Otak Otak (Fish Mousse Grilled on a Banana Leaf)
lg, lightly beaten
fresh or frozen, leaves (daun limau perut) *
6-inch squares of fresh or frozen banana leaf or aluminum foil
medium, about 1/2 pound, peeled and deveined
|Rempah (spice paste)|
dried red chiles
|1 tb Lemongrass powd||
slices fresh or 1 qt. slice dried soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
buah kera or macadamian
peeled and minced
or anchovy paste
Prepare the Rempah.
Pat the fish dry and cut it into 2-inch pieces.
Put the fish in the work bowl of a food processor and chop into a fine paste.
Add the salt, sugar, white pepper, and egg and process until fully incorporated, about 5 seconds.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the cooled rempah.
Beat with a wooden spoon or mix with your hands until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Remove the spines from the lime leaves and cut the leaves into very fine shreds.
Fold them into the fish mixture.
- For each packet, dip a square of banana leaf into boiling water Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the fish mixture down the middle of the leaf to within 1 inch of the ends. Place a shrimp in the middle of the fish mousse and pat it into the filling to lie flat. Fold the long edges over the filling (they should overlap in the center) to make a flat long packet. Press down lightly to flatten the packet a bit; press the ends shut and seal with toothpicks. (Packets may be prepared to this point up to 2 hours ahead of time and refrigerated.)
- Place the banana leaf packets on a grill 3 to 4 inches over a medium-hot fire and cook for 3 minutes per side (open one to test for doneness before serving). Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Makes 24 packets. VARIATION: Otak Otak can also be steamed. Put the fish packets on a steaming tray in a wok filled with boiling water and steam over medium- high heat for 5 minutes. REMPAH: (Spice Paste) 1 . Cut the chiles just below the stem. Shake the chiles to loosen the seeds. Discard the stem and seeds. Put the chiles into a bowl and cover them with warm water; soak for 15 minutes (1 hour is better, if you have the time).
- Cut off and discard the root from the lemongrass. Re move the tough outer leaves until you see a light purple ring. Use only the tender white mid-section; chop coarsely.
- With the motor running, drop the lemongrass down the feed. Add the galangal; chop as fine as possible. Add the chiles and chop as fine as possible. Add the candle nuts, shallots, garlic, turmeric, ground coriander, and shrimp paste and process together into a paste (this may take 2 to 3 minutes); scrape down the sides of the work bowl as necessary.
- Heat ¼ cup thick coconut milk in a saucepan. Add the contents of the processor and cook gently until the mixture is fragrant and oily, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook until incorporated. Let cool before adding to the fish mixture. The rempah can be made a few hours ahead of time.