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otak otak

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I can’t believe I actually “peng otak-otak” at home, but I really did. Otak-otak (otah-otah) is a South East Asian delight, popular in Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia, and consist of fish paste with spices wrapped & grilled in fragrant banana leaves.

See Also: Assam Fish Curry

My family loves my home-made otak-otak because of the fresh fish used in the fish paste mixture. If your family do not take chilli, you can make your own non-spicy version. It is great as a snack on its own, or served with Nasi Lemak (local rice cooked in coconut milk). Instead of grilling them the conventional way over a charcoal fire which really smokes and stinks the kitchen, I do so in the oven and the result is great. You can also add prawn, fish head or squid bits to make different varieties of otak-otak.

otak otak

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34 Responses to “Otak-Otak”

  1. Perlink — February 19, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

    I’ve been craving otah for a while since I moved to the US, and ingredients like kaffir lime leaves, belacan and galangal are not available. Nor are banana leaves. I’m sure I can figure something out with the belacan and the kaffir leaves but what about the banana leaf wrapping? I’m positive it lends a lot of aroma and nostalgia (for me at least) but what would you suggest? I was contemplating foil. What do you think?


    • Alba replied: — September 4th, 2015 @ 8:17 am

      Perlink, you can find the banana leaf from Asian Supermarket, they are in a packet and frozen in the huge fridge!


  2. Martin — July 19, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

    I recently went to Malaysia and had Otak-Otak for the first time, loved it and will try to make it myself soon – hopefully I can get all the ingredients here in germany.
    Yoour recipe looks awesome, one question: After preparing the paste, do you have to grill it immediately or can you for example keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours before grilling? (I’d like to do as much prep work as early as possible so I am not stressed out when my guests arrive, but sometimes it’s better to prepare everything as fresh as possible, not sure about Otak-Otak).


  3. Alan — November 4, 2013 @ 8:00 am

    My wife and I missed having otah since we now live in the US. I like your recipe, simple and I think I might be able to get all the ingredients. Does the amount tumeric powder make the color of the otah darker like the ones we get from the hawker centre?


    • wiffy replied: — November 13th, 2013 @ 11:13 am

      actually I think the tumeric makes it more yellow than red. For red, the dried red chilli will make it redder and “darker”.


  4. Alba — September 4, 2015 @ 8:25 am

    Hi, my kids love to eat the non spicy otak. Do you have the recipe for the non spicy otak? If you have, kindly post it to me, so that my kids and I can enjoy both types of otak ( spicy and non spicy )