Otak Otak Restourant Style Malay Sea Food



Welcome to a modern interpretation of a beloved Malay seafood classic: Otak-Otak. In this innovative restaurant-style recipe, we reimagine the traditional flavors of Otak-Otak by infusing it with contemporary techniques and ingredients. Originating from the Malay archipelago, Otak-Otak is a flavorful fish cake wrapped in banana leaves and grilled to perfection. Join us on a culinary journey as we elevate this iconic dish to new heights, combining traditional flavors with innovative presentation and preparation methods.

Otak-Otak epitomizes the rich culinary heritage of Malaysia, where seafood takes center stage in vibrant and aromatic dishes. With influences from Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines, this dish represents the diverse flavors and cultural tapestry of the region. By incorporating modern cooking techniques and ingredients, we aim to create a restaurant-inspired rendition of Otak-Otak that captivates the senses and delights the palate.


To embark on this culinary adventure, gather the following ingredients for Otak-Otak:

For the Fish Cake Mixture:

  • 500g white fish fillets (such as cod or snapper), deboned and diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Cooking oil for sautéing

For the Banana Leaf Wraps:

  • Fresh banana leaves, cleaned and cut into square pieces (approximately 8×8 inches)
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

For the Garnish (optional):

  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Sliced red chilies
  • Lime wedges


Before we delve into the cooking process, let’s prepare our ingredients with precision and care to ensure that each element contributes to the complexity and depth of flavor in Otak-Otak.

  1. Prepare the Fish Cake Mixture:

    • In a food processor, combine the diced fish fillets, chopped onion, minced garlic, sliced lemongrass, chopped bird’s eye chilies, grated ginger, ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground fennel seeds, and shrimp paste.
    • Pulse the ingredients until they form a smooth paste, adding a splash of coconut milk if needed to facilitate blending.
    • Transfer the fish paste to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining coconut milk and tamarind paste until well combined.
    • Season the mixture with salt and sugar to taste, adjusting the seasoning according to your preference for balance of flavors.
  2. Prepare the Banana Leaf Wraps:

    • Rinse the banana leaves under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.
    • Cut the banana leaves into square pieces, ensuring that they are large enough to wrap the fish cake mixture.
    • Blanch the banana leaves briefly in boiling water to soften them, then pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Cooking Process:

Now that our ingredients are prepped and ready, let’s dive into the culinary journey of cooking Otak-Otak, where each step brings us closer to a symphony of flavors and textures.

  1. Sauté the Aromatics:

    • In a skillet or frying pan, heat a tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat.
    • Add the fish paste mixture to the skillet and sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant and slightly thickened.
    • Be mindful not to overcook the mixture, as we want to retain its moisture and delicate flavors.
  2. Assemble the Otak-Otak:

    • Place a spoonful of the sautéed fish paste mixture onto the center of each banana leaf square.
    • Fold the sides of the banana leaf over the fish paste to form a neat parcel, securing the edges with bamboo skewers to hold them in place.
    • Repeat this process until all the fish paste mixture has been used and wrapped in banana leaves.
  3. Grill the Otak-Otak:

    • Preheat a grill or barbecue to medium-high heat.
    • Place the wrapped Otak-Otak parcels on the grill and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until the banana leaves are charred and the fish cake mixture is cooked through.
    • Alternatively, you can bake the Otak-Otak parcels in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
  4. Serve and Garnish:

    • Once cooked, remove the Otak-Otak parcels from the grill or oven and carefully unwrap them from the banana leaves.
    • Transfer the Otak-Otak to a serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, sliced red chilies, and lime wedges for a burst of color and flavor.
    • Serve the Otak-Otak hot as an appetizer or main course, accompanied by steamed rice or crusty bread to soak up the aromatic juices.


As we prepare to present our culinary masterpiece, let’s elevate the presentation of Otak-Otak to reflect its modern interpretation and contemporary flair.

  1. Plating with Precision:
    • Arrange the grilled Otak-Otak parcels on a sleek and modern serving platter, allowing the charred banana leaves to add a rustic touch to the presentation.
    • Place the Otak-Otak parcels strategically on the platter, creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement that showcases each parcel’s unique shape and texture.
  2. Enhancing Visual Appeal:
    • Garnish the Otak-Otak with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro leaves, sliced red chilies, and lime wedges, adding vibrant colors and visual interest to the dish.
    • Consider incorporating edible flowers or microgreens as a decorative accent, enhancing the presentation with delicate and refined touches.
  3. Creating a Sensory Experience:
    • As you present the Otak-Otak to diners, encourage them to inhale the fragrant aroma of grilled banana leaves and aromatic spices, tantalizing their senses and whetting their appetite.
    • Emphasize the contrast between the smoky charred exterior of the banana leaves and the tender, moist interior of the fish cake mixture, inviting diners to indulge in a sensory experience that celebrates texture and flavor.
  4. Embracing Modern Elegance:
    • Consider serving the Otak-Otak with modern tableware and utensils that complement its contemporary presentation, such as sleek ceramic plates and stainless steel serving tongs.
    • Create a minimalist yet sophisticated table setting that allows the vibrant colors and bold flavors of the Otak-Otak to take center stage, evoking a sense of understated luxury and modern elegance.


In conclusion, Otak-Otak represents a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation,

elevating Malay seafood to new heights with its modern interpretation and contemporary flair. By infusing traditional flavors with innovative cooking techniques and presentation methods, we have created a restaurant-inspired rendition of this iconic dish that captivates the senses and delights the palate.

From the meticulously prepared fish cake mixture to the artfully wrapped banana leaf parcels, every element of this dish reflects the depth and complexity of Malay cuisine. The sautéed aromatics infuse the fish paste with layers of flavor, while the charred banana leaves impart a smoky richness that enhances the overall taste experience.

In the presentation of Otak-Otak, we have embraced modern elegance, creating a visually stunning dish that tantalizes the senses and invites diners to indulge in a sensory journey. By garnishing the dish with fresh herbs, sliced chilies, and lime wedges, we add vibrant colors and textures that elevate the presentation to new heights.

As diners savor each bite of Otak-Otak, they are transported to a world of bold flavors and exotic spices, where tradition meets innovation in a symphony of taste and aroma. With its contemporary interpretation and restaurant-inspired flair, Otak-Otak embodies the essence of Malay seafood cuisine, inviting diners on a culinary adventure like no other.

So, gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and let the flavors of Otak-Otak transport you to a world of culinary delight. From our kitchen to yours, we invite you to experience the magic of Malay seafood in a whole new light. Bon appétit!

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