Otah that's good enough for me!
Click on picture to see it up close. Otah goes great with bread as a snack, or with a meal that can include onion omelettes, sliced fresh cucumbers, and nasi lemak.
This is my dad's otah recipe that first turned out a surprisingly savoury and spicy smackeral* several years ago when he experimented with it in our convection microwave oven. This recipe makes about 10-12 pieces of otah. Preparation time is short (once you have the ground sambal ingredients) and so is the cooking time. For those of us in North America, staying outside of Singapore or Malaysia, despair not. Sambal ingredients should be available in most North American Chinatowns (San Francisco and Toronto certainly) and, if you're willing to pay a little more for the convenience, you can always order the nonya sambal online. I'm assuming for now, as a young housewife with very limited experience and knowledge, that what's commonly referred to as "sambal chilli" called for in this recipe is the same as what Prima calls "nonya sambal". (If you know more about this, please leave a comment. Thanks!)
A few simple steps:
Mince 200g mackerel (or some other oily fish) until very fine. Add 3 tablespoons corn flour, 3 rounded tablespoons sambal ingredients** (ground), 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, lime leaves [optional but some like it; and if you have access to it. I skipped this one], and some oil. Mix well and bake--wrapped in banana leaves (if available), or in aluminium foil. How thick or long you want the otah to be is up to you. I pressed the otah paste on greased aluminium foil until about 1 cm thick, threw it in the oven (230 deg C / 450F), and baked it for about 10 minutes. You really need to experiment a little to see what works for you. Remove otah at about 8 minutes, and every other 2 minutes or so, and when it looks firm and brown with a nice texture, you can use the taste test.
Loy says that the otah (or 'otah') I made tasted authentic enough, and plausibly sufficient to satisfy a craving for the real thing. Well, that's good enough for me!
*loose usage of the Milne word "smackeral", that can be defined as the amount of honey that Winnie the Pooh enjoys each time he puts his hand in the honey pot. Example: "Mmm delicious, just a smackeral of honey." (Taken from the urbandictionary.com)
**In my dad's words: "The sambal is the one we make with chilli, onion, garlangal (blue ginger), tumeric (yellow ginger), belachan, a few cloves of garlic, some lemon grass, candle nuts (