Executive Chef of Amuz Gourmet Restaurant Stefu Santoso shared his version of Bangkanese Lempah Kuning.
Bangka is popular for tangy and spicy food using fresh seafood as it is a tropical island. It is also one of few regions in Indonesia dare enough to incorporating sweet ingredients in savoury dishes. Known as a melting pot for Malay and Chinese ethnicities in Sumatera, it results in rich culinary culture.
Lempah Kuning is a very well-known dish of Bangka. It has distinctive taste consists of acidity of lime and tamarind juice, savouriness of seafood and bumbu putih (white spice mixture), and spiciness of chili. The sweetness of pineapple even add fresher element in the dish.
Bumbu putih and bumbu merah used in Lempah Kuning are base mixtures used in many Indonesian dishes. Every Indonesian house has its own exact recipe but bumbu putih mainly consists of shallot, garlic, candlenut, coriander seeds, salt, and pepper while bumbu merah consists of bumbu putih ingredients mixed with ground chili. These mixtures can be made in high quantity and sautéed to extend its shell life to one month in the freezer.
Chef Stefu Santoso, whose mother is from Bangka, has his own twist of Lempah Kuning. Instead of using grouper fish, he uses barramundi fish with its thick meaty texture and mild flavour. Not only using pineapple to add fruity sweetness in his Lempah Kuning, he also uses green tomato to give it more tangy kick. To give his Lempah Kuning thicker sauce, chef Stefu uses instant seasoned flour mainly used for frying chicken.
Here is chef Stefu’s take on Bangkanese Lempah Kuning.
Barramundi Lempah Kuning
120 grams barramundi fish
Lempah Kuning broth:
50 grams shallot
50 grams bumbu putih
12 grams bumbu merah
60 grams green tomato
25 grams galangal
3 grams kaffir lime leaves
110 grams diced pineapple
12 grams spring onion
20 grams red chili
5 grams shrimp paste
50 grams fresh grated turmeric
7 grams tamarind juice
12 grams fresh ginger
750 grams water
50 grams lime juice
20 grams seasoned flour
15 grams garlic with its skin
3 salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaf)
3 grams white sugar
1. In a saucepan, sauté shallot together with red chili, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and ginger until it develops its aroma.
2. Add bumbu putih, turmeric, and bumbu merah, stir.
3. Add the remaining ingredients except tamarind juice.
4. Simmer until it develops thick broth and pineapples are getting tender.
5. Add tamarind juice, stir.
6. Add barramundi and simmer until fish is cooked.
7. Garnish with julienned chili and spring onion.