Otak Otak

I have an obsession with checking off items, especially when it has to do with food. Otak Otak is one item I didn’t check off on my must-eat list in Singapore. Ugh! There just wasn’t enough time and a stomach big enough to eat everything.

Thankfully, two Mrs Lee’s cookbook by Shermay Lee accompanied me back to the US. There is a recipe for otak otak!

It’s quite time consuming to DIY. Starting from filleting the fish, pounding the rempeh paste, to wrapping and grilling took almost a whole day. As a weekend therapy activity, it is worth it.


  • 300g minced mackerel
  • 75 ml water
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 5 Tbsp coconut cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • Banana leaves
  • Toothpicks


  • 1/2 thumbsize tumeric, sliced
  • 10 dried chilli
  • 3 fresh chilli
  • 10 slices galangal
  • 3 candlenuts
  • 1/2 Tbsp shrimp paste


  1. Deseed both dried and fresh chillis. Soak dried chillis in hot water.
  2. Finely slice the kaffir lime leaves.
  3. Drain the soaked dried chilli.
  4. Pound/blend rempeh ingredients into a fine paste.
  5. Fillet and mince the fish if you bought a whole fish.
  6. Beat the minced fish with water. Add rempeh (I used only half the amount from this recipe), onion, and egg. Blend with coconut cream, sugar, salt, and kaffir lime leaves.
  7. Wipe the banana leaves clean and blanch in boiling water. Cut into desired sizes to wrap otak otak.
  8. Place one tablespoon of fish paste in the center of a banana leaf. Fold the top and bottom third of the leaf over the fish paste and secure both ends with toothpicks. Repeat until all fish paste is wrapped.
  9. Place parcels over charcoal grill or gas grill for 5 minutes on each side. Alternatively, cook in oven at 350 degrees F.
  10. Enjoy.
Start from a whole fish. Fillet and mince for fish paste
Blend fish paste with water, pounded rempeh, minced onion, egg, coconut cream, salt, sugar, and kaffir lime leaves
Wrap in blanced banana leaves
Ready to go
Grill over charcoal stove or gas grill. Else cook in 350 degrees F oven, 5 minute on each side.
Can’t wait to dig in.
Delicious 😋

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