Thursday, June 20, 2013

Penang Otak-Otak (Spicy Fish Parcel)

Malaysian Food Fest (MFF in short form) is the brainchild of Tablefor2, 
and each month a different state in Malaysia is featured. 
It is a very interesting virtual event and for June 2013, it is Penang's turn 
and here's my humble submission - FiSh OtAk-OtAk. 
Penang's version of Otak-otak has a few characteristics which differentiates it from other states, per the intro by Alan, namely: 
@ wrapped in banana leaf instead of nipah leaf
@ uses daun kadok
@ steamed not grilled
The concoction also leans more towards a spicy soft custardy fishy concoction which needs to be eaten using utensils, unlike those from the southern city of Muar which can be snacked upon without any dripping mess. 
Thanks Quay Po for the superb recipe, plus her detailed videos and pointers. 
It definitely helped me a lot as this is my very first attempt at something so complicated. 
After doing it, I came to realise it ain't that difficult afterall, just that the part on preparing the spices is more tedious. 

Source:  QPC
Yield:  20 pieces
500g fish fillet (flake 250g using spoon, cube the remaining 250g)
225ml thick coconut milk
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
8 pcs kaffir lime leaves (spines removed and finely sliced) 
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

10 pieces red chillies (seeds removed and sliced)  *do not remove seeds if want it to be more spicy* 
2 stalk lemongrass (about 4" from the base, finely sliced)
4 petals of bunga kantan (finely sliced)
10 pcs candlenuts (roasted and pounded)
1 pc shrimp paste (approximately 1.5 in x 1.5 in x 3/4 in thick)
4 cloves garlic (sliced)
5 shallots (finely sliced)
1.5 inch fresh tumeric (cut into smaller pieces)

20 pcs medium size daun kaduk (betel leaves) 
20 pcs 6 inches x 8 inches banana leaves (cleaned and softened over low fire)

1/  Clean fish, remove skin and, flaked and cut them accordingly.  
2/  Blend all paste ingredients (B) in a blender.  If you want it to taste even better, pound the spices using mortar and pestle instead. 
3/  In a large mixing bowl, add in (A) and (B) and mix them thoroughly. 
4/  On each piece of banana leaf, lay a piece of betel leaf followed by a piece of cubed fish.  Then heap 3 tablespoons of fish and paste mixture onto of the fishto make the parcel. 
5/  Secure the folds with staples and steam the parcels over medium fire for about 12 minutes or until fish is cooked.   

Let's feast on the otak-otak.  
The spice paste after blending.  

The raw spices ready to be "processed" by the food processor.  

- I used baby shark fillet because that was what I had in the freezer.  It was salty naturally, so if I were to use it again,  I would need to reduce the salt portion. 
- I also used boxed coconut milk for convenience sake. 
- My otak-otak looks a bit wet, and it's all my fault because I didn't want to waste the 25g of coconut milk as the recipe called for 225g only while a box of coconut milk is 250g.  I would need to add a tablespoon of rice flour to absorb the mixture for my next attempt.