Yesterday was my first attempt in making ‘Otak-otak’ it’s a malay word for ‘brains’! However it is actually a traditional Nyonya (Straits Chinese) food. It involves a lot of ingredients and spices but the most expensive ingredient would be the fish fillet itself. Otak-otak is actually fish mousse with lots of spices.
Initially I wanted to try the recipe that I found online but in the end, my mom took over because she said the recipe I had wasn’t authentic enough. So we do it her way, which uses the ‘agak-agak’ (guess/estimates) method, because there’s no real measurement or rules except for her instinct. It’s weird but that’s usually how the old folks cook their traditional food, somehow it’s just difficult to replicate the exact taste of the food they cook.
There are many varieties of Otak-otak around, some are grilled versions where it’s cooked using charcoal, whereas some like mine are the Penang Nyonya type where they use a lot of bethel and kaffir lime leaves. Of course I like the Penang version more, it’s goes very well with a bowl of hot steam rice or even plain bread. Anyway, my Otak-otak was well received by my cell members and some would like to place order for me so they can have it for dinner. So I told them to purchase the fish and I will make it for them when I am free instead.
Ever since I started bringing and making my own food to cell, they have been encouraging me to go into home based catering business, because they think I can cook well. Well, I have to admit that I do enjoy cooking, but I also feel that cooking is a personal thing, you cook for someone because you care for them and want them to have the best food that you can produce instead of just purchasing it elsewhere. Even my gyoza business is a part-time endeavor because I love dumplings and it’s difficult to find good ones around. So, I can’t very well produce mass amount of food without putting my entire effort in sourcing for the ingredients, creativity to make it looks good, wisdom to use just the right amount of everything and most importantly, the strength and determination to do it and deliver on time.
Of course I admire those who are in food business a lot, especially those who put in their entire effort in assuring that food is perfect before they serve it to their customers. I know that there are a lot of entrepreneurs that just hired helper to do everything and eventually take over the entire operations, but I don’t think that is the right thing to do. Eventually you don’t see their business prospering as compared to those that took ownership of their own kitchen.
So perhaps someday I will go into F&B business, but I don’t think I will do so now, I still enjoy what I am doing and meeting business people of different background and industries. Most importantly, I also know that I am doing what is ‘right’ for me at this point of time. Ok, enough blogging for today, it’s time for me to get back to work!