Otak – Otak Recipe (Spicy Steamed Fish Mousse)
OTAK – OTAK RECIPE (SPICY STEAMED FISH MOUSSE)
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.
500g Fish – mackerel, salmon, threadfin or barramundi
250ml Thick coconut milk
2 pieces Small hen eggs or one duck egg
4 pieces Kaffir lime leaves, spines removed and leaves finely sliced or shredded
20 pieces 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
5 pieces Fresh chilies, sliced
1 stalk Lemongrass, finely sliced
2 slices Galangal, chopped
2.5cm Fresh turmeric of one tsp turmeric powder
5 pieces Candlenuts, roasted
1 piece Shrimp paste, approx. 1.5cm by 1.5cm
2 cloves Garlic, sliced
5 stalks Shallots, sliced
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 softened.
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.