Indonesian Otak – Otak Bakar (Grilled Fish Cakes)

Indonesian Otak – Otak Bakar (Grilled Fish Cakes)

Cook’s Note:
In this recipe, sago flour and tapioca flour can be used for arrow root starch interchangeably.


  • 1 package (250 grams) frozen featherback fish (ikan belida) minced/paste, thawed
  • 100 grams sago or tapioca flour*
  • 50 ml thick coconut milk
  • 10 stalks Chinese chives (use 2 green onions if you don’t have), finely sliced
  • sugar to taste
  • kosher salt to taste
  • ground white pepper to taste
  • banana leaves for wrapping
  • Cuko (Spicy Tamarind Sauce)


Spicy Peanut Sauce:

  • 50 grams roasted peanuts (can be substituted for crunchy peanut butter)
  • 2 toasted candlenuts (optional)
  • 1 long red cayenne pepper
  • 75 mL luke warm water
  • 1 tablepoon raw sugar
  • 1/4 tablepoon kosher salt
  • spicy canesugar vinegar to taste


  • In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients for otak-otak until well- blended.
  • Place 5 tablespoons (minimum) of otak-otak dough in banana leaves and wrap it.  Repeat this direction until done and steam.
  • In the oven, broil otak-otak on high for 6 – 8 minutes for each side.  Serve with either cuko or sambal kacang.

Sambal Kacang (Peanut Sambal):

  • In small pot, add water and kaffir lime leaves, bring to a boil.
  • In small bowl, add peanut butter, garlic powder and indonesian hot sauce, stir.
  • Add the boiling water and stir.