Otah Otah

Wine & Dine Cookbook - - ASIAN KITCHEN -

Makes 14 to 15 parcels MEDIUM

A tasty spicy treat that’s good with steamed co­conut rice aka nasi lemak, in a sand­wich or just on its own.

500g white fish fil­lets, skinned and deboned

125ml thick co­conut milk

1 tsp salt

1½ tsp sugar

½ tsp white pep­per

Ba­nana leaf, cut into 14 to 15 pieces (each mea­sur­ing 16-cm x 24-cm)

For the sea­son­ing paste

1½ medium onion, chopped

6 dried chillies, cut into 2-cm lengths, soaked to soften

2 cloves gar­lic, chopped

1-cm knob fresh turmeric, sliced, al­ter­na­tively use ½ tsp turmeric pow­der

3 can­dlenuts, chopped

1 stalk lemon­grass, thinly sliced

1 tbsp chopped poly­gonum leaves

1½ tsp co­rian­der seeds, lightly toasted and ground

1. Pre­pare the sea­son­ing paste. Com­bine all the in­gre­di­ents in a food pro­ces­sor and pulse to ob­tain a fine, smooth paste, adding a lit­tle of the co­conut milk if needed to keep the blades turn­ing. Set aside.

2. Cut the fish into cubes, then pulse in a food pro­ces­sor un­til coarsely minced. Add the co­conut milk, salt, sugar, pep­per and sea­son­ing paste and pulse to ob­tain a smooth paste. If pos­si­ble, re­frig­er­ate for at least 30 mins to firm up the mix­ture be­fore use.

3. Soften the pieces of ba­nana leaf by hold­ing above a gas flame, or soak­ing in boil­ing wa­ter un­til soft­ened.

4. To make a par­cel, place a piece of leaf length­ways and dark, shiny side down on the work­ing sur­face. Add about 2 heaped tbsp of the fish mix­ture, flat­ten­ing it slightly to make it about 1-cm thick. Fold the leaf over a few times to firmly en­close the filling, and se­cure both ends with tooth­picks. Re­peat un­til the fish mix­ture is used up.

5. Grill, prefer­ably over char­coal, for 3 to 4 mins on each side. Serve with rice or as a snack; the otah otah can even be used as a sand­wich filling.

Tip: The otah otah can be kept in a plas­tic box and stored in the freezer for up to a month. To serve, thaw com­pletely be­fore grilling.

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