How to make Malay Otak-Otak

Malay Otak-Otak

Malay Fish Mousse – or Otak-Otak – fresh fish fillets which are blended with light spices, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and other aromatic herbs, into a sort of fish mousse. The otah is then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or grilled. Otah-Otah makes an exotic appetizer, for bbq gatherings or cocktail party bite.

Recipe for Otak-Otak

Ingredients for Otak:

  • 50g galangal
  • 150g shallots
  • 50g garlic
  • 5g lemon grass (lemon grass), sliced thinly
  • 20g dried chilies (pre-soaked to soften and remove seeds)
  • 10g shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 2cm-length turmeric
  • 300g of fish flesh (spanish mackarel aka tenggiri, use a spoon to scrape flesh from the fish and place the flesh in a bowl)
  • 300ml thick coconut milk


  1. Grind galangal, shallots, garlic, lemon grass, dried chilies, shrimp paste and turmeric together finely.
  2. Grind again with minced fish meat and thick coconut milk to form a fine and smooth mixture.
  3. Spoon 1 tbsp fish mixture into banana leaf.
  4. Wrap up and secure otah-otah with toothpicks.
  5. Steam or barbecue otak-otak over charcoal fire till cooked.
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