If at first you don’t succeed…

The other day, I decided to try cooking my own otak-otak…

STP's otak-otak

…along the same lines as those here.

These were the ingredients I used:

The ingredients

– some shallots and garlic (peeled and sliced), a bit of tumeric (kunyit), galangal (lengkuas) and lemon grass (serai) and some bird-eye chili (cili padi). I also bought a packet of kerisik (toasted grated coconut, ground to paste) as well.

I pounded all the ingredients, except the kerisik

Pounded ingredients

…and I took a bit of my missus’ pounded chili (with vinegar and garlic added) for a bit of extra colour. It would not make much of  a difference to the taste as this batch of chilies that she bought were totally useless – not spicy hot at all and rather tasteless.

I got a piece of fish fillet, most probably Dory, and cut it into small bits and minced it a bit using the chopping knife…

Minced fish

Having done that, I mixed it altogether with the ingredients plus a spoonful of kerisik and a pinch of salt and msg, according to taste and some chopped spring onions as well (actually, I thought of adding some curry leaves but it was raining and I  did not want to go out and get wet)…

All ingredients - mixed

I did not have any banana leaves so I used aluminium foil to wrap it…


…and I managed to come out with four parcels in total…


Then, I put it into the oven to bake for half an hour. By then, one would be able to smell the fragrance that would have filled the whole kitchen. I turned off the heat but left the parcels in the oven to continue cooking.

About half an hour to mealtime, I took out the parcels and cut them open at the top like this…


Then, I turned the oven back on and put everything back in to heat it up for about 15 minutes and also to brown it till golden yellow like this…

Golden brown

The otak-otak, my own original recipe, is ready…

How was it? Was it any good? I would say that it was nice but a bit too strong on the galangal/lengkuas taste. I think the next time, I will leave that out and see if it is any better.

As they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

17 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed…”

  1. I love otak-otak! Its a must-mum whenever we travel to Muar!

    It looks pretty easy to prepare, just that the seasoning that’s a little tricky. Hmmm might add this to my to-cook list.

    I don’t know what ingredients they use or how they make the real otak-otak. This one, I try to make it like the ones at a cafe here. Did not turn out the same but it was quite nice except that I did not quite fancy the strong lengkuas smell. Will try again… 😉

  2. Wah home DIY otak otak. Looks good. Next batch sure turns out prefect. So Mahal to buy outside. Tiny stick without much meat already nearly rm1. Your batch here can sell at least rm15 a packet. Portion so big each packet.

    Yalor! That cafe RM15, RM16 with rice…and so small the packet. Will keep trying till I get the perfect combination. Some strong smell, a bit too strong for my liking – I think it was the lengkuas.

    1. Maybe next round reduce the lengkuas then. If totally do away with it then the taste may not be there.

      Yalor…kurang serai, kurang kunyit… Reduce these strong ones, should be milder – then maybe nicer….and use better fish – tenggiri!

  3. Looks super yummy…i must try also….
    Next time make some for me too…Hahaha:)

    Hahahahaha!!!! See Kathy’s comment… RM15 a packet! ROTFL!!!! 😀

  4. Arthur, your otak-otak looks delicious and I am sure you will get it perfect the next time. After, I could make my own otak-otak, I have stop buying or eat at restaurants. Kathy is right, those store bought or sold at the restaurants are too expensive.

    Yup! I must try again. I used three or four slices of lengkuas – my missus said too much, just a slice enough. No wonder the smell was too strong… It is actually so easy to cook – I wouldn’t mind doing it again, maybe use better and nicer fish next time like tenggiri, for instance…

  5. aiyah! my comment gone missing again… ok, do one more time…
    I was saying…anything homecooked will be good, healthier… no extra msg added.. and I was saying that by the time we come, you would have mastered it by then! 🙂

    I certainly hope so…and I can proudly show this off at another dinner at my house. Yum! Yum! 😉

  6. at first i thought those are some kind of pizza, pizza that’s so oily that the oil stains the crust, hahaha!! hmmm, no thank you, not fond of otak-otak really..

    Ya…you’d rather go for McD’s… I know.

  7. I think some sweet basil and daun kesum and egg white to coat all ’em up will be good to give the aroma

    It was raining that day and I malas…to go out into the garden to pick the leaves. Will try again, experiment with this and that to get the best combination. Stay tuned.

  8. Hey, I’m back again! =)

    From the picture, the otak-otak doesn’t have the color or the texture that I’m used to. But it’s after all an original recipe, so there’s bound to be some differences here and there. =)

    Would you be willing to consider adding a bit of fish oil into the mixture and steaming it instead of whacking it in the oven the next time round? I agree with Kathy; you could probably sell it once you’ve mastered the recipe. =D

    Oh no, not going to steam it, that’s for sure. You’re talking about Penang-style otak-otak, are you? – The ones with the wobbly egg custard inside? I’m not into those that much. Love the one we have at a cafe here…and I’m trying to work out how to come out with something like that instead of going there and paying RM16 – RM15 for the otak2 and RM1 for the rice…and get just a small little piece. 😦

    1. I actually meant the ever-famous one from Muar, Johor. I’m not sure if that is the Penang style cause I’ve not eaten it in ages. If you’re lucky, I’m sure the person in charge won’t mind sharing some of the details with you. =)

      Professional secrets… I’m sure they know that once I can cook my own, they’ll never see me there again. This one is different from the Muar one as well, and a lot nicer. The West Malaysian bloggers who have been here and tasted that will vouch for it – different from any other. They all loved it…a lot! 😉

  9. im not sure what’s kerisik, and dont think if i eat it before. haha but ur otak otak definitely is different from penang one! but quite similar with Muar’s. except Muar’s red in color. haha

    People put it in curry…and Malay or nyonya cooking – makes the dish more fragrant.

  10. Your otak otak looks good but sad to say I am not really a fan of it.

    No? This one’s very strong on the ingredients used. Maybe next time, I try a simpler one, the taste milder – perhaps you would like. It’s actually grilled fish, not otak-otak as everyone knows it. You try the one at Payung, you will want more…and maybe you will try to cook your own…like me. 😉

  11. WOW!! Cooking your own otak otak, tsk tsk tsk..Arthur can cook! Now, tell me what you cannot cook? hahahha

    MANY!!! Any recipe with a long list of ingredients, I can’t cook… LOL!!! And I can’t bake cakes and biscuits as well… 😦

  12. it looks mighty fine, don’t worry 🙂 the only thing you need to improve is the texture. you might want to use a chopper to further chop the flesh of the fish to produce finer and smoother texture, that’s all. i can give you a shortcut, add a scant teaspoon of tapioca flour and beat the fish up with a cake mixer. cheerio arthur!

    I don’t want the fish ball texture like the Muar ones. Was hoping to have them in chunks like Payung’s. My missus said steam fish first and then break it up into chunks before marinating and baking. Will try again someday and see…

  13. ah…agree with your missus. i haven’t tried payung’s. maybe you can buy the owner a beer or two and he can spill some secrets? hehe 😉

    The only info I got from him was the there was kerisik in his…

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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