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(Masbar) Mpek Mpek Palembang

We couldn’t deny that snacking is a part of Indonesian eating culture. We like to snack in between meals, either would it be mid morning, mid afternoon or late at night. Therefore we can find snack vendors easily across the country. There are just so many kinds to suit your mood, from sweet pisang goreng (banana fritters), savoury bakwan goreng (vegetable fritters) to sweet and spicy rujak buah (mixed fruit with sweet and spicy sauce). With around 230 millions people to feed everyday we could be sure that there are enough choices to please every appetite.

You can find those street vendors selling yummy food 24/7. The so called street vendor is just a name, you could actually find them in many places. They could be either on the market, on the side of a street, in front of a closed shop late at night or even in front of your doorstep. How could one has a street vendor in front of his door step if you should ask? It’s because there are also various kind of ways to sell it ie; in a permanent space or with a cart pushed by the seller then he would make his way around the neighborhood.

Since there are none of those food street vendors in this place (I mean not the Indonesian kind) I had to make it myself. One of my favourite snack of all time would be this Pempek Palembang or Mpek Mpek Palembang or Empek Empek Palembang. I first tasted it years and years ago in a local food court in Bali and yes I immediately liked the taste. It is made basically from sago flour, tenggiri fish fillet (spanish mackerel) then served with sweet and spicy sauce made primarily made from tamarind, palm sugar and bird’s eye chili. The savory taste of the fish cake marry nicely with the sweet, tangy yet spicy sauce. It’s seriously heaven.

This post is my contribution to this month’s Masbar with the theme Panganan Kaki Lima (Food ala Street Vendor). If you would like to participate in our event, there is still time until next week, please do visit our blog for more information.

But if you ask again why we named street vendor as kaki lima? Kaki lima literally means five legs, and those vendors with the cart usually has three legs on their cart and the other two legs would be the legs of the seller. Funny eh?

The recipe below belongs to dear blogger friend Mbak Ine Sena, I have tried some other recipes but so far hers is the best, thank you ya Mbak for sharing the recipe with us.

Empek2 Palembang

For the fish cake

Ingredients:
– 200 gr spanish mackerel fillet
– 150gr sago flour (I used tapioca flour)
– 1 tbsp tang mien flour
– 125 ml ice water
– 2 cloves of garlic, smoothly pound
– 2 tsp salt
– 3 tsp sugar

Directions:
– Grind the fish fillet, spices and 50 ml ice water with food processor until it forms lumps.
– Add the rest of the ice water, keep pulsing until the mixture mixs well.
– Add tapioca and tang mien flour, continue pulsing until smooth.
– Shape the fish paste as you like

Cuko

Ingredients:
– 200 gr palm sugar
– 600 ml water
– 25 gr tamarind
– 1 tbsp preserved cabbage (tong cai)
– 5 bird’s eye chili, sliced
– 5 cloves of garlic, lightly broken with a pestle
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 tbsp Indonesian sweet soy sauce (I omitted this)

Directions:
– Boil water with palm sugar, tamarind and preserve cabbage until boiled. Keep boiling for around 15 minutes, drained. You can add more water if you prefer.
– Boil again, add garlic and chili, add the rest of the ingredients. Continue boiling until the taste of all the ingredients is absorbed in the sauce.
– Taste and adjust to your own palate.

Note: If you live abroad where spanish mackerel is difficult to find you could replace it with white fish fillet such as; cod or pollack but however the best fish to use is still spanish mackerel.

Source: Ine Sena, Mpek Mpek and Cuko

Bakwan Jagung (Indonesian Corn Fritter)

According to Wikipedia, corn is no. 3 most important crop in the world after wheat and rice. In Indonesia where the soil is not suitable for growing rice, they grow and eat corn as a main source of carbohydrate. Meanwhile in Java we eat rice as a main source of carbohydrate and make corn into something else like this tasty corn fritter.

Bakwan Jagung

Ingredients:
– 2 corn on the cob (remove the kernels from the corn and use the edge of a spoon to scrape the sides of the cob to remove any remaining pulp). If you couldn’t find fresh corn, canned corn would do too.
– 1 stalk sprint onion, finely sliced
– 1 stalk Asian celery, finely sliced
– 3 lime leaves, julienne
– 1 red chili, finely sliced
– 1 egg
– 5 tbs flour (or more depending on the consistency of the batter)
– Some water
– Vegetable oil for frying

Spice paste:
– 3 shallots
– 3 garlic
– 1 tsp coriander
– Salt
– Sugar
– Pepper

Directions:
– Pound spice paste ingredients until smooth.
– Mix corn with spice paste, spring onion, Asian celery, chili, lime leaves and egg. Add water and flour until desired consistency, the batter should be somewhat thick.
– Heat vegetable oil in the pan, drop the batter with a tablespoon and fry each side for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Source: My mother

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