Tuck into scrumptious otak otak, a deep-fried treat that offers you a taste sensation. But how much do you really know about this traditional Malaysian dish? Sit back and relax as you salivate over this oh-so-yummy fish cake dish.
The origins of this fried dish
Otak otak is a dish that was first created in Malaysia. However, it’s now common to find it sold in restaurants throughout Asia. Although this dish was first created in restaurants, home cooks also favoured these fish cakes due to their delicate flavour and crunchy texture. As a result, many grocery stores began mass-producing the cakes so that everyone could take them home and prepare the dish for their families. Now you can visit any Asian grocery store and pick up a package of fish cakes, fresh or frozen.
The name of this dish directly translates as ‘brains’. The fish cakes gained this name not because of the ingredients but because of their appearance. This dish is fairly light in colour, with a soft and squishy texture that resembles the organ.
How these tasty cakes are made
The vast majority of otak otak cakes are made from a few simple ingredients. These cakes are produced by mixing a fish paste with sago to create a firm dough. Other ingredients like curry paste, spring onions, chilli, turmeric and lemongrass are added to the mixture for a flavour boost that is second to none. After everything is thoroughly mixed, the dough is cut into individual portions and shaped into patties and wrapped in banana leaves. The fish cakes are then fried until they are crispy and golden. Once the cakes are cooked, they are garnished with garlic chives to add an extra dimension of flavour.
These fishy treats are best enjoyed straight from the oven. You’ll also want to keep some dip close at hand. Not only does this add moisture but it also enhances the taste of the fish. Opt for a soy dipping sauce with ginger and sesame oil for the best contrast with the spicy cakes.
The best fishcakes around
Otak otak is an excellent family dish. Be sure to order some for your next family gathering so you can share this delicious dish with those you love. However, they’re also great as an on-the-go snack that is available at many different restaurants and street vendors.
Order the otak otak fish cake set from Yong Le to enjoy one of the finest treats in Asian cuisine. The explosive flavours and tender consistency will blow all of your expectations out of the water.