Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Lemang - A traditional local delight

(From Y3K Recipes Issue No.9 – Nov/ Dec 2002)
Copyright of Y Three K Publisher. All rights reserved.

With the approach of the fasting month (Ramadan) for Muslims, many temporary Malay food stalls can be seen, sprouting up everywhere. They sell a lot of both modern and traditional food between 4p.m. and 7p.m. A lot of busy Muslim families patronise the stalls, buying the well-prepared meals home for the breaking of fast after sunset. One-ever popular item is lemang. This is glutinous rice filled in bamboo casings and grilled for hours. A single roll can normally feed two to three persons. Generally, it is eaten dipped in a curry dish.

Our bubbly friend, Makcik Siti Minah, who hails from Kelantan, showed us the steps in preparing the tedious tasks. Her lemang stall is located at the 26-km Karak Highway stretch. This traditional lemang making reflects a perfect symbol of the continuity in Malay culture, hospitality and food, which are still deeply entrenched in the roots.

1.2kg glutinous rice
1 coconut (add 2 litres water, extract milk)
6 green bamboo woody stems (1 1/2 feet each)
6 pieces very young banana leaves
Some salt
Some sugar
1. Rinse rice. Soak in water for 4 hours. Drain off excess water.
2. Mix seasoning well with rice.
3. Roll up the banana leaves as shown. Insert it inside the bamboo casings.
4. Fill the bamboo casings with rice, do not compact it too much. Add in coconut milk till almost reaching the top. Seal the opening with some banana leaves.
5. Heat up charcoal and grill the lemang over a slow charcoal fire for 5 hours. Rotate it frequently to ensure it is well cooked.
6. Split bamboo casings into halves. Cut the lemang rolls into slices. Serve with Chicken or Beef rendang.
Tips: Use only thin rim, green bamboos. Thick rim is not ideal as heat cannot penetrate through easily. These bamboos are sold in the wet market around Muslim festive seasons.

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