Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Otak-Otak (Grilled Fish Cake)

I love otak-otak! It's one of my favorite snacks since childhood. It is very popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore although each region has a slight variation on how to cook them. Indonesian otak-otak consist of fish paste seasoned with spices, then wrapped in banana leaf and grilled on charcoal fire. It's served with peanut dipping sauce. Making them does take some prep time but it's so worth it!

Makes about 40


2 lbs. fish paste
2 egg whites
1 C. coconut milk
1/2 C. tapioca starch
1 t. salt
2 t. sugar
1 t. ground white pepper
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
3 Thai chili (optional)
5 chives (sliced)
Banana leaves (cut into approx. 4" x 8" strips)

Cooking instruction:
1. In a large bowl, mix fish paste, egg whites, and coconut milk.

2. In a small food processor, mince together shallots, garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, and Thai chili. Stir the spices into the fish mixture. Mix in the chives.

3. Take a tablespoon of mixture, spread it on the inner edge of a sheet of banana leaf and then roll. Staple each end to seal.

4. There are 3 options to grill otak-otak. The traditional way is to grill them on a charcoal grill. If you have a gas burner, you can place a wire rack on top of it. Use low setting and place several otak-otak on middle of the rack. Turn a few times to make sure the leaves don't catch on fire. The third option is to place them in the oven at 300 F for about 10 minutes, then turn and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/4 C. ground peanuts
1/4 C. ground candlenuts
2 red chili
5 Thai chili
1/2 C. warm water
1 T. white vinegar
1 T. sugar
Salt, to taste

Cooking instruction:
1. Combine all ingredients.

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