August 17th, 2006 15 Comments


Otak Otak UdangYou can’t keep a good recipe a secret, specially inSoutheast Asia; take fish fillet wrapped in banana leaves cooked with spices for example. Every SEA country has their own version: in Malaysia andIndonesia it’s known as Otak-Otak, in Thailand they prepare a similar dish called Hor Mok that includes an assortment of seafood–fish fillet, shrimp, and squid, and in Cambodia their variation is called Amok.

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. Otak-Otak could be steamed or grilled. I personally like the grilled version because the burnt smell of banana leaves enhances the flavor.

So what if I totally ignored the previous paragraph when I made some Otak-Otak a couple of days ago.

I reinvented this traditional dish to fit what was available to me. I made Otak-Otak Udang (Shrimp) instead of fish. As it’s almost impossible to get banana leaves from the market in Orange County, I improvised and used baking pan instead. I always like my food baked, and hence my Otak-Otak was baked in the oven instead of being steamed in the steamer or grilled over fire. About the spices, who has time to assemble, grind, and blend the rempah (spices)? So I cheated with a can of off-the-shelf red curry paste from Thailand. I was very happy with the end result.

This dish is very easy to make and you should try it too. You can use fish fillet, shrimp, seafood, or even add in some chicken. No matter what you choose, I assure you it will be great.

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15 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Anonymous says:

    at wat temperature would you bake this in?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Even if you dont have banana leaves, these are still fun to wrap in foil and grill.

  3. APenchantfortheMoon says:

    Your website is great!!! I am flabbergasted… in a positive way of course. Keep up the good work!


  4. Anonymous says:

    hi, may i know what would it be for the temperature?!

  5. Denise How says:

    Thanks for sharing this easy mouthwatering recipe. Looks really tasty!! May I know how many millilitres of coconut milk required for this recipe. I have the 400ml size. And also, at what temperature should it be baked at? I want to try this recipe tomorrow!

  6. tony says:

    I love this recipe, so simple yet delicious
    Is the oven temp 180C?
    small can of coconut milk means 200 mls?
    Great Blog.

  7. Pingback:otak-otak!! « Life in UP

  8. gaylan kezar says:

    I would love to make it…..what temperature do you bake it?

    Thank you so much!!! Love your site.


  9. Emfeist says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe! I found it a bit funny since ‘otak udang’ is an expression in Indonesian akin to ‘bird brain.’ Maybe similar in Malay?
    Will give it a try over the weekend. Great website btw!

  10. Rita says:

    I made this recipe…used dried kaffir lime leaves instead of fresh….had the otak otak flavour but found it very salty….I wonder whether the frozen shrimp could be the culprit.

  11. Su says:

    I made this tonight and it was really tasty. Even my Australian husband loved it.

  12. Rosanna says:

    How many does this recipe serve? Thanks!

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