Home Travel Guides Jakarta Cuisine Otak otak (Indonesian Fish Cake)

Otak otak (Indonesian Fish Cake)

Otak otak is a concoction of minced fish meat, lemongrass, kadok leaves, ginger, lime leaves, turmeric, eggs, coconut milk and a bit of seasoning wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or grilled over an open fire. It is best eaten with a plate of steaming white rice and a little sambal on the side, although it can also be eaten on its own

Otak-otak is made by mixing fish paste (usually mackerel) with a mixture of spices. In Indonesia, the mixture contains fish paste, shallots, garlic, green onion, egg, coconut milk, and sago flour or can be substituted for cassava starch. While in Malaysia, it is a mixture between fish paste, chillies, garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemon grass and coconut milk. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf that has been softened by steaming, then grilled or steamed.

While fish otak-otak is most common, otak-otak is also made with prawns, often resulting in a more textured variety. In Muar, you will also be able to find otak-otak made from cuttlefish, fish head and even chicken.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, one could find otak-otak being sold in small stalls near bus stops, especially during afternoon rush hour. Some of the best otak-otak can be found in another Indonesian city, Makassar. The main ingredient is fresh King Mackerel Fish or known as King Fish.