Rice cakes are popular sides made of rice that often accompany Indonesian savory dishes, such as sate, gado-gado, ketoprak, lontong sayur, and many other dishes. For festive occasions, we usually have ketupat or rice cakes wrapped in woven palm leave pouches in the shape of diamond. For daily meals, lontong is more popular, which is rice cakes wrapped in banana leave pouches in the shape of a tube. Both are quite tricky to make, though there are now lontong moulds that greatly increase the chance of success in lontong making. As for ketupat, well, I won’t even bother trying, better leave them to the professionals and buy them ready made. 😀
Anyway, living outside of Indonesia, even if I own a lontong mould, finding the requisite banana leaves can be tricky. So, here is a really simple method to make your very own rice cakes, as long as you have a rice cooker, and any square/oblong shape moulds, which a regular loaf pan should do the trick nicely. I still call them ketupat though for lack of vocabulary, though technically, this is not ketupat, and not lontong, but a close enough approximation for those feeling a bit home sick and need a serving or two of rice cakes. 😉
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups water
- rice cooker
- loaf pan
- saran plastic wrap
- Wash and drain rice. Then place the rice, salt, and water in a rice cooker, and cook until rice cooker turns to "warm".
- Open the lid, and with the rice paddle (this usually comes with your rice cooker) or a spatula, fluff and press the rice. The cooked rice for making rice cake should be much wetter than typical steamed rice.
- Line a loaf pan with saran plastic wrap. Transfer the still warm rice to the pan, press with rice paddle or spatula as you transfer the rice. Once all the rice has been transfer, cover the the top surface with another piece of saran wrap and flatten the surface while keep pressing.
- Once the rice is as packed as it can be, poke the top saran plastic wrap with a skewer to create holes for steam to escape.
- Let the rice cake cools, you can speed up the process by cooling it in the refrigerator.
- Once it has completely cooled, remove rice cake from the mould, remove the plastic wrap, and cut into 1 inch cubes. Serve with your favorite savory dish.