Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spicy Fish Cake Custard, Otah or Haw Mok Pla

They are not extremely difficult to make. To me, relatively a "piece of cake" to make than baking a cake. Having said that, they can be easily bought over the food-counters in Singapore - yes, a shop that entirely sells Otah exists, just like any donut or bagel shop that exists solely for donuts or bagels.

So I don't need to make them while I am here. I make them when I cannot get them easily in California.

Otak Otak (Otah)

When I saw Fried Otak over at Indonesia-Eats, I was caught by ignorance that a fried version exists. That might be somewhat similar in taste to the Spicy Prawn Balls I made long time ago. OK. I am certainly more familiar with the Otak Otak (Otah) - as the "charcoal-grilled/oven-baked fish custard wrapped in banana leaves" (shown above), easily seen in Malaysia/Singapore. I also became interested in the Jakarta's version, and learn from Scent of Spice that Jakarta's version is NON-SPICY. I prefer them spicy definitely.

You would not want to know what "Otak" means in Malay. Well, Otak-Otak so named because of the mushy texture (of the fish-paste-custard) close resemblance to something....something....(*hint hint*: you are exercising this "matter" of yours right now while thinking hard). WHAT IS IT?

How about Otah "Steamed" a la Thai-style, also known as Haw Mok Pla...


To me, Haw Mok Pla is close but not exactly the same as Otak-Otak (Otah). You find chunky pieces of fish in Haw Mok Pla, enjoy some sweetness of cabbage, smell hints of citrus-fragrance from kaffir lime leaves and the entity not lacking the spice altogether.

I made my steamed Haw Mok Pla in ramekin-version, simply worthy for the home-diner. To make it downright authentic, you can use banana-leaf, make(fold) them into squarish cups to contain the spicy-fish mixture, then steam or bake.

Not gravy-like curry but spicy savory custard...well-set in a ramekin.

Have you tried anything similar ?

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