Baked fish with prawn otak-otak mousseline served with ulam pesto and paku salad


A fillet of red snapper is covered with otak-otak made with fresh tiger prawns and baked. The ulam pesto is made with basil, selom leaves, garlic and other herbs. The dish is garnished with cashew nuts and parmesan cheese.

Palm oil tip: “I ground sundried chili with red palm oil into a chili paste. The palm oil gives it a nice orange colour. The fish was cooked with palm oil as well, as palm oil is a very neutral oil, so it doesn’t take away or interfere with the other flavours in the dish,” said Nurilkarim.

His dish was a succulent baked cod with prawn otak-otak and ulam pesto.


Baked fish
Whole red snapper
Fresh tiger prawns – 350g
One egg
Coconut cream – 150ml
Palm oil – 200ml
Palm oil (red) – 50ml
Lime juice – 50ml
Pucuk paku (wild fiddle fern) – 1kg
Ginger torch (bunga kantan) – 1nos
Red chili – 50g
Shallots – 300g
Garlic – 80g
Galangal – 50g
Lemongrass – 3 stalks
Dried chili – 50g
Shrimp paste – 1 tbsp
Fish sauce – 5ml
Kaduk leaf – 40g
Banana leaf – 500g
Tomato paste – 5 tblsp

Ulam Pesto
Local basil – 40g
Lemon basil – 40g
Selom leaves – 40g
Garlic – 1 clove
Coriander – 1 stalk
Cashew nuts – 50g
Palm oil
Parmesan cheese


1. Clean and fillet fish. Portion it to around 120g per piece and set aside.
2. Grind the shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chili paste and shrimp paste in a food processor till fine.
3. Sauté the paste in palm oil till fragrant. When cool, combine chili paste with shelled prawns, egg white, oil, tomato paste, coconut cream and puree in the food processor till fine. Set aside.
4. Spread prawn mousse onto fish evenly then wrap in banana leaf ready to bake or steam for 5-6 minutes at 165⁰c.
5. For ulam pesto, prepare a pot of water for blanching. Once herbs are cleaned, blanch only for 8 seconds.
6. Squeeze off remaining liquid and place in spice/coffee grinder along with the cashew nuts, cheese, garlic, and oil till a smooth paste is achieved. Work the mixture through a sieve to remove impurities. Set aside.
7. Blanch the already cleaned paku ferns and cool in ice water. Dress the ferns with fish sauce, lime juice and some oil and toss in shallot rings and julienned red chili, lemongrass and finely chopped pickled ginger flower (kantan).
8. Chiffonade the kaduk leaves and deep fry till crisp. Use for garnish.

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