Malaysian Cuisine - Seafood

Otak Otak (Penang Nyonya Style)

July 19, 2017 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

Penang Nyonya Otak Otak is a stemead fish custard wrapped with banana leave.

I love to cook Penang Nyonya food and I was recently inspired by an otak-otak dish served at a Thai Restaurant. Everyone in the family loved it and I decided to attempt the dish. My first attempt was wrapped in the shape like Penang Nyonya style. It turned out to be a very tasty otak-otak and my Mother-in-Law was so impressed she immediately got me another batch of Mackerel fish for another round of Otak-Otak. This time, I folded the banana leaf into a box as a mould for the Otak-Otak.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

Recipe adapted from Nyonya Flavours Cookbook with some modifications.

Recipe - Otak Otak (Penang Nyonya Style)

Yields: 8 otak otak


8 pieces banana leaves (18 cm X 15 cm)
8 toothpick, cut into half
20 to 30 daun kaduk (wild pepper leave)

Custard filling:
350g mackerel fish (hand mashed) – meat from 1 ½ medium size Mackerel fish
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp rice flour
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
200ml thick coconut milk
8 kaffir lime leaves, sliced finely

Spices paste (ground):
6 fresh red chillies
100g (10) shallots, peeled
4 cloves garlics, peeled
3 cm lengkuas (galangal), peeled and sliced
4 cm fresh turmeric root, peeled and sliced
2 lemongrass (serai), sliced finely only the bottom white part

  1. Blend all the spices in a food processor. You may add in coconut milk for easy blending.
  2. Place all the custard fillings ingredients and spices paste into a mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  4. Preparing the wrapping:
    1. Cut banana leaf into 18cm X 15 cm rectangles and clean. Make a couple extra just incase.
    2. Scald banana leaf with boiling water to soften the leaf.
    3. Cut and fold the leaf into a box as per the pictures shown above.
    4. Place 2 or 3 pieces of daun kaduk into the prepared box and top with 4 to 5 tablespoons of otak otak filling.
  5. Prepare steamer.
  6. Steam otak otak over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with steamed rice.


  1. The otak otak fish recipe is very good. Thank you for sharing. Appreciated a lit.

    1. Hi there, Thank you for trying this recipe and your kind feedback. Happy to hear that you like it.
      Cheers :)

  2. Silly question but do I double the spices and custard filling if I double the amount of fish?

    1. Hi, Thanks for reading this post. If you want the consistency like the above pictures, then please double up the spices too. If you want more fish than spices, then just added more fish.

      Cheers :)

  3. Any substitute for galangal, wild pepper leaves, fish?,

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting Bake with Paws.. You can omit galangal. It will no longer otak otak if you substitute with other than fish.



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