Thursday, August 25, 2005

Lemang and Ketupat Daun Palas

I thought I'll share with you a picture of some lemang and ketupat daun palas I found at the farmers' market (Pasar Tani in Malay). Don't they look delicious and remind you of the forthcoming Hari Raya Puasa?

Lemang is glutinous rice with coconut milk that is cooked in long bamboo tubes. These bamboo tubes are cooked using open air fire. Banana leaves are used to line the tube before putting in the glutinous rice soaked with coconut milk. Although you can get lemang all year round (around the Karak highway and at farmers' markets like these), it is usually served during festive seasons like Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji. During those festive times, you will see makeshift stalls popping up at the side of the road just before the end of Ramadhan (fasting month), where they will create a temporary site to burn the lemang. TV Smith has an excellent picture of one such stall using coconut shells as firewood.

It's not easy to cook lemang and sometimes you get those which is overcooked. The lemang is served with rendang (as seen in the picture) which can either be made from beef or chicken. Rendang is a curry that is cooked with spices like lemon grass, galangal, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, dry fried grated coconut (kerisik) and coconut milk for a few hours. Usually made with beef cubes, it can also be made from organic chicken (ayam kampung). I like my lemang with serunding daging (spicy beef floss) that is cooked with coconut milk and spices. The best serunding in my opinion are the ones from Kelantan as they are so aromatic. Nowadays, you can get chicken and fish serunding.

Another must have during Hari Raya is ketupat daun palas. These triangular parcels contain glutinious rice wrapped in palm leaves fronds called daun palas. I usually like them plain but some people do add black eyed beans. For an excellent write up and detailed pictures on how to wrap ketupat palas, do visit Farah Mahzdan's blog. I also learnt that depending on which gender you're giving the ketupat to, you fold them differently.

After blogging about all these delicacies, I am really looking forward to Hari Raya Puasa as that is when I get home made ketupat daun palas lovingly wrapped and yummy rendang to go with it.

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