Pempek has existed since the 16th century when the Kingdom of Srivijaya ruled the Palembang region. It was initially introduced by a food vendor named Bang Raden as an alternative to the abundant fish in the area. Since then, pempek has become a popular dish in Palembang and has spread to various regions across Indonesia.
Ingredients of Pempek:
Pempek is made from a mixture of finely ground mackerel fish, tapioca starch, water, salt, and other additional ingredients depending on the desired type of pempek. The use of mackerel fish provides a unique taste and a tender texture to the pempek.
Preparation Process of Pempek:
First, the mackerel fish is thoroughly cleaned and finely ground using a blender or meat grinder. Then, tapioca starch is added to the ground fish, followed by other ingredients such as salt and water. The mixture is stirred until well combined. The dough is then kneaded by hand or using a mixer until it becomes elastic and springy.
Once the dough is ready, the process of shaping the pempek begins. There are several common types of pempek, such as pempek kapal selam (submarine-shaped pempek with egg filling), pempek lenjer (long and wide pempek), pempek adaan (round-shaped pempek with minced fish filling), and pempek kulit (fried fish skin).
After shaping, the pempek are boiled in boiling water until cooked. They are then removed from the water and allowed to cool. Typically, pempek is served with a vinegar-based sauce made from vinegar, water, sugar, salt, chili peppers, and crushed garlic. This vinegar sauce provides a refreshing and tangy flavor that complements the pempek perfectly.
Variations of Pempek:
In addition to the aforementioned types of pempek, there are other variations such as pempek pistel (pempek with egg filling), pempek keriting (curly pempek), pempek tahu (pempek with tofu), and pempek kulit ikan (pempek made from fish skin). Each type of pempek has its own unique shape, texture, and filling, offering a variety of options for pempek lovers.
Pempek has become an integral part of Indonesian cuisine, particularly in the Palembang region and its surroundings. Not only is it delicious, but it also provides nutritional value due to the inclusion of mackerel fish, which is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.