Pempek is Indonesian fish cakes, very similar to Japanese fish cakes. Our pempek is made from a mixture of ground fish and tapioca flour and comes in various shapes.
Regardless of their shapes, they are first boiled, then fried, and finally cut into small pieces, and served with saus cuko, a rather thick, spicy, and sweet tamarind sauce.
Pempek is primarily made from ikan tenggiri (spanish mackerel). But you can make it with other white firm flesh fish too, like cod. Today I am going to share with you a rather unexpected recipe for pempek ayam lenjer – fried chicken sticks using ground chicken!
Anchovy stocks and ground dried shrimps to rescue
This ground chicken pempek tastes very similar to Indonesian pempek, and most probably cannot tell they are not made from fish if you don’t reveal the secret.
The dried shrimps are used in the sauce, but if you don’t want to buy another product, you can also just use the same anchovy stock for the sauce.
Another alternative if you don’t have anchovy stock is to use Japanese dashi stock. Your pempek will still have that desired fish flavor, but I prefer the one with anchovy stock.
There is no need to fry them all!
This recipe makes a rather large batch of pempek. You can freeze some of the pempek after step 5 and fry in the future as needed.
You need to follow the recipe up to step 5, that is, until the boiling step.
Once boiled and chilled to room temperature, wrap each log with a saran wrap, then store them in a large freezer bag.
When you want to have some pempek, grab some of the frozen boiled chicken sticks and let them thaw, then proceed from step 6.
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