Fish Dumpling Sauce (Kuah Cuko)

Hi and Hello readers!! 😀

For Indonesian, according to the title, it might be appetizing because fish dumpling sauce or I usually call it kuah cuko is a kind of sour and spicy sauce for Indonesian Fish Dumpling or kind of Fishcake, named Pempek Palembang. One of my favorite dishes! 😛

Brief Introduction About Pempek

Pempek is a best-known as traditional dishes from Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia. This dishes is a kind of fishcake or fish dumpling which made from mackerel fish and tapioca flour (corn starch) as the basic important ingredients. Do you know Korean Rice Cake (toppoki)? The look is similar with toppoki, but pempek contains fish inside. Not less important, the typical sauce that always be served together with pempek is called kuah cuko or in English we can say literally as vinegar sauce. Kuah cuko is a kind of sweet-sour-and spicy sauce, the color is light brown to dark brown depends on the thickness of the sauce. 😀 (Now I am literally drolling! LOL :D) If you wanna taste the authentic Pempek Palembang, then come to Indonesia, and visit Palembang city in South Sumatra! You’ll be witched! 😀

doc. South Sumatra Tourism

In addition, pempek is usually served with fresh cucumber and yellow noodles. However, to make pempek is still quite difficult for me, because it is tricky to make the dough to be less fishy, and tender. Thus, in this blog I will only share how to make a home-made kuah cuko according to my version. I hope it will suit your palate as well. 😀 Beside that, I hope I can share the pempek recipe when I successfully made it! Can’t wait!

Let’s get started!  


4 siung bawang putih, cincang halus
4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 sdm asam jawa
1 tbsp tamarine paste (or tamarine pods) –> refer to google if you don’t get what I mean 😛

Ingredients for Cuko
Some ingredients to make kuah cuko

1 1/2 sdm ebi (udang kering), sangrai sebentar (1-2 menit), kemudian cincang halus
1 1/2 tbsp dried shrimp, roasted in a pan without oil for a few minutes (1-2 minutes), then chopped

150 gr gula merah (gula jawa)
150 gr palm sugar

2-3 buah cabe merah/cabe rawit, iris tipis
2-3 pieces of chilies, chopped

500 cc air
500 cc water

1 sdm cuka putih
1 tbsp white vinegar

minyak untuk menumis
oil for sautee

garam secukupnya
a pinch of sea salt

How to cook?

  1. Panaskan minyak dalam panci dengan api sedang
    Heat oil in the pot with medium heat
  2. Tumis bawang putih hingga harum dan mulai putih-kecoklatan, jangan gosong ya, nanti pahit! 😛
    Saute the garlic until its smell comes out and the color turns white-brown 
  3. Masukkan ebi dan cabe merah/rawit, tumis hingga harum
    Put and saute the dried shrimp and chilies
  4. Masukkan asam jawa ke dalam wajan, tumis sebentar
    Put the tamarine paste or tamarine pods into the pot, saute for 1 minute
  5. Masukkan air ke dalam panci, kemudian didihkan
    Pour water into the pot, then boil it
  6. Masukkan gula merah
    Put the palm sugar into the pot
  7. Tambahkan garam secukupnya
    Add a pinch of sea salt seasoning
  8. Masukkan cuka, aduk rata
    Pour white vinegar into the pot, mixed until it boiled\
  9. Gunakan hand-blender untuk mengocok bahan-bahan dalam saus dapat hancur hingga tercampur secara sempurna
    Use a hand-blender to help you mix the ingredients of the sauce perfectly. 
  10. Sempurnakan rasa
    Adjust the taste to fit your palate. 
  11. Angkat, kemudian saring kuah cuko sebelum dimasukkan ke dalam wadah
    Remove from the heat, and strain the sauce before we store it into a jar

Voila! Kuah cuko is ready to serve!

Fish Dumpling Sauce aka Cuko
Home-made Kuah Cuko in my version 😀

For me personally, I am not prefer to strain the sauce, I like to let it be, so I can keep the authentic taste of the sauce. Thus, it is optional. 😀 You also can skip the chilies if you don’t like spicy at all.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a hand-blender, it is only optional. But, make sure to chopped the ingredients finely, so that the dregs (in Bahasa is called ampas) can be minimized.

That’s it, readers! Hope this recipe suit your taste, and helpful. See ya in the next recipe! Bye!!

Happy cooking! Happy Tummy! Stay Healthy! 😀


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