Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ketupat Daun Palas

This is my post for the coming Idul Fitri. This post will also serve to satisfy the craving for ketupat daun palas (palm leaves rice cake) by my brother Pakpayne who is so lucky (or unlucky) to be working in faraway land where the sands of the desert is more abundant than the green grasses and leaves back home in Malaysia. He had been salivating since I mentioned to him that I will be making ketupat daun palas(lets just call it ketupat) this coming Raya. Making not buying as I usually did. He wanted it so much saying that ketupat is his favourite and ordered some to be sent to him before Raya.
It's a no mean feat as this is the first time in my life I am doing this one delicacy that the rural Kelantanese must have on their table when it is time to celebrate Hari Raya. I was thinking of making the specialty from 2 kg gluttinous rice and my elder sister told me I could make 40 pieces of KDP and she wants half of it because she couldn't place any order for it and she doesn't know how to do herself. I doubt that I can make more than 40 as I am doing it for the first time after seeing and helping my late mum did it some 40 years ago.
When I mentioned to Pakpayne the cost of the delivery maybe prohibitive, we agreed on the ultimate solution of sending the daun palas instead via his friend Nik who is back for Raya. Pakpayne and his adorable wife Lil will attempt to do it on their own based on my description of how it is done in this blog.
Actually I have tried doing it with my wife Fatthiyah some 2 weeks ago. She herself had never done it at all as her family had been ordering it from their neighbour who made ketupat for a living. So it was really me recalling from memory, giving her instructions and ensuring her to do it the way I saw my late mum did it. The purpose then was to take some photographs to illustrate my article for a soon to be published magazine.
Fortunately the ketupat came out alright and we actually enjoyed eating it compared to those that I bought from the makcik at the last Friday sermons in Kota Bharu. Now I am resolved to make ketupat as my special dish for the coming Raya. My daughter who is coming back from Labuan is excited too because of the chance for her to learn handsdown on how this ketupat is made as her mum has never made it herself in the 25 years after she was born.
Pokok palas (licuala triphylla) grows in the wild in Kelantan. I saw them at Taman Negara Kuala Koh.I saw them near my mother inlaws home in Pasir Mas too.

To those who don't use the leaves for making ketupat, the plant is a weed. It is only for such occassions as Raya that the demand for the leaves increases. Then you will see people selling them in the market. The unopened shoot in the shape of a sword is the part required. Once it is opened the leaves become useless.
When the Hari Raya draws near, daun palas can be bought in bundles with the smallest bundle being sold at RM2.00 containing about 5 stalks which can yield about 30 casings.People selling daun palas at the Pasir Mas market.

I bought a small bundle and took it home to begin the first step in the making of ketupat. The first step is opening the leaves to make the casings. A casing is the leaf being folded into a triangular shell before it is filled with the steamed glutinous rice.

A few fronds of the palas shoot.

The end a single leaf is trimmed at the tip with a sharp knife so that the end will be straight and not serrated. One hand is used to hold the tip of the leaf while the thumb of the other hand is used to flatten the many ribs on the leaf. The process is repeated until the whole leaf is comparatively flat. It is quite a task as the leaf tend to close up again just like a concertina. When it is able to hold the flat shape, the first fold can be made.

Followed by more foldings. Care must be taken not to flatten the casing as the folding may result in ugly creases.
When the end of the leaf is near, the last fold will be a loop that will secure the leaf from opening up.

Making the last loop (above) is important before tightening up (below)

The picture below shows the correctly made casing (left) and the wrong last loop (right) which we call 'caping'.

It is ok if you dont get it right as it will hold just as well only that it is not right by the traditional way. Anyway this can be corrected later at the time of filling up.
The next process is preparing the glutinous rice to fill u the casing. This is usually done on the last day of the fasting month and this special day is called 'Hari Membuat Ketupat' (ketupat making day). In the days of old when the day of Raya was determined solely on the sighting of the moon determining the Ketupat Making day was a problem and thus the ketupat making is delayed till last so that should the moon be not sighted and Raya is delayed, the ketupat will be fresh and not hard.
'Beras Pulut' (glutinous rice) now costs at least RM3.00 a kg. My late mum would be shocked to hear of such a price. Anyway we are making our ketupat from 2 kgs of rice. The rice will be washed and soaked in water for an hour to soften it. This will hasten the steaming process.Then line up the steamer's bottom with sheets of banana leaves after making slits along the grain to allow steam to penetrate through. These banana leaves are necessary to keep the rice form falling through the many holes at the bottom of the steamer tray. If you in Dubai I guess you wont be able to find any banana leaves so you can use any other material like a muslin cloth or or new unused baby cloth napkin. Banana leaf is best because the cooked rice will not stick to the leaves.
At the same time santan (coconut milk) from 3 coconuts is put to the boil with a pinch of salt added. Add sugar to taste. If you like it sweet add more of course. Let it boil for ten minutes.
After an hour of steaming the glutinous should be done. Transfer the whole lot of cooked rice to a large container such as a basin or a large periok. Add the santan little by little while turning over the rice with a large spatula. When the rice is cool enough, use a plastic bag to cover your hand to turn over the rice so that it will be thoroughly mixed with the sweetened santan. This process is called 'mengarong'. Care must be taken to avoid any use of the bare hands as any contamination will shorten the shelf life of the ketupat.

When you are satisfied that the rice is thoroughly mixed, it is time to fill in the rice into the ketupat casing. By this time the rice should be cool enough to handle with the bare hands. If you have surgical glove it is best to use it. The fingers must be used to push the rice into the corners of the ketupat casing as tight as possible. After filling half way, put in some sambal daging or serunding daging as the non Kelantanese or meat floss if you cant pronounce the earlier two names. Fill up with the steamed rice till the casing is filled up to the brim while pressing the rice to compact it. When that is done continue wrapping the leaves until the ketupat attains a solid triangular shape.

Ensure proper compaction by pulling tight the leaf casing at every turn of the wrapping. Make sure that no rice oozes out from the corners called 'bucu' by the Kelantanese. To avoid the goey glutinous rice from sticking to your hand, apply some lime (kapur makan) to the fingers of your hands.

As in the making of the casing, the last loop must be correct and not 'caping' and pull it as tight as possible. Ensure that the casing won't open up by tying up the end of the leaf as per the illustration below.

The ketupat is now ready for the last process of boiling. The boiling can be done in any containers with a lid. The boiling will take an hour and should kill most of the contamination at the time of filling up.
Putting the water to the boil.

Immersing all the ketupat in one go.

Putting the lid will ensure the heat to remain within the pot

Remove all the water and after cooling down, cut the long stalk to make them look nice.

Ketupat ready to be served to your guests.

Ketupat lemak is not sweet as there is no sugar added. It is served with 'manisan cair' which is coconut sugar before it solidifies into gula melaka.
Do you know how to open the casing? Get some ketupats and start finding out how. If you try to open the knots, you may not be able to consume much because others will have eaten the rest by the time you finish opening up the knot. There is an easier way to do it. It is for you to find out.

Hopefully the above description is good enough to help you try it out. Should you fail to make it yourself, a visit to most pasars in Kelantan will ensure you will get your supply.

To all visitors to LAISI I would like to wish you Selamat Hari Raya. Should I have teased any of you in such a way as to hurt your feelings in whatever way, I beg for your forgiveness and likewise I will forgive you for any chiding which I believe to be all just for fun and never meant to hurt anybodys feelings.

Sorry folks, no time to make any corrections, will correct later.


Sang Kelate said...

Abe Wi..

Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Batin. Abe Pin surely be waiting the 'daun palas' impatiently.

Regarding yr suggestion for blogger meeting last time, I suggest we do it after 1st sunday after raya when Sheih is back in KB. Just spoke to him on phone and he sounds very joyful to celebrate Hari Raya in Johore. I do suggest Restaurant Cherita at Jln P.Chepa at the back of Klinik Bandar KB... new place with authentic Kelantanese dish.

How do I get in touch with u? U may email me yr hp no to

Selamat Hari Raya.


Azmy Omar said...


Kalu gini gak kena buka kedai jual ketupat pula laa.

Awie, I have got an idea .. why don't you do a posting on beautiful hoses of Pasir Mas. We can go round shooting these beautiful houses just in Pasir Mas...may be that would inform all Malaysians that we in Pasir Mas do built big houses with landscapes too. How about that?

Before I forget.

SELAMAT HARI RAYA to all visitors to this blog.

Pp said...

Assalamualaikum Pok Wi..

terkejut kawae baco entry nih. Baru jah lagi pok wi dok ghoyat pasal ketupat ni...dan saya pun dah beli beras pulut malam tadi. Cuma now kena gi beli daun pisang pulak....sbb ada pok wi tulis tu keno lapik daun pisang. Kat Dubai boleh beli daun pisang ni....satu ikat, dalam 4dirham ( abt rm4 lah jugak ). Tapi kena gi ke kedai tu pada hari yang dia baru sampai - sbb cepat habis!!

Kalau ada daun palas boleh doh start practice buko daun tu buat casings! Nampok macae payah...hehehe, tapi oghe perempuan lebih cepat panda menda2 lagu nih.

Saya tunggu lah dau palas dari Nik!!

Dah hello2 ko Nik ko?

The ketupat yang PoK Wi buat dan letak gambar dalam belog ni...nampok sedap sungguh!! ado sambal daging tu....

Ermmmm terliur wehhh!!!

Patricia said...

Hi Zawi,

My husband and I love ketupat palas - but it is rarely found here in KL (by us at least!) I think we'll be trying this out ourselves, IF we can find the palas leaves - cos your instructions are very clear. I'm sure we can do it!

And I know how to open the ketupat! hahaha. That's how I know you've made it correctly. I told you we love this ketupat!

Thank you for the recipe and the how-to-do-it. I'll let you know if we manage to find the leaves, and if we made decent ketupat like our cyber teacher!

Selamat Hari Raya to you and your family. May you have a joyful raya with your family and your friends.


Zawi said...

Sang Kelate,
Ya dia sedang menunggu tu sebab beras pulut dan daun pisang dia dah beli.
Blogger meet Hari Ahad tu saya tak dapat hadhir. Pada masa kini saya akan pergi ke Hakaya Kopitiam pada 4 Okt dan jumpa sapa sapa yang ada. Kalau saa dapat hadir yang pada Ahad saya akan cuba hadir sama. Restoran Cherita..first time dengar tu.
I will be meeting Sheih when he starts coming back to work.
My no is 019 9125647

Zawi said...

azmy omar,
Buka kedai ketupat? Buat pun belum tahu jadi.
Boleh kita sama sama pergi ambil gambar tapi my grand daughter Balqis is back with me now,so I wont be as free anymore.
Selamat Hari Raya to you too.

Zawi said...

Cepatnya beli beras pulut dan daun pisang. Saya dah beli daun palas untuk PP dan dah hantar message ko Nik. PP timbal balik la ngan dia dan roghyat no saya ko dia. Daun palas tu cukup la untuk buat practice.
Tak payah mana. Semua orang mula dengan tak reti belako. Cuba-cuba la. Janji tak bocor bila rebus kira ok la.
Selamat Hari Raya to you and your family.

Zawi said...

If there is demand for daun palas there will suppliers of course. Now since Raya is coming, there are many sellers but on normal days there arent any. Fortunately I know where it grows so I went to collect it myself from the bushes for my need. The one for Raya, I bought it from the market.
If you are doing it on your own please dont forget to soak the rice before you steam it, otherwise it will take a long time to cook.
Thanks for the season's greetings.

Akmal said...

Argh! Ketupat Sambal Daging! 40 only? And half will not be in your house during the first raya? Then you don't want to have me around anytime during the first raya, let alone to be your competition , trust me. I have double PhD in Ketupat Unwrapping Arts.
What, you don't believe me ah?
Pakpayne, seney jah lipat daun ketupat. Tera buat duo tigo kali gak bereh slalu. Ambo ghajin buat ;)
Anyway, Pak Zawi, manis sungguh buah dokong weh. Sedap sungguh :)

Zawi said...

Mengikut perkiraan terbaru 2 kg beras boleh dapat banyak juga ketupat jadi angka 40 itu sudah tidak relevan. Pastinya dah jadi lebih.
Dunno if it will be good enough for you to be able to eat as much as your normal capacity. Anyway don't worry there will be enough.
The daun palas can only start travelling to Dubai on the 16th of Oct as that will be the earliest date The People of Dubai (Nik and Rosdi) are going back to Dubai. I will have to get fresh supples so that it wont be dry leaves that reaches Pakpayne.
So berbuka atas duku la malam tadi?

Pi Bani said...

Ucapan Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri buat Pak Zawi sekeluarga. Ambiklah gambar banyak-banyak masa Raya... nanti blog about it after raya ya?

mrs.lim said...

Good morning, Pak Zawi.

Ketupat is one of my favourite Malay kueh-mueh. Yeah, thanks for showing how it was prepared. ;D though i doubt if i could master it.. :)

But what puzzled me is, what i normally bought from the market were fried sweet ketupat (like puluk bakar).. sometimes there were mixed with red beans.. are they the same? ( the fragrance of that tiny flower (don't know what is it called?) enhanced the flavour.)

Selamat Hari Raya Adilfitri.. to you and your family.. and to all your readers too.. :)

mrs.lim :)))

p kama at-tarawis said...

Wow Pak Zawi.. I like this pictorial langkah-demi-langkah ketupat-making punya entry! You never fail to surprise me lah Pak Zawi..

btw, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri maaf zahir dan batin, semoga diberkati Allah swt.

Note: Saya sekeluarga, termasuk adik beradik dan my last remaining maternal uncle mungkin ke pasir mas (kampung asal mak), pasir putih & kota baru (ramai sedara), kuala krai (arwah grandpa buried there)lepas raya ni.. masih dalam perancangan..

Jika kesempatan, teringin nak jumpa Pak Zawi.. entah2 bersangkut-paut kalau disoreh.. he he he..

Zawi said...

Did I surprise you? Please forgive me then for not letting you know that I am full of surprises hahaha.
Anyway ask your relatives if what I describe is correct or not and if there is a better way of making ketupat daun palas, please let me know.
Kalau ke Pasir Mas singgah di rumah Jalan Pam Air KADA Mukim Mekasar (Depan Sek Keb Mekasar) Tel Hse 7903785 HP 0199125647.

Patricia said...

Hi Zawi,

Thanks for the advice: I'll remember to soak the rice first.

I'd like to link this posting on my blog - it is so interesting, I'd like to share it with my small circle of readers!



Zawi said...

Selagi kamera Sony Alpha tu berfungsi, ia akan mengambil gambar dan menceritakan bagaimana Hari Raya disini diraikan. Terima kasih atas idea ini. Harapnya ia tidak akan memboringkan.

miss cloudy said...

wahhh very the bling bling lahh.. hehehe...a true kelantanese woman

Zawi said...

Mrs. Lim,
You can do it if you try. The first time may not be so good but a few tries will make you better.
Yes some people put in the red beans. But rarely they put in cloves like they do for pulut bakar. Actually they are not friend but boiled till the water run dry. That will ensure a longer shelf life but I dont expect my ketupat to be around beyond the fist day.
Thank you for the season's greetings.

Zawi said...

Soaking it will save you alot of time. I just got another tip from the experts. To avoid the glutious rice from sticking to your fingers, apply some lime (kapur makan) to your fingers before handling the rice. I will add this to the main blog soon.
Do whatever you deem fit. I will be very honoured if you do that.

Zawi said...

miss cloudy,
Spot on. Typical Kelantanese women as far as the bling bling is concerned. Tried to persuade the model to remove it but .......

Kata Tak Nak said...

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

Have fun with the family and drive safely

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

nampak lebih senang dari nyanyam ketupat yang hak biasa tu pak Z. Me mom loves ketupat palas very much its a must-have item on the dining table. we even get them fresh imported all the way from alor star for that genuine taste, as they claimed. am sure it tastes basically the same je.

but anyways, here's wishing you and the whole Pak Zawi clan a very meaningful aidilfitri, maaf zahir dan batin ikhlas dari saya.

Oldstock said...

Salam Sdra Zawi,

I've always wondered how they make ketupat palas. Thanks for this informative and very illustrative post.

Selamat hari raya aidilfitri.

Pp said...

terpanggil nak tulis komen lagi...

akmal: begheh...nanti saya cuba, dan ambik gambar jugak step by step mcm pak wi buat nih!

Pak Wi...:) malam tadi saya bertelefon dengae Nik....dio kato semua dah plan nak bawak balek ketupat tu....
ado juppo Sedi ko>?

demo tu baik2 belako tuh.


Zawi said...

Cikgu Nazir,
Terima kasihhhh.
You too drive carefully.

Zawi said...

Untuk nganyam tu memang senang cuma ramai yang tak berpeluang mencubanya.
Saya tidak pernah mencuba ketupat daun palas Kedah walaupun 2 tahun bermastautin disana jadi tak dapat saya bandingkan rasanya. Biasanya ada perbezaan dari rasa antara makanan Kedah dan Kelantan contohnya bubur asyura.
Thank you for the season's greetings and I would like to wish you the same.

Zawi said...

Now you wonder no more. Just try it out should you come across daun palas.
Selamat Hari Raya kembali.

Zawi said...

Dah establish contact ngan Nik dan dah ada no Sedi Nik bagi. Jap lagi nak telefon Sedi. Lo ni mungkin dia masih kat Mesjid lagi.
Rasanya baik belako. Lambat doah dia balik ko Dubai kita kirim apa yamh patutla ko PP. Sambal daging ado lagi ko?

uncleawang said...

Salam Pak Zawi,
Di-Kuching kita ada kelupis,ketupat dan lemang.Tapi jika ingin nak makan ketupat daun palas..terpaksa lah beli yang instant dari NONA-3 easy step!!

Zawi said...

Kelupis tu menarik untuk diblog sebab rasanya ramai yang tak tau. Adakah ianya yang dimasak dalam pitcher plants tu?
The art of making ketupat daun palas is dying in Kelantan. I am blogging about it to ensure that more people try doing it themselves so that it will not continue dying.

anasalwa said...

Thank you for ketupat palas entry. My aruah Mak loved ketupat palas. She never missed prepared ketupat palas even two dozen.
I remember having sweet ketupat palas when we lived in Pengkalan Chepa many years ago.
Selamat Hari Raya.

jaflam said...

Salam Zawi,

Enjoyed your posting on the making of ketupat daun palas.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
Maaf zahir Batin

Buat Tuan & keluarga.

Toilet paper said...

Selamat Hari Raya..

kbguy said...

since the ketupat already siap, it's time for me to wish you Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin. Besok Raya dah.. and I am already in the mood..

cakapaje said...

Pak Zawi,

Salam Aidil Fitri. Memohon maaf segala terlebih komen dan kesilapan yang pasti ada.

ps. I have another dream. My dream is to eat the sweetest ketupat pasal (kat KLnya tak sweet) with my Emak's Sambal Tumis Daging. Hmm...nanti kalau datang KL, tumpangkan sikit, leh? :)

Zawi said...

It is good that you can relate to this post as you have tasted it before.
The children and the inlaws helped me and my wife to make ketupat daun palas today. From 2 kg of rice we managed to get about 70 pieces of ketupat. It was a hands on learning for them and a great family activity for Raya. I will not let this traditional activity die within my family.
Selamat Hari Raya to you too.

Zawi said...

D Jaff,
Thank you for coming over.
Selamat Hari Raya to you and your family too. Maaf zahir batin.

Zawi said...

toilet paper,
Thank you very much. Enjoy the Raya.

Zawi said...

Just completed the ketupat. Please drop by for some of it. You know my number incase you can't locate the house.
Thank you for the greetings.

Zawi said...

Love every word of your comment so far so there is no way they could offend me.
Now that I know you love ketupat so much, I know what to bring the next time we are going to meet in KL. Yes I will bring the sweet ones. Since your last visit to KB was such a long time ago, why not find time to make a pilgrimage to the place? I will prepare you homemade ketupat just for you.
Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf zahir dan batin.

mm said...

pak zawi

selamat hari raya aidilfitri and may you and family be blessed with much joy, love and happiness. good health always.

Zawi said...

Thank you for the greetings.
Its been a long time since we interact at TZ's blogsite. Missed those banters over there.

Hantu Laut said...

Selamat Hari Raya Idilfitri to you and the whole family.

Zabs said...

Salam Zawi,
Kami masak ketupat biasa je. Dah pandai anyam ketupat tu sejak sekolah menengah lagi. Tapi bila takda masa tu beli dah siap je sarung ketupat tu.
Selamat Hari Raya AidilFitri, maaf zahir batin pada Zawi dan keluarga..

Linken Lim said...

Selamat Hari Raya to you and your family.
Have a joyful Hari Raya !
Cheers !!

ruby ahmad said...

Salam Aidil Fitri & family. Maaf Zahir Batin.

Zawi said...

Thank you.

Zawi said...

Kami panggil ketupat nasi disini. Disini ada dijual dan dimakan dengan sambal khas untuk dia.
Thank you for the greetings.

Zawi said...

liken lim,
Thank you. Will definitely have a great Raya this year because 2 of my children are home.

Zawi said...

Thank you. Maaf juga dipohon.

maria a samad (kak ton) said...

Salam Zawi,

Here's wishing you and yours a selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.

Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

Zawi said...

Kak Ton,
Thanks a heap.

U.Lee said...

Hello Zawi, here's wishing you and family the best of Hari Raya.
Love the pics of making a ketupat....the lady demonstrating sure a walking gold mine, ha ha.
Best regards, Lee.

Zawi said...

Thank you for the visit and the greetings.
The Lady is a goldmine indeed and I am happy to own the goldmine hahahaha.
Take care bro.

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

TQ for the contact nos & the address Pak Zawi, Insyaallah jika jadi kami ke Kelantan nnti, we shall singgah. I will let you know in advance. Wassalam. btw, saya dah copy dan simpan your ketupat making article baik22.. manala tau nak try menerai soon.. hehehe

Zawi said...

Give it a try but please dont blame me if your ketupat turns out to be something else as I am not really an expert on making ketupats. Just a first time myself hahahaha. I am flattered by your keeness to use my description as reference.

cakapaje said...

Salam again Pak Zawi,

Thank you for the thought to bring the ketupat pasal for me. And thank you too for your kind words :)

Zawi said...

It is still a thought and yet to be realized. Hopefully you are not too faraway from either Puchong, Labu or Shah Alam.