She is also Peranakan and I have a weakness for Peranakan food. So, through my friend's arrangement, a few of us went down to her colonial styled apartment today for an otah making class.
I have to admit - it's really troublesome to make your own otah at home.
All that preparation work makes a 50 cents otah looks like a very good deal instead.
But to me, all that hard work and trouble is worthwhile because homemade otah just has that extra fragrance that the ones you buy outside just can't compare with.
I'm quite sure A would be more than happy to share her recipe, so here it is..
The ingredients are:
- 1.2kg of King Mackeral Fish - scrapped off the skin with a spoon
(You can also mix in some finely sliced dory fish to the mackeral)
- 250ml of fresh coconut milk
- 2 large eggs
- Rempah, which is essentially a chilli paste consisting of:
- About 20 dried chilli (boiled to soften) -more if you want it spicy
- 250g of onions/ shallots
- 8 pcs of candelnuts
- a small thumb size of fresh turmeric
- 80g of galangal (or blue ginger)
- 1 tbsp of shrimp paste
- 2 tbsp roasted coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp roasted fresh grated coconut
- Finely sliced kaffir lime leaves (about 4-5 leaves, depending)
- Finely sliced turmeric leaves (about 2 leaves)
- Cooking oil
- Sugar and salt to taste
- Banana leaves for wrapping (Scalded to soften)
The rempah is made by blending all the ingredients together. Some cooking oil can be added to make it easier to blend. After that, the rempah, fish meat, coconut milk and eggs should be mixed by hand. Use your hands to also break up the fish meat into finer pieces as you mix everything together.
Cornstarch and water can be added as required to make sure that the entire mixture resembles a light batter. Add in some sugar and salt and then toast a little bit of the mixture to try out the taste.
After all that work, it's time to wrap the otah!
The many ingredients that go into the humble otah.
It takes time to ensemble everything together
Scrapping the fish meat and mixing everything together
The soul of the otah is in the rempah
The final mixture
Banana leaves - softened and cut up for wrapping the otah