Otak-otak has its origin in the Thai
ho mok and the Indonesian pepes. Like them, it is sometimes steamed and
sometimes grilled over charcoal. After cooking, the packets or parcels is opened
and their contents eaten hot. They may be stored for up to two days in the
refrigerator. For a more simple approach which makes a good lunch dish, steam
otak-otak in a large covered dish or individual ramekins, or baked it in a pan
of water in the oven and serve it with salad or plain rice. It can also be a
good companion for a sandwich spread.
Fish - mackerel, salmon, threadfin or
Thick coconut milk
Small hen eggs or one duck egg
Kaffir lime leaves, spines removed and
leaves finely sliced or shredded
Betel leaves or young spinach leaves
Freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of sugar and salt to taste
Banana leaves or ramekins or oven dish
or foil for containers
Fresh chilies, sliced
Lemongrass, finely sliced
Fresh turmeric of one tsp turmeric
Shrimp paste, approx. 1.5cm by 1.5cm
Prepare fish by cleaning, skinning and flaking the flesh.
Pound the spices, using a mortar and pestle, to a paste,
adding the spice ingredients one by one in the order in which they are listed above.
In a large mixing, add in the fish, pounded spices, coconut
milk, eggs, salt, sugar and lime leaves and gently stir to mix thoroughly by hand.
Make banana-leaf parcels for steaming as follows - Cut
banana leaves in pieces of approx. 20cm square and gently heat them over an open flame until
Place three betel leaves overlapping in the center of the
banana leaf, then spoon 2 - 3 heaped tablespoons of the mixture on top.
Pleat in the sides, then fold one side of the pleat to the
front and one side to the back. Repeat on the other side to encase the content loosely, in
order to have room for expansion.
Secure top with a toothpick or staples.
Place the parcels on the rack of a steamer and allow approx.
20 minutes of steaming time or until cooked and set.
Serve each parcel in its banana-leaf wrapper.
Asian Melting Pot
Subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter below
Cooking tips: If banana leaves are not
available, grease an oven dish or individual ramekins lightly, line the bottom
with betel leaves and pour in the mixture.