Lontong or loosely translated as Rice Cake is very popular in South East Asia especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It is made of 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, Satay Padang, Ketoprak, Gado Gado, Lontong Sayur, etc.

Thanks mama for the tips and recipe :)

LONTONG / RICE CAKE (7-8 loaves of lontong)
What you will need:
  • 2 cups of uncooked jasmine rice (washed and drained)
  • Banana leaves (I got mine frozen from asian store, so thawed them overnight)
  • Box of toothpicks
  1. 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.
  2. 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, you can use a round bottle ( I suggest not too big either to make your life easier) to help you with a job, otherwise, small rolls won't require this trick. I prefer to keep them small for easier management ;)
  3. 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
  4. 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 less than 10 cm. This will make sure you won't have tough lontong
  5. You will be able to make about 7-8 rolls. I got about 7.
  6. Prepare a big pot, tall enough to cover the lontong all the way to the top. 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!
  7. Check on them every now and then to make sure they are still in standing position. Cook for minimum of 3 hours with the lid on. If you make bigger rolls, you may need 4-5 hours
  8. They may appear very 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

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15 thoughts on “LONTONG / RICE CAKE

  • J.C.

    We call this nasi impit and I love them with lontong (coconut vegetable curry) and sambal tumis. Usually I will buy the plastic pre-packed ones sold in supermarket in Malaysia (where I live). With your recipe, now I know how to make them with banana leaves. I believe yours would have a nice lingering frangrant from the banana leaves.

  • What To Cook Today Post author

    Hi J.C.,

    I used to buy the pre-packed one too during Uni time as I didn’t know how to cook yet haha! Hope they turn out. Making lontong from scratch is quite a work I must admit, but when you did it once, it won’t be as daunting anymore especially if you have a lontong cooker/mould :)

  • wibi

    For the best green colouring, we choose leaves of “Pisang Kluthuk / Pisang Batu ” for moulding the lontong. It also gives you more special natural herb taste to your lontong.

  • wibi

    For Satay Padang you will need Ketupat Padang.
    Is there anybody can tell me – how to make it ?

  • What To Cook Today Post author

    Hi wibi,

    I don’t know how to make ketupat padang yet :( That’s one of the skill I need to learn one of these days. I just have my satay padang with the regular lontong :)

  • What To Cook Today Post author

    I agree. I have to settle with the banana leaves I have here in the U.S. though. Frozen too !

  • Shahirah Alqadri

    OMG, your post is a life saver! My husband and I are spendin’ our first Eid in the UAE and since we’re not goin’ home for Eid, we really wanted to cook ketupat/lontong and have been tryin’ to figure out where to finds the leaves to weave the ketupats. But now with banana leaves, it’s possible to have lontong! *happy dance*

  • What To Cook Today Post author

    Hi Shahirah,

    I’m happy to hear that. Yes, it’s absolutely possible to make ketupat with banana leaves. In fact, that’s how my mom made them most of the time :) Hope the lontong/ketupat turns out great for you :)

  • Clarina

    I recently read in Reader’s Digest about Idul Fitri and I wanted to make Ketupat as a surprise for my helper (she’s Muslim). I didn’t know where to find palm leaves so I got banana leaves instead. I tried to make it like a palm leaf Ketupat by cutting the banana leaf in to strips and trying to weave them together. It’s my first time trying to make it so It was really hard for me to weave the casing and the banana leaves kept breaking. So I gave up and thought I’d just make Lotongs instead. But your recipe says to cook it for at least three hours and it’s quite late right now, so, oh well, I guess I’ll have to try another time. I am making Opor Telur tomorrow morning though (hopefully!).

  • What To Cook Today Post author

    Hi Clarina,

    That’s so sweet of you :) I think it’s almost impossible to weave with banana leaves :( Yes, the lontong does take at least 3 hours to be cooked and that’s why my mom told me that she often make them in big batches, coz doesn’t matter you make 1 or 2, it’s the same amount of time :)

  • Andy O

    Love the longtong recipe. Thanks. I seem to recall there is a recipe that calls for a heavy weight to press the cooked rice. Do you know of this recipe??. Happy cooking. Andy

  • Andy

    Hi Clarina
    Regarding the weight-pressed type of lontong I just remembered my Grandma referring to it as “Nasi Tinday”. Will attempt to ask around and hopefully get a recipe for it. Happy Cooking!! Andy