Yes, we all grow up with these. For beginners, we train our palette eating the white, non-spicy versions and then progress to the potent, spicy ones.
Here’s my version, and they are really easy to make. Just need a really good grinder, and I do not have one, so perhaps the good old way of pounding with a pestle works better.




500g Mackerel Fish (Batang or Tenggiri fish)

1 Tbsp Oil

Otah Spice

20 dried chilies, soaked for at least 30 minutes

10 Candlenuts

20g Belachan (or prawn paste)

6 Lemon grass (white part only), cut into 0.3cm thick

8 cloves Garlic

1 Big Onion or 12 shallots

6 Kaffir leaves, remove stem

1 Tbsp Bullion powder

1 tsp Ground Coriander seeds

2 Tbsp Coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste


    Spice paste
  1. Grind otah spice into a fine paste, as fine as you can get.
  2. Heat up a pan with the tablespoon of oil to medium to high heat.
  3. Fry the paste until oil exudes, that's about 15 minutes.
  4. Scoop into a blender and let it cool.
  5. Make Otah paste
  6. Grind the fish with the otah paste to a paste.
  7. Assemble
  8. Cut banana leaves to an appropriate size.
  9. Brush the rougher side with oil.
  10. Place 1 to 2 Tbsp of otah paste on the banana leaves, ensuring the center is higher than the rest of the otah.
  11. Wrap up and secure with toothpicks.
  12. BBQ for 5 minutes, or until the leaves burn on some spots.
  13. Serve hot.