Otak-Otak

Hmm.........Lets see, most of us will know this dish. Many have tried to prepare and cook them according to recipes they found, be it Peranakan, Malay, Thai, Indonesian or Chinese version.

The question is , what is the origin of this dish.

According to Wikipedia, its a FISH CAKE . I wouldnt call that fish cake unless you are talking about the THAI version, where they will steam the raw product first before grilling them over charcoal . Its different from the one that we always prefer in Malaysia.

A lot of us will know that Muar a small town in the State of Johor produce one of the best if not the best Otak Otak in Malaysia. Correct me if I am wrong.

There are a few types of Otak Otak as far as I am concerned. By far the most famous is the Peranakan Version. Is Muar version Peranakan ?? Then you will know of the Malay version that is similar to our Indonesian counterpart Pepes Ikan - literary Fish Paste. Definitely not fish cake - chuckle. Thai version called Hor Mok is next and i do believe followed by the Chinese Version . Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese that is.

FriedChilliesdotcom had written about the Peranakan Version.Even MY-MALAYSIA info had a brief note on this dish.

Whatever version it is , I can only simplified this dish as a spiced coconut milk fish mousse, steamed or grilled.

Still we dont know the origin of this dish. Have been searching for hours and have yet to find them. What you get is the difference in recipe.

Daun Kadok as mentioned in my previous post 4 Course Dinner is used basically in the Thai and Malay version. The Nyonya version is more Lemak ( literary Malay words meaning creamy - from the coconut milk ). Chinese version as those in Muar is a little less lemak and less spicy.

Hop over to Omimachi2 for the version from Jakarta with his / her version of history. Kinda cute.

A lot of bloggers had somehow posted a lil about Otak-Otak.

Starting with

Julia of AromaCookery in her EoMeoTE #7
ChanLilian - 5xmum in Penang Faces
mum-mum by Wina
Grabyourfork Helen wrote about Cafe Kasturi in Hay Market
PeterTan our Maestro talks a little about Daun Kadok.

There are others bloggers who had somehow blogged about this dish but PLEASE, can anyone tell me the origin ?

The nearest i can find is this

" Otak-otak has its origin in the Thai ho mok and the Indonesian pepes. Like them, it is sometimes steamed and sometimes grilled over charcoal. "

I asked my friend who's from Muar to buy me some otak-otak that i regularly chow down and it comes in plastic packet - frozen. Easier to keep. Since i cant grilled them in my room and i dont have an oven, microwave lar. Chuckle.

This is how it looks like.












The whole packet of OTAK OTAK












A glance in the plastic bag !











Spread up in the pyrex for microwaving ! Look at the sliver of fish - a lot eh ? I dont like the prawn version.











Cooked liao version.






I had them with whole wheat bread as i dont want to have it with rice. I also like or prefer to eat the Nipah Leave ( a kinda palm ) version and can eat 50 sticks at one go. Its a small bite and so far, whenever i pass by Muar on the way back to Pontian to visit my aunt, we will buy at least 300 - 400 sticks for the 4 or 5 of us.

So, anyone who knows the origin, do inform us, k ?



For recipes from my THAI chef friend

500 gm - mackerel - ikan parang
250 ml - coconut milk ( first press )
2 nos - chicken egg or substitute with 1 duck egg
10 pieces of Daun Kadok
white pepper, salt and sugar to taste
5 pieces - Kaffir Lime Leaves - sliced fine

Spices
5 nos - red chilli
1 stalk lemongrass - ( chopped finely )
1/2 cm thick - galangal ( chopped finely )
5 nos - shallot - ( chopped finely )
2 cloves - garlic - ( chopped finely )
2 cm - tumeric ( fresh ) ( chopped finely )

1 Clean fish, using a spoon to scoop out the flesh - flaking
2 Pound or blend all spices to a paste
3 Add the flaked fish, coconut milk, spice paste, eggs ,kaffir lime leave and seasoning. Well mixed.
4 Use a ramekin, bowl or make a parcel out of banana leaves. Place the daun kadok at the bottom of whatever u use and topped with the fish paste. Cover with another layer of daun kadok.
5. Steam till cook.

My chef prefer to use banana parcel, making a rectangular, adding the daun kadok at the bottom, topped with fish paste and then cover with another layer of daun kadok and wrapped the banana leave till the fish paste is covered loosely. You will get a parcel of about 1.5cm thick. Wrapped them up with aluminium foil and grilled over open fire. To cut time, he baked the whole parcel at 180C for about 15 minutes.


Cheers !

7 comments:

linnish said...

I love otak but sad to say, I also dunno its origin :(

fooDcrazEE said...

hahahaha ! Lin, i dont think anyone will know of the origin. Its hard to pinpoint a dish to the origin country or ethnic unless its obvious.

Seems these dish skewed more to Indonesia, Malay or Thai cuisine.

Anyway, who cares as long as it nice delish - chuckle

linnish said...

That's true, I absolutely agree with ya! As long as I still get to eat, it's all good..hehe!

rokh said...

i love otak otak!

fooDcrazEE said...

lots of ppl love them too Rachel. Just dont crave for it. lolx
Lin, hehehehee, believed lots of ppl is like us. So long as it is delish, what origin ? chuckle

Piggy said...

The otak-otak from Muar is heavenly! You're lucky to have a friend that buy otak-otak for u regularly.. i'm so jealous! ;-)

Btw, thanks for dropping by my blog and happy new year!!

Eternity said...

aiyah, just got back from muar along with over RM60 worth of otak-otak!