Otak Otak Recipe: Learn Easy Steps in Making Otak Otak at Home

Otak Otak Recipe

Otak-Otak consists of groundfish seasoned with various spices and wrapped in banana leaves before being grilled. This dish is commonly served in Southeast Asia, such as in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. The grilled fish cake makes a delicious snack and a side dish that is often served with steamed white rice. 


Tips for Making Otak-Otak

While this recipe uses the steaming method, you can also opt for the grilling method by using a grill pan. Meanwhile, baking the dish in the oven can also be a good option. 

Alternatively, substitute the fish with any other meat options, such as shrimp, crab meat, and cuttlefish, as well as the combination of different meats.  

You can use any fish of your choice in this dish. In Malaysia, a mackerel is a popular option. Some other fish options include wahoo, milkfish, and featherback fish. 

Young banana leaves are softer and hence easier to shape without cracking. Otherwise, you can also soak your banana leaves in hot water to soften it before cooking. 

If you don’t have toothpicks to secure the banana leaf, substitute the toothpicks with a stapler. However, be careful when you unwrap the leaves to serve. Make sure that all stapler pins are removed before consumption. 

Otak Otak Recipe

Recipe by LokaTasteDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • A banana leaf (8 x 10″)

  • 500 g of fish fillets, sliced

  • 3 wild betel leaves

  • Custard:
  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup of coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons of rice flour

  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • Spice Paste:
  • 10 shallots

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 5 red chillies

  • 4 dried chillies

  • 2 stalks of lemongrass

  • 1 inch of galangal

  • 1 inch of turmeric

  • 20 g of shrimp paste


  • Mince or finely chop the spice paste ingredients. Blend them in a blender or a food processor until they form a smooth paste.
  • Mince or finely chop the spice paste ingredients. Blend them in a blender or a food processor until they form a smooth paste.
  • Then, add the paste into the bowl and stir continuously until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  • Place a banana leaf on a steaming tray. Put 3 wild betel leaves at the centre of the banana leaf.
  • Top each betel leaf with 3 slices of fish fillets and 2 tablespoons of the sauce.
  • Fold the 4 ends of the banana leaf so that they meet in the centre. Secure the banana leaf with a toothpick so that it forms a pyramid.
  • In a wok, bring some water to a boil.
  • Place the steaming tray into the wok and steam the Otak-Otak for 10 minutes on high heat.
  • Once the fish is cooked, unwrap the leaves and serve.

Recipe Video


  • Store pre-made Otak-Otak in the freezer for future consumption. Defrost the frozen Otak-Otak first before steaming or grilling.
  • Cooked Otak-Otak can be kept in the refrigerator for around 3 to 4 days. Be sure to finish the Otak-Otak as soon as possible. Discard those that are kept for over four days to avoid food poisoning.

Ways to Enjoy Otak-Otak

Enjoy this dish during your tea-time by pairing it with your favourite tea or coffee. Alternatively, serve Otak-Otak as a side dish along with steamed white rice. 

Explore other popular Malaysian delights with Lokataste Recipe and more!


Related Posts