4 banana leaves or 12 dried lotus leaves, soaked until pliable
Malaysia Otak Otak
Using a fork, scrape the fish into fine flakes and place in a bowl, or briefly blend to a paste in a food processor. Add 4 tbsp water, a tbsp at a time, beating with a wooden spoon until it feels light and fluffy.
Pound or grind the drained chilies, nuts, onion, belachan and turmeric together to make a paste. Mix the paste with the fish, then add the egg and beat well. Add the coconut milk, sugar and salt.
Cut the banana leaves into 15cm squares and dip into boiling water for 2 minutes to soften them. Drain and pat dry. Place 2 tbsp of the fish mixture in the center of each square and roll up to form open-ended tubes.
Fasten each end with a strong cocktail stick. Heat the grill until very hot. Brush the banana leaves lightly with oil and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until the leaves are slightly charred and the filling is firm when pressed.
Serve as an appetizer followed by a Malaysian curry, or as part of a shared meal with coconut rice, curries and sambals. Finish with thin crepes (kueh dadar) with a sweet coconut filling.