This is the recipe for my mum’s famous Pecel Ikan Cencaru. It’s her version of Pecel LeLe – LeLe in Indonesian means Ikan Keli (catfish). She’s not too fond of Ikan Keli so that explains the substitute.
Ingredients1 kilo of Ikan Cencaru
3 cloves of garlic
200 grams of akar cekur
50 grams of ikan bilis (anchovies)
50 grams of cili padi (bird’s eye chillies)
One teaspoon of tamarind
Coconut milk from 2 coconuts.
The Ikan Cencaru need to be grilled first then deboned to obtain just the flesh.
Place all of the ingredients you see in the photo below in a mortar and grind. Ingredients from clockwise – akar cekur, garlic, cili padi, fried ikan bilis and fried shallots.
The akar cekur are washed and scrubbed clean. The shallots and ikan bilis are deep fried first.
Place the coconut milk in a pot.
Place the pot over the stove and put in the grinded ingredients.
Stir well and bring to a slight boil to thicken.
Once the gravy is thick, place in the pot the ikan cencaru flesh carefully as not to break them.
Allow to cook for another ten minutes, making sure the stove is on low heat as not to break the coconut milk (pecah santan as they say)
You can add terung bakar (grilled eggplant) as well or substitute it with the ikan cencaru if you wish.
One thing about this dish is that, you don’t need other fancy veges to accompany. Pecel is often best with just plain blanched veges. I guess kampong dishes are always simple, taking ingredients from your own gardens or orchid (kebun) and using the catch of the day, hence the simplicity.