Otak-otak, of Malay and Nyonya origins, is a blend of raw fish, chopped onions, coconut milk, herbs and spices bound together with egg. The puree is wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled over an open charcoal fire and served usually as an accompaniment to a meal of nasi lemak or white rice.

Although more often grilled, the otak-otak is also sometimes baked and often steamed. I am still not very sure from which part of the states otak otak originated from.Some say its from Terengganu,since Terengganu is famous as a fishing state, the fish-based foods that are produced by the people of Terengganu are made of fresh fishes to maintain its original taste.

Otak-otak from different parts of the states are very different from the Nyonya Otak-otak from Melaka. At most parts the otak otak is in long stick which is opposed to the Nyonya Otak-otak at Melaka which is wrapped in banana leaves and looks like a wrapped up kuih.

When it comes to preparing good Malaysian Otak-Otak, be picky about the fish you choose. Red snapper fillet is highly desirable, but you can also use Spanish Mackerel--actually just select your favorite white fish fillet.Nowadayz many uses bonely white fish .I use dory or sutchi at times .

Otak-Otak could be steamed or grilled or more commonly I prefer to bake it. I personally like the grilled version because the burnt smell of banana leaves enhances the flavor.But its difficult for me to grill the traditional way so I normally steam it then bake it half way.

While fish otak-otak is most common, otak-otak is also commonly made with prawns, often resulting in a more textured variety.


500gm Minced fish meat
4 Calamansi lime leaves/limau purut leaves(shredded finely)
50gm coconut milk or 3 tbsp coconut cream
4 tbsp calamansi lime juice/kaffir lime juice
1 egg (beaten)
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp potato flour
Salt to taste

To be pounded fine

4 lemon grass
100gm shallots
4 garlic
1 in fresh turmeric
60gm chilli paste/cili boh
5 red chillies
1 in galangal
3 candlenuts

Combine the pounded ingredients with fish meat,egg, lime juice,coconut milk, shredded calamansi leaves and salt.Marinate for about 15mins.Add in the flours then wrap the mixture with banana leaf .Steam for 15mins in rapid boiling water ,then bake it for another 15mins.Serve hot with rice. You can also grill the fish until cooked.

Here is a step by step to guide you :

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