the frozen meatballs in hot oil without thawing.
Frying pempek mixture into fried meatballs
Heat a pot of oil over medium heat until the oil is hot. Remove meatball mixture from the fridge, drop tablespoonfuls of meatball mixture gently into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.
Here are my tips for frying pempek:
1. Know when the oil is hot
If you have a thermometer, wait until the oil reaches 170 Celsius (340 Fahrenheit) before frying the meatballs.
If you don’t have a thermometer, try dropping a tiny meatball mixture into the oil. The oil is ready when the mixture floats to the surface instead of sinks to the bottom of the pot.
2. Use a cookie scoop
If you use a medium-size cookie scoop, you can use the scoop release trigger to drop the meatball mixture easily into the hot oil.
3. Fry in batches
Try to maintain the oil temperature during frying, don’t crowd the pot, and fry the meatballs in batches if necessary. For reference, fry seven meatballs per batch when using an 8-inch pot with three inches of oil.
4. Drain over a wire rack
Remove fried meatballs from the hot oil with a slotted spoon or a strainer ladle. Place them on a stainless steel strainer over a mixing bowl to drain off excess oil so they will remain crispy.
How to serve pempek
Cut fried meatballs into halves or quarters and place them in individual serving bowls. At its simplest, serve the fried meatballs with the spicy tamarind sauce. Only ladle the sauce over the fried meatballs right before serving so the meatballs remain crispy.
For a complete and more filling meal, try boiling some egg noodles, and cut a cucumber into thin slices. Serve the bowl of pempek with egg noodles and cucumber slices.
I know that fresh egg noodles can be a luxury item in the US. I have also tried serving pempek with vermicelli, rice noodles, and even instant ramen noodles. They all work great and these are all easier options than finding egg noodles.
The case of an instant pempek
You can make an almost instant pempek if your grocery store or Asian market sells frozen packets of fish cakes or fish balls.
If the fish cakes/fish balls are the boiled variety, boil them following the packet instruction, then fry in hot oil, or even a simple pan-frying to get a golden brown crispy surface. It may be possible to fry them without boiling, but please confirm with the packaging instruction.
If you are lucky enough to find fried fish cakes/fried fish balls, then you can simply cook them following the packet instruction.
Serve these fried fish cakes or fish balls with the spicy tamarind sauce and you get an almost instant pempek.
Home / All Recipes / Chinese / Ayam Goreng Saus Kecap Inggris – Chicken with Worcestershire Sauce
Ayam goreng saus kecap Inggris is a dish of crispy fried chicken pieces served with sweet and savory Worcestershire sauce. This is a popular Chinese dish in Indonesia, and one of the many fried chicken dishes that I grew up with.
Worcestershire sauce is called kecap Inggris in Indonesia, and since the main ingredient for this sauce is Worcestershire sauce, we call this dish ayam goreng saus kecap Inggris.
Aside from this dish, two other popular fried chicken dish for many Chinese Indonesians are ayam goreng lada garam (spicy chili fried chicken) and ayam goreng mentega (fried chicken in buttery sweet soy sauce).
Ingredients for ayam goreng saus kecap Inggris
I. Fried chicken
For the fried chicken, we will need chicken breast/thigh, garlic, lime/lemon juice, salt, all-purpose flour, cornstarch/tapioca starch, and ground white pepper.