When I was making otak-otak #3 trial, I thought it was perfect already– until I made this version. I added an egg this time to make the otak-otak , and skipped tapioca starch and used less water. The result: the egg really makes otak-otak very tender. In terms of flavor, texture and color, this #4 trial is REALLY close to what I just had in my hometown in Malaysia over this past summer! And my two boys even can take the spice and start to love otak-otak. They were saying the other they want otak-otak for dinner!:-)
Muar “Otak-Otak” #4 麻坡乌达
Muar “Otak-Otak” # 4 麻坡乌达 Recipe (serves 4-6 people)
1 container (12 oz) fish paste– see note below
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp water
1 small can (164 ml) coconut milk– stir well
1 clove garlic– minced
1 shallot– minced
6 tbsp oil
3 tbsp sambal or chili paste
2 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- In a big sauce pan, fry garlic and shallot with 6 tbsp of oil until aromatic. Add in remaining spice paste ingredients. Stir to mix well. Set aside to cool completely.
- Add all other ingredients into the sauce pan. Stir to blend well. Pour the mixture into a greased shallow pan, smooth the top. Steam on high heat for 10 minutes. Serve with steam rice.
- Fish paste: different brand of fish paste does make otak-otak taste differently. I prefer 佳发brand (see picture below)– it is frozen and can be found in Asian grocery stores. I tried 味全brand frozen fish paste, but found it is not good for making otak-otak. (1/31/12 update: I have bought 佳发brand frozen fish paste a couple of times later but they were bad both times, which was disappointing. I now use 港榮 brand fresh lady fish paste (see bottom picture). This brand is available at 99 Ranch Market, under packaged fresh seafood section.
港榮 brand fresh lady fish paste
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This is a peppery soup that for sure will warm you up during cold winter days. My mom taught me how to clean and prepare pig stomach– after cleaning, we partially cook in a dry wok until the surface is a little brown, and thus enhance the flavor. Usually restaurants don’t do the browning step, but it does make a difference in taste. If the pig stomach scares you, just use peppercorns with spare ribs or even chicken, and becomes peppery chicken soup.
Peppery Pig Stomach & Spare Rib Soup 胡椒猪肚排骨湯
Peppery Pig Stomach & Spare Rib Soup 胡椒猪肚排骨湯 (serves 4-6 people)
1/2 partially cooked pig stomach– see below for preparing method
1.5 lbs pork spare ribs– cut into chunks
2 tbsp white peppercorns– crushed
1.5 gallon water
salt to taste
- Add water and crushed peppercorns to a deep pot and bring to a boil. Let it boil for several minutes so the flavor of peppercorn comes out. Meanwhile, blanch spare ribs in a separate pot. Remove ribs and wash off any impurities.
- Add ribs to the deep pot. Cover and cook on high heat for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add pig stomach. Continue cooking for another 2- 2.5 hours. Add more water if necessary. The soup should look cloudy at this point. Add salt to taste. Before serving, cut pig stomach into strips.
Preparing pig stomach:
Pig stomach from the Asian grocery stores are cleaned pretty good and not as disgusting, but still, it requires some extra cleaning at home to make it more enjoyable:
- Wash pig stomach briefly and trim off any fat.
- Sprinkle generous amount of salt all over pig stomach, rub it with your hands. Then sprinkle generous amount of corn starch/ tapioca starch and rub with your hands again. Then use a knife to scrap off the pig stomach inside and out. Pay attention to parts where there are folds and scrap it good. Rinse well. If after rinsing the pig stomach still feels very slimy then repeat this step. It’s okay though if it feels a little slimy. Make sure the inner side (the side that looks like skin and has folds) is facing out. Drain.
- Heat up a dry clean wok on high heat. With the inner side out, put pig stomach to the wok– it will make a very loud noise due to water contact with high heat but don’t worry. Liquid will start to draw out for the first few minutes. Discard the liquid so the wok remains dry. Brown the surface of pig stomach, pressing down with a spatula on the parts that have folds, to prevent shrinking and promote browning. Pig stomach will stick to the wok so move it around from time to time. Flip over and brown the other side.
- Wash pig stomach and scrap the “skin” with a knife again. At this point the pig stomach should not feel slimy at all. Drain and it’s ready to use or keep in freezer. Please note pig stomach is only PARTIALLY COOKED and requires further cooking.
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This appetizer is even easier than cucumber appertizer that I posted before. If you like five spiced tofu, give it a try!
Five Spiced Tofu Appetizer
Five Spiced Tofu Appetizer Recipe
4 pieces five spiced tofu
1 clove garlic– chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp thick soy sauce– see note below
1 tbsp sesame oil
dash of ground white pepper
dash of chili powder
- Boil tofu in water for a few minutes. Remove tofu and dice into small pieces. While the tofu is hot, toss in remaining ingredients, mix well. Let it sit for 30 minutes before serving so the tofu soak in the flavors. Serve at cold or room temperature.
- Thick soy sauce: This Taiwanese style thick soy sauce can be found in Asian grocery stores that carry Taiwanese products. I like to use thick soy sauce for this dish because the soy sauce is not thin as regular soy sauce, less chance for diluting and more flavorful.
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