Sunday, May 13, 2007

Otak-Otak ( fish cakes in banana leaf)

I had the mackerel sitting in the freezer so I decided I had to also make otak-otak for lunch. We harvested some fresh banana leaves from the tree outside and galangal from my garden. I could have taken turmeric leaves and turmeric from the garden too but I had bought some to allow the plant to grow further since the last harvest.
This is how otak-otak starts out as when all the ingredients are combined, a luscious orange paste with the fragrance of all the spices and herbs that are in it.
Then the paste is scooped up and place on banana leaves, like what I've done and wrapped into parcels that will be grilled on a skillet. I had this reversible skillet that I bought in the US and I placed it on two burners to heat. Once it was well heated the Otak-Otak parcels went on till they were done. I left these in the oven under low heat to keep warm for the lunch crowd. We polished off 10 of the 12 pieces of otak-otak I made.
400g mackerel or snapper
Rempah -- Spice Ingredients blended together
5 dried chilies
4 fresh red chillies, seeded
3 cm lengkuas (galangal)
2 cm fresh turmeric or replace with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
5 buah keras (candlenuts)
2 tumeric leaves -- sliced thinly
4 limau purut (kaffir lime leaves) -- sliced thinly
10 shallots
1/2 cup coconut milk
salt to taste

Method:Cut fish fillets into thin slices and mince by hand with a chopper till fine.
Blend ingredients for the rempah into a paste. Add minced fish and salt into the mixture along with the coconut milk and mix well. Take 1 piece of banana leaf, place paste on the leaf, wrap. Form a bundle by folding up both the sides to meet in the centre. Fold up both the ends and secure each end with a toothpick.

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