Lontong is a local favourite dish commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. You will see an abundance of this dish, especially during the Hari Raya celebration. With that said, Lontong is a dish that is made up of compressed rice cake in the form of a cylinder and wrapped with banana leaf. It is then boiled, and cut into small cakes as a replacement for steamed rice. It is also commonly called as nasi himpit (pressed rice) among Malaysians.
Lontong is usually served hot or at room temperature along with peanut sauce-based dishes such as gado-gado, karedok and other traditional salads. It is also famously eaten with coconut-milk based soup and also used as an alternative to vermicelli noodles.
Origins of Lontong
This dish originates from Indonesia and loved by locals from Malaysia and Singapore. In Indonesia, especially among the Betawi people, lontong is usually served as lontong sayur; which is rice cake pieces served in coconut milk soup with shredded chayote, tempeh, tofu, egg, and other vegetables.
Although Malaysians use a different traditional method to make this compressed rice, the traditional way for Indonesians to make this dish is by boiling the rice until it is partially cooked and pack it tightly in a rolled-up banana leaf.
The leaf is secured with a wooden needle made from the central rib of the coconut leaf and boiled for 90 minutes. Once it is cooled, it can be cut into bite-sized pieces. The use of banana leaf is a local favourite as it gives the dish an earthy flavour.
Although Lontong is traditionally made by wrapping the rice with banana leaves; we’ll provide you with a simple recipe in case you can’t get your hands on any banana leaves nearby.
Lontong RecipeDifficulty: Easy
Lontong is an excellent alternative to rice and vermicelli noodles if you’re planning to have something different. By preparing the lontong well, it will taste great with peanut sauce-based dishes, salads, satay, and coconut milk-based soups.
2 cups of rice
4 cups of water
2 pandan leaves
- First, pour two cups of rice into the rice cooker and rinse thoroughly.
- Next, prepare to cook the rice by adding the water and a pinch of salt into the rice.
- Knot the pandan leaves and put it into the rice before cooking it at high heat.
- When it starts to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for five minutes.
- Once the rice is cooked, use a fork or potato masher to mash the rice until the grains are not obvious.
- Then, stir the rice and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
- Once the rice is fully cooked, cover the pot and remove from the stove.
- By using a rectangular or square pan, use a cling wrap to cover the pan.
- Place the rice onto the pan and compress it.
- Refrigerate or you can leave it at room temperature.
- Shape and cut the rice according to the size you want.
- During the process, if your rice is still uncooked, add some more water and mix well. Then, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. This video will show you the process of making Lontong with this method (different measurements used in the video).
Ways to Enjoy Lontong :
You can enjoy lontong in many ways such as dipping it in peanut sauce, pairing it with traditional salads and satay as well. Besides that, locals also love their Lontong paired with coconut-milk based soups such as lontong sayur, gulai and curries.
If you managed to get some banana leaves, we suggest you take up the challenge and make Lontong the traditional way by wrapping and boiling them in water.
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