The Sweet Talker

August 6, 2008

The Must-Try ‘Botok-Botok’

Filed under: Do You Smell Something Burning? — thesweettalker @ 2:07 pm

Botok-botok is a traditional Johorian dish that seems more alluring than repellent (to some) and often mistaken for Otak-otak. It is made of pieces of fish fillets marinated in spicy paste and covered with many types of leaves that are shredded into pieces. Here’s how to prepare it…



As the main features, you must have pieces of seer fish (ikan tenggiri), tapioca leaves (pucuk ubi kayu) and pudding leaves (daun pudding). You may add some other types of leaves too such as daun kaduk and bebuas. Next, you need shallots, garlics, ginger, salt, sugar, fine grated coconut and fish curry powder to make the spice paste. Prepare a bowl of tamarind juice and also a few large pieces of clean, roasted banana leaves which will be used for wrapping.

Tips: For the fish to marinate better with the spice paste, it is best to use fish that is not so fresh. 

Shred all the sweet potato leaves and pudding leaves into large pieces and mix them well. Pound the spice paste ingredients – shallots, garlics, ginger, salt, sugar, fine grated coconut and fish curry powder – together until it becomes very fine and soft. Make sure you mix it well.


Smear the fish pieces with the spice paste and leave it to marinate for about 10 minutes. Spread one layer of mixed shredded leaves all over the banana leave. Then, put the marinated fish on top of the shredded leaves. Then again, cover the marinated fish with another layer of the mixed shredded leaves. Pour some tamarind juice over it before you wrap it up.

Tips: To ensure that the banana leave will not break during the process, it is better to double the layers.


Store the half-cooked botok-botok inside the refrigerator for like 2 hours, overnight if possible. Steam it for like 3 hours (the longer the better) and serve it with hot white rice. Botok-botok can last for 3 to 4 days if kept refrigated. You just need to keep reheating it. Selamat mencuba!



  1. Can I choose not to use the leaves? Will the taste be different?

    Comment by Ibu Irdina — August 11, 2008 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  2. Aiseh darling,
    What make the dish truly favorable are the seer fish pieces and the ulam-ulaman. But you can try doing it without the leaves, no harm. Maybe jadik pais ikan je la kut. Dah tak namanya botok-botok. Hehehehe…

    Comment by thesweettalker — August 11, 2008 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

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