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Otak-Otak Recipe

What is Otak-Otak? Otak-otak is a grilled fish cake made of ground fish meat mixed with tapioca starch and spices wrapped in banana leaves before being grilled over charcoal. It is widely known across Indonesia. This dish is best served with red chili mixed with fermented soy sauce, but in Jakarta it is accompanied with Java’s ubiquitous peanut sauce.

Otak-Otak Recipe

Serves 10

cooking time: 15 min, prep time: 30 min

Otak-otak ingredients:

  • 2 m-length banana leaves

  • 1 egg

  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced

  • 325 red snapper fillets or firm white fish fillets, sliced

  • ¼ cup coconut milk

  • 50 betel leaves

Spice paste

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 long red chilies, sliced

  • 3 large dried red chilies, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes

  • ½ lemongrass stalk, white part only, sliced

  • ½ tsp ground turmeric, chopped  

  • 1 tsp dried shrimp paste

Otak-otak Preparation:

  1. You will need 10 toothpicks for this recipe.

  2. Place banana leaves in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until softened. Refresh leaves in a bowl of iced water. Drain on paper towel and set aside.

  3. To make spice paste, process all ingredients and 1 tbsp water in a food processor to a smooth paste, adding more water if necessary.

  4. Transfer to a large bowl, add ¼ tsp salt, egg and kaffir lime leaves and stir until combined. Add fish, turn to coat, then gradually add coconut milk. mix and set aside.

  5. To make parcels, lay one piece of banana leaf on a flat surface, with the long edge facing you.

  6. Place 3 betel leaves, shiny-side down, in the centre of the banana leaf. Add a heaped tablespoonful of fish mixture and top with 2 more betel leaves. Fold the long edge closest to you to the top edge, enclosing the filling, then fold in the short edges until they overlap in the centre. Secure with a toothpick.

  7. Repeat filling and folding parcels with the remaining banana leaves, betel leaves and fish mixture.

  8. Place parcels in a large steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam for 10 minutes or until filling is firm.

How to make Otak-Otak Recipe Video:


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