Time: 40 minutes.
Difficulty: Relatively Easy.
I know, but no. It literally translate as brain but it actually has nothing to do with brain at all.#myshoku@191029
Otak-otak is a Malaysian Nyonya (Peranakan) delicacy that has been passed down for generations. Different from their Indonesian counterpart, the Malaysian otak-otak is orange in colour instead of white.
The otak-otak has a fantastic blend of fish paste goodness combined with the sweet, spicy fragrant spices. Interestingly, the otak-otak recipe is almost a no-brainer as long as you own a blender. It is commonly eaten as a snack by itself or served with rice. I tend to eat otak-otak as my supper back in Malaysia.
I do not wish to lie but belacan is almost essential in this recipe. However, if you don’t have it, the lime leaves would still help with the taste, though it would not give the same intense flavour like the belacan do. Red chillies are also pretty scarce in Japan but it could be compensated with dried chillies.
After several tries on the flavour of the spices, I finally manage to come up with this easy recipe:
- 100 g shallots (Alternative: onions)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 20 g galanga (Alternative: ginger)
- 8 finely chopped kaffir lime leaves (Alternative: laurel)
- 10 dried chillies
- 2 red chillies
- 1 tablespoon of blended lemongrass (Alternative: zest of half a lime)
- 15 g belacan (shrimp paste)
- 300 g mackerel / red snapper (アジ/タイ) >>> Dry with kitchen rolls!
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 3-4 teaspoons of seafood curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon of salt
- 2 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons of corn flour
- 250 ml coconut milk (Alternative: milk)
- Blend everything in A. Next add in ingredients B and blend them together. I recommend adding the coconut milk little by little for a better texture. The result is you would get a nice bright yellow fish paste as shown below. The paste can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, but I wouldn’t suggest any longer beyond that.
[Additional info: Stir frying mixture A before blending with B could enhance flavour]
2. Spread it across and wrap it with banana leaves…….. So if you are living abroad and on a budget like me, go on with an aluminium foil. It may be slightly lacking on banana’s fragrance, but hey, it is still do-able! Anyway, if you could get your hands on banana leaves, I strongly recommend you flame it slightly before wrapping the paste to allow maximum release of fragrance.
Run out of spices? Fear not! Click here to learn more about ingredient substitutes!
3. Grilled it on a low heat (My apartment kitchen comes with a small grill). 15 minutes on both sides. If you are using an oven, pre-heat it to 200 °C before you panggang it (grill).
4. Open the banana leaves/wrapping up and there you go, your favourite supper within an hour!
What do you think of our recipe? Comment below and share with us!