Botok-botok: Traditional Johorean’s Recipe

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Botok-botok is a type of traditional Johor food. It is made from fish fillets, either mackerel or red fish, which are seasoned with various spices before being wrapped using banana leaves. Once folded, it is steamed until cooked. The specialty of these botoks is their fragrant smell when opened while serving. The special spice is said to consist of various herbs including several types of pudding flower leaves.

Let’s check this original botok-botok recipe from Johor!


  • Fish curry spices
  • Crackle (kerisik)
  • Coconut milk
  • Tamarind

    Main Ingredients
  • Mackerel fish, puffer fish, stingray fish, cod fish, shrimp (according to the suitability and taste of each)

    To Blend
  • 2 large red onions
  • 3-4 small shallots
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • Ground dry pepper (just a little)
  • 2 lemongrass sticks
  • Sufficient turmeric
  • Adequate ginger
  • Enough galangal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander

    To Wrap
  • Banana leaf/ aluminium foil

    Ulam-ulaman (wash & cut, you can use any desired ulam)
  • Cassava leaves
  • Sprouts
  • Basil leaves
  • Hollow leaves
  • Noni sprouts
  • Turmeric leaf
  • Kaduk leaves
  • Papaya sprouts

Cooking Methods

  • 1. Heat the oil. Add the ground ingredients and fry until the oil breaks.
  • 2. When it is dry, add fish curry powder. Sauté again.
  • 3. Then add enough crackling and tamarind water (it should be a little sour). Saute again as usual.
  • 4. Lastly, add coconut milk, salt, brown sugar and seasonings. Ready!
  • 5. To wrap, spread the banana leaves and arrange the side dishes.
  • 6. Then put the paste on the leaves. Flatten a little then put fish or shrimp.
  • 7. Cover the fish with paste and arrange the ulam-ulaman again on top.
  • 8. Wrap according to the picture below. Make sure it is tight enough.
how to wrap
  • 9. Steam botok-botok for 30 minutes or until cooked.
  • 10. Remove and enjoy immediately while still hot.

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Article written by Nurul Humaira’ Hasan.

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