Lontong or loosely translated as Rice Cake is very popular in South East Asia especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It is made of long-grain rice wrapped and cooked in banana leaves. It is slightly greenish in color (color transferred from the banana leaves) and it goes with many dishes such as Satay Padang, Ketoprak, sometimes in Gado Gado, and my absolute favorite is lontong sayur. These are just to mention a few.
My mom got me some “moulds” (as seen in the photos) that commonly used to cook the rice cake. They really make my life so much easier. Lontong needs to be cooked standing up, so with having the moulds, definitely, your life will be easier. But I do understand that not everyone have these lontong moulds. I will share both methods of using moulds and without moulds. I’ve made lontong many times without moulds and they still turned out great. Just more troublesome if I may put it that way.
- About 4 cups of uncooked long-grain rice (washed and drained)
- Banana leaves (I got mine frozen from asian store, so thawed them overnight)
- Box of toothpicks
- Clean the banana leaves with clean damp cloth before using. Cut 7-8 pieces of 10" (25 cm) in width. Warm them up a little bit on an open fire briefly.This is very important step as it helps the banana leaves to stay soft and avoid cracking. Just be careful not to burn your hands
- Roll each leaf (length wise with the green shiny side in, so your lontong will have slightly greenish color) into a cylinder with a diameter of about 6" (15 cm). If you want a bigger piece of lontong with bigger diameter. I think this is a perfect size without being too big or too small. Bigger rolls will require longer cooking time
- Secure one of the end with toothpicks. If you use bottle to help your roll, be sure to secure one end before pushing the bottle out. Once you did, you can push the bottle out
- Fill out each roll with rice. The amount of rice depends on the length of your rolls. If you have a 20-cm roll in length, you want to fill up the rice below half of 20 cm, which is about 10 cm. This will make sure you won't have tough lontong and your lontong will not burst because rice expands as it cooks. Continue until you use up all the rice
- Prepare a big pot, tall enough for the lontong to stand up in the pot. This is also another important step: Lontong must be cooked "standing" inside the pot. This can be challenging if your pot is too big and as soon as you put the lontong in, they will tend to float at first, but slowly submerge them and arrange them in a standing position. I used some glass jars (2-3 or more), submerged them inside the pot and place them side-by-side with the lontong to help keep the lontong in standing positions. DO NOT USE PLASTIC, as it will melt! Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to let it simmer, not rolling boil as your lontong will have hard time "standing".
- Check on them every now and then to make sure they are still in standing position. If not, use a tongs to reposition it to standing position again. Cook for minimum of 3 hours with the lid on. If you make bigger rolls, you may need 4-5 hours
- They may appear soft when you just pull them out from the pot and think you have a failed product, but they will be that way. I let them cool for about one hour before opening and slicing them
- You can roll the banana leaves into cylinder and the diameter of your lontong is determined by the size of your mould. Secure one end with toothpick. Slide it into the mould and then fill it up only halfway with rice and then secure with toothpick and close the lid
- Slowly submerge the lontong in the mould into water, you can leave about 1-inch on top not submerged in water. You may need few glass jars submerged in water around the lontong, to prevent them from tipping over while cooking. This happens less when I cook with the mould. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to let it simmer, not rolling boil as your lontong will have hard time "standing"
- Cook for 3-5 hours, depending on how large your lontong is. I cook mine for about 4 hours. 4 hours seem to be a good time
- Do not cut the lontong until they are completely cool. Slice the lontong with wet knife to make your life easier :) They can be kept in refrigerator, wrapped nicely in plastic wrapper for up to one week
Stay tuned for my next post for lontong sayur 🙂
Have a great day and thank you for stopping by