How to Cook Malaysian Otak-Otak (Fish Cakes) – Asian BBQ Series

There are two broad versions of Otak-Otak in Malaysia; the otak-otak in Penang are wrapped in banana leaves, folded in square parcels and steamed; the otak-otak in the Southern states of Johor and Melaka are wrapped in coconut leaves and grilled. This recipe splits the difference in that I use banana leaves but grill the fishcakes. Indonesia has its own version of otak-otak which is served with peanut sauce; in Malaysia it’s eaten as-is.


300g fish fillets
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
Dash of pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
½ Tbsp chicken powder
1 Tbsp curry powder

1 egg
100ml coconut cream
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 ½ Tbsp fried shallots
8 pieces banana leaves, 7x15cm
Bamboo toothpicks

Oil for brushing


  1. Combine fish fillets with tapioca starch, pepper, sugar, chicken powder and curry powder. Blend to a paste in a food processor.
  2. Transfer fish paste to bowl. Add egg, coconut cream, chilli flakes, kaffir lime leaves and shallots. Mix well.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons fish paste on banana leaf (dull side up), fold in the sides and secure with bamboo toothpicks. Repeat with the remainder of the filling.
  4. Grill for a total of 10 minutes, brushing the top with oil before flipping to make sure the exposed fish paste does not stick to the grill.
  5. Remove banana leaf before eating.

The Ziggy barbeque used in this series was sent to me courtesy of Ziegler and Brown. For more information about this and others in the range, visit 

For your chance to win one of two Ziggy Barbeques, Follow me on Twitch at – I’ll be drawing the winners at random once I hit 2000 Followers. The only other requirement is that the winner will need to nominate an Australian address for delivery, or be able to pick up the prize from an Australian outlet of Barbeques Galore.



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