XXL Otah Buns

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Soft, fluffy buns paired with fat chunky homemade fish otah! Topped with mozzarella cheese and parsley, each bite of these XXL otah buns brings a blend of local and western goodness to your palate. Home cook Cheng Geck Chau shares this easy recipe to bake fresh buns lined with a spicy chunk of otak.

Read the full article in the recipe and its prep from our friends at Sharefood.

No. of servings: 9 – 10 buns

Preparation Time: 3 hours | Cook Time: 30 mins | Total Time: 3 hours 30 mins


A. Ingredients for Otah
1 kg spanish mackerel, scrape out the meat
8 pcs banana leaves, 8 inch by 6 inch
2 eggs
Thick Coconut milk from 1 coconut

2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
5 tbsp salt, as desired

Chilli Paste
15 fresh red chillies
15 dried red chillies
10 slices galangal
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into small pieces
55g belachan, toasted
8 candlenut
2 big onion
15 shallots
2 inch fresh turmeric

B. Ingredients Bread
90g whole milk, room temperature
10g condensed milk, room temperature
1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
135g bread flour, sieved
15g top flour, sieved
30g fine sugar
15g beaten egg
1/8 tsp salt
20g unsalted butter

Grated mozzarella cheese
Dried parsley flakes

Cooking Direction

Step 1: Prepare the yeast

  • In a pan, pour in milk and condense milk. Simmer till the temperature reaches 38oC. If it goes beyond 38oC, let it cool to room temperature before using it.
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Let it stand for 15 minutes till it starts to foam.

Step 2: Mix the bread dough and proof (Bread)

  • In the Kenwood kFlex metal bowl slot in the bread mixing hook, add in bread flour, top flour, sugar, beaten egg and salt.
  • Pour in milk and yeast mixture. Mix it until the dough forms.
  • Add in butter, mix for 2 minutes until the dough is smooth. To check if the bread dough is ready, stretch the dough into a thin membrane. If the dough is too wet, gradually add in 1 tbsp of bread flour each time, mix and stretch the dough to check the texture.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and use your hands to stretch it out till texture becomes smooth.
  • Place the dough in the large bowl, cover with a damp cloth. Let it proof for 1 hr or till the dough doubles in size.

Step 3: Prepare the banana leaves & fish (Otah)

  • In a frying pan, fill water till half full. Heat till it simmers. Submerge the banana leaves into the water one by one, cook till it softens for about 3 mins.
  • Use a spoon, debone and scrape the fish meat from the skin. Set aside ¼ portion of the fish meat.

Step 4: Prepare the chilli paste & make the Otah

  • Add ¾ portion fish, ingredients for chilli paste and seasoning into the food processor, blend it. While the food processor is mixing, gradually add in thick coconut milk until it blends into a thick smooth paste. Do not over add the coconut milk as it makes the paste too runny.
  • Add in egg and remaining fish meat, mix well using a spatula. If the consistency is too thick, mix in 2 tbsp of coconut milk at a time.

Step 5: Wrap & grill the Otah

  • Scoop 100g of otah paste and spread it on the banana leaf. Secure it with the toothpick.
  • Heat up a grill pan. Grill the otah for about 10 – 14 mins. Flip occasionally until the leaves have browned evenly. To check if it is cooked, press the tongs on the otah meat. It is cooked when the otah is firm. Set aside and let cool.

Step 6: Make into smaller buns & bake (Bread)

  • Punch the dough to release the air.
  • Grab 60g dough and place it in a bread mould.
  • Lay 1 cooked otah on each dough. Transfer to the oven, switch the oven to 35oC and let it proof for 1 hour till it doubles in size.
  • Finally, brush a layer of egg wash on the bun, sprinkle cheese and parsley flakes and bake it in a preheated oven at 170oC for about 15 minutes, or till it turns golden.

Set aside to cool before serving.


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