Learn how to make Indonesian lontong (rice cake) the traditional way wrapped in banana leaves.
Lontong or loosely translated as Rice Cake is very popular in South East Asia especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It is made of rice grains 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.
Now, I feel like I can make lontong anytime of the week without having to worry about not having a tall pot, or the mould !
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. I need to update this part because honestly speaking, all these years, I thought I had to cook lontong in a standing position and that’s NOT TRUE! I’ve made lontong several times since then without mould and not in standing position inside the pot and they turned out really good too! I told my mom that too and her reaction was “That’s a relief to know! Because having to cook the lontong in a standing position is really a “PITA” (mom didn’t say that exact word!)”
Indonesian rice cakes in banana leaves (lontong) - updated
- 4 cups jasmine rice washed and drained
- Banana leaves I got mine frozen from asian store, so thawed them overnight in the refrigerator
- 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 helps the banana leaves to stay soft and avoid cracking. Just be careful not to burn your hands
- Roll each leaf (lengthwise with the green shiny side in, so your lontong will have slightly greenish color) into a cylinder with a diameter of about 3 inches (8 cm). You can go down to 6 inches too. 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. Fill out each log 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 with some water. Place the lontong inside the pot. They will tend to float at first, but slowly submerge them and try not to overcrowd the pot. If your pot is tall enough to let them cook in standing position, that's great. You save more space and can cook more. But if not, don't worry, you can still cook them in "sleeping" position. But I won't crowd the pot. Probably cook 4-5 pieces. Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat to let it gently simmer
- Cook for minimum of 3 hours with the lid on. If you make bigger rolls, you may need 4-6 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 and they are just firm enough without being tough
- 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 and months in freezer
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Lontong Sayur Medan
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
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
Hi Andy. I never actually know lontong recipe that is being pressed the way you described. But I did make a pressed rice cakes before, just not lontong 🙂 http://whattocooktoday.com/pressed-rice-cakes.html
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!).
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 🙂
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*
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 🙂
For Satay Padang you will need Ketupat Padang.
Is there anybody can tell me – how to make it ?
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 🙂
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.
I agree. I have to settle with the banana leaves I have here in the U.S. though. Frozen too !
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 🙂
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.
I got the moulds from Bandung. they are pretty common to be used in Java area. I’ll show you the pic next time.
Very nice looking lontongs you have there! I was making lontong with the moulds that I got from Indonesia for the Eid.