Sunday, June 20, 2010

Otak-Otak (Fish Packets)

Wild betel leaves (Daun Kadok)

On Saturday, I was trying to clear the backyard when I noticed the wild betel leaves plants (known as daun kadok locally) are literally growing wild! Suffice to say, I have not been clearing the backyard for quite sometime now and was very shocked to see it being transformed into a mini jungle! Oh well, since there are so many daun kadok lying around, I thought why not try to prepare this otak-otak dish? So this morning, I dug out my forgotten cookbook and found this simple recipe of otak-otak.

Only thing now is to get the boys to pluck banana leaves for me, which is easy, there are plenty of banana trees in front of my house:D

Ok, now for the preparation of the otak-otak, I have adapted the recipe from my old cookbook. You'll need:-

500g of fish fillet - any type of fish is fine, skinned and sliced in chunks or thinner if you wish
10 daun kadok, finely sliced
12 daun kadok stems removed

Banana leaves (cut into 29cm x 28cm)  for wrapping ~ scald first to soften
Some toothpicks to secure the packets

Blend together the following with 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil:
30g ginger
3 cloves garlic
180g shallots or small onions
20g tumeric
10g dried chilli, soaked and cut into shorter pieces
3 stalks lemon grass, use only the white parts, sliced
20g galangal (blue ginger) sliced
20g buah keras (candlenut)
sugar and salt to taste

Pour the blended ingredients into a caserole and cook in the microwave on High for 8.5 minutes. Take out and leave to cool.

Prepare the next batch of ingredients:

Mixed together:-

3 eggs
100ml coconut milk

Pour the egg mixture into the cooled blended ingredients and mixed to combine. Add the fish and the finely sliced daun kadok and mixed to combine.

Take a piece of banana leave, place 2 daun kadok on it and scoop 2 tablespoons of the fish mixture on top, wrap up and secure with toothpick. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.

Steam the packets in a steamer on high fire for 10 minutes. Serve hot, with rice or on its own.


While I was clearing the backyard,  I'd also plucked some pandan leaves, which is also growing wild in the yard and make some delicious pandan kaya (coconut jam) following Sonia's recipe. Surprisingly easy to cook, only took me about an hour!
Look at the beautiful green colour! So delicious too! Thanks for sharing, Sonia:D


  1. Delicious indeed! I also love the endresult,...mmmmmmm,..must be very flavourfull!

    I also love the new look on your blog!! Lovely too!

  2. Both wild betel leaves and this dish is totally new to me, I would love to try it!

  3. This is something completely new and utterly intriguing for me!

  4. Your photos today are really wonderful. That last picture of the jam has incredible color. Both these dishes are new to me. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  5. Nice try! I wanted to give this a go too.... Haven't had time for anything these few days. Hopefully will be able to arrange something soon! Have a pleasant evening.
    Cheers, Kristy

  6. You are so lucky to have all that growing in your yard to use. I do have the banana leaves! Looking for a pandan plant around here! I love the look of your pandan kaya, it's such a pretty color! I saw Sonia's recipe too. Good to know it's easy to do!

  7. I can only imagine how good this must fresh and moist! Thank you for sharing such a unique idea with me!

  8. @Sophie...Thanks so much Sophie:D

    @Natasha...If you can find the leaves there, do try it, it's very flavorful.

    @Angie...This dish is a local favorite:D

    @Mary...Thanks Mary :D Wish you could try the dish too, it is very delicious. good of you to drop by seeing you are so busy...looking forward to your postings:D tell you the truth, the weeds strived best in my yard 'coz I left them alone most of the time! They'd kinda overtaken the yard! Good luck in your quest for pandan plant:D

    @Monet...You are most welcomed:D

  9. Thank you for introducing me to such an intriguing and unknown ingredient. How very interesting. I look forward to seeing more of your recipes.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  10. Can't imagine the yum flavors of the banana fish packets,wish I had a banana tree in my yard :D

  11. @Claudia....this is my first time making this dish after watching my mom making it sometime back... when I saw the plants growing wild I thought I may as well learn how to make this seeing my mom is quite elderly now.

    @Yasmeen...hi! welcome to my blog:D for your info, the banana tree doesnt belongs to me, it's the neighbour's:D

  12. Oh Jeannie, I never had fish cooked this way...would love to try it. Your pictures are awesome and your blog new look is great!

  13. That's one heck of a backyard you've got there!!!

    And a fine-looking recipe too.

  14. @Juliana....Thanks Juliana:D Don't know if you can get the ingredients there, it's very delicious, my boys love it!

    @MrMeatball....Looks more like a jungle than a yard! I am that good in gardening :P

  15. love the sound of the fish packets but what gets me most is how hard I tried to find pandan leaves a few months ago and did not find any and you have them growing wild in your is funny that way!

  16. Oh I made hor mok tonight which is often refer to as Thai otak otak :)
    It looks wonderful! This is more a Penang version right?

  17. Such a delicious otak - otak, I miss this one. The "kaya" sounds perfect too.

  18. @doggybloggy....Amen to that!

    @3hungry tummies...yes I am from the north so I guess that must be Penang version lol!


  19. It sounds like you have a lot of great ingredients right in your backyard!
    thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

  20. What a great post! I love learning about new things...and this is definitely new to me!

  21. I wish I could find banana leaves here! What a fantastic recipe! :)

  22. @ChefDennis....Thanks for visiting:D and yeah, I have lots of ingredients but I have weeds most of all!

    @Jessica...I love trying out new things too especially, especially if it's something to do with baking.

    @Kim....Banana leaves are pretty easy to find here, the betel leaves are harder because they grow wild in the jungle unless you plant them in your yard like I did! Of cos they are thriving, my yard looks more like a jungle now!

  23. I can't comment on taste, because Its totally new to me...never heard of it until today...but you are lucky to have so much edible stuff growing in your back yard.

  24. your backyard sounds like mine lol..seriously I love how that dish looks so many spices used, must be yummy! I would love to give this a try, unfortunately I don't think I have seen some of the ingredients where I buy my food stuff. the new look of your blog Jeannie, so fresh, I have the same color in my room :)

  25. @Bo...I don't feel very lucky when I have to clear it up:P

    @olive...Thanks! Green is the color of my room too! I think it's soothing to the eyes:D

  26. I would have probably thought the wild daun kaduk plant was a weed, pulled it out and threw it away! Great new look to the blog and your lovely ciabatta picture in the title. (Am stealing the recipe, by the way!)

  27. Wow, you are so clever to make the otak2. Looks so delicious and the kaya too, love the pandan flavour!

  28. @Marty...I do have to cut some and throw, there are simply too much to cook them all! And have fun trying the ciabatta...I did:D

    @Cheah....Thanks Cheah:D


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