Pressed Rice Cakes

Ketupat

In Singapore and Malaysia, artisan cooks weave the palm fronds into small pouches for this dish. The pouch is with raw rice, pulled closed, and then boiled until the rice expands and compresses inside to form a tight cake. The cakes are cooled, cut into bite-size pieces, and eaten with satays and other flavorful dishes. I’ve created a more practical method for preparing the rice cakes, using standard baking pans. This is very authentic, albeit non-traditional. Many Malaysian cooks now prepare it this same way!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Long grain rice, such as jasmine
  • cups Water

Method

  1. Prepare the pans: Lightly grease an 8-inch × 8-inch × 2-inch baking pan (20 cm. × 20 cm. × 5 cm.) Line with plastic wrap, allowing a 4-inch (10 cm.) overhang on all sides. Have ready a second pan that stacks neatly into the lined baking pan (this will be used to weight down the rice).
  2. Cook and mold the rice: Cook rice in covered pot or rice cooker using standard absorption method. After resting for 10 minutes, when cooking is complete, remove from heat and stir rice for 10 seconds slightly mashing some of the grains so they stick together after pressing.
  3. Transfer rice into the prepared pan; spread into an even layer. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the rice, and then cover with an additional sheet. Top the rice with another pan, so that it’s surface is completely pressed by the bottom of the inserted pan. Weight the top pan down with a 4-pound weight ½ gallon of water (1.9 L.) or even a selection of canned goods). Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour, until rice is firmly set.
  4. Unmold, cut and serve: Remove weight, remove top sheet of plastic and grip overhang of plastic wrap from bottom layer, pull up to remove rice from pan. Transfer to cutting board, remove all plastic wrap, and use a wet knife to cut into ¾-inch (2 cm.) cubes. Arrange on a platter with cucumbers, red onions, and peanut sauce for dipping. When serving with satay, it’s traditional to spear the rice and vegetables with aid of the spent satay skewers.

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