Lemang Kukuih

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[dropcap background=”yes”]H[/dropcap]ari Raya Eidil Fitri without lemang is like thanksgiving without a turkey.  Like so much of traditional village life, lemang is made from just four components: coconut, rice, bananas and bamboo.  Sticky rice mixed with coconut milk is poured into the hollow bamboo shaft lined with banana leaf, and then roasted over an open fire of [tooltip text=”Coconut shells” trigger=”hover”]tempurung[/tooltip]. That’s fine if you live in the villages, but what is the modern Malaysian city-dweller to do?  The fire pit and especially the thick smoke don’t mix well with rowhouse living.

Introducing Hajjah Maznah’s Steamed Lemang: Perfect for Your Urban Lifestyle.

Hajjah Maznah, my mother-in-law, is a self-reliant entrepreneur of the first order.  Unwilling to do without fresh homemade lemang despite living in a cramped and crowded housing estate, and sensing an unmet need in the market, she commissioned an aluminum kettle to her specification, propped it up on blocks on her front patio and fired up her propane tank.  This holiday season, I tagged along on the day before Raya as she made a batch of superb steamed lemang from scratch. By the end of the day, half of the batch was ready to feed her 24 grandchildren in the morning, and the other half was sold among the neighbors at a tidy profit.  Click on the coconuts to launch a fully annotated slide show of the process.

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