Saturday, 22 March 2014

Kuih Lopes

This is my maiden attempt to make kuih lopes on my own, without any supervision. I've eaten a lot of kuih lopes made by my mother, but I've never really learnt how to make it although I had some vague ideas. Days before making, I just asked my mother to clarify certain things.  

Lopes is traditionally wrapped into a triangular shape, but that's quite time consuming. So I wrapped mine like lontong or lemang. My experience with making lemang came in handy. Actually, I did wrap a few pieces into triangular shape ones but all of them burst open during cooking time. That's what will happen if they are not tied securely.

I'll leave you with the recipe & some tips  on making & keeping kuih lopes. Hope they'll be useful if you want to give it a try.

Kuih Lopes

500g glutinous rice
10-15g light soda ash - crushed (I used 10g)  / lye water (I'm not sure how much you need this.) *see note below
banana leaves
  1. Wash the glutinous rice until the rinsing water is clear. 
  2. Then place the rice in a container & pour water until about 5cm above the rice level. Sprinkle the crushed soda ash or mix in the lye water. Stir the rice. Leave it to soak for at least 2 hours. (The colour of the rice should turn to light yellow. If the rice has not turned yellow, you should add some more soda ash or lye water.) 
  3. At the end of the soaking period. drain the water by pouring the rice into a colander. 
  4. Wash the banana leaves. To soften the leaves,  pass the leave quickly over flame, one at a time. You can also dry the leaves under the sun for a couple of hours. Softening the leaves will prevent them from tearing when wrapping the kuih lopes.
  5. Take a piece of banana leave & roll it to form a cylindrical shape. Make sure there are at least 2 layers of leaves. (I used a rolling pin as a mould to form uniform banana leave 'cylinders'.) Tie one end of the leave with a rafia string. (You need a string long enough to tie the 2 ends & the center of the leaves.) Fill the 'cylinders' with the glutinous rice, leaving about 1cm space for the rice to expand. Using the same piece of string, tie the center & the other end of the leave securely. (I wrapped & tied my kuih lopes just like I did my lemang.)
  6. Boil a big pot of water. Place the wrapped lopes into the pot. Make sure all the lopes are submerged in water. Cook for 2-5 hours. (I cooked them for 2 hours.) Remove from pot & place on a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
  7. To serve, slice the lopes with a plastic knife or wet metal knife & coat every piece with grated coconut. Then pour gula Melaka syrup.
This recipe makes four 8cm-long lopes.
After soaking, the rice should turn light yellow.

Coconut for coating:
300g fresh coconut (skin removed & grated)
2 pandan leaves, torn
salt to taste
     Combine the ingredients & steam for about 15 minutes. Steaming the coconut will prevent it from turning rancid when left in room temperature over a long period of time.

Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar) Syrup:
200g gula Melaka, cut into small pieces
2 pandan leaves, torn lengthwise & tied a knot
1/2 cup water
a pinch of salt
     Combine water, gula Melaka & pandan leaves in a heavy-based saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until all the sugar has melted. Once the syrup is boiling,  remove from heat. Then strain & leave aside. The syrup will thicken as it cools. If it becomes too thick, thin out with a little bit of water before using.

1) Soda ash is  abu chang in Malay. According to my maid, Indonesians call it tawas. The  one that's commonly sold here is the white & hard solid type. Another type is orange in colour. I think lye water is the liquid form. You can buy the soda ash from the market or neighbourhood shops. 

2) The amount of rice you fill into the banana leave cylinders will determine how hard or soft the kuih lopes will turn out. Too compact  & the lopes will be hard, but too loose & the lopes will be very soft. After filling it with rice, I left about 1 cm space before tying the other end of the leave. My lopes turn out just nice, they are not too hard & not too soft.

3) Hesti from Hesti Kitchen also shared some tips to improve the keeping quality of kuih lopes. 
*The amount of time you cook the lopes will affect its keeping quality. The longer you cook them,  the longer the lopes can be left in room temperature without turning bad. (This also applies to ketupat and lontong.) I cooked my lopes for only 2 hours as I know my lopes will not be left uneaten for long. Hesti wrote that her mum cooked the kuih lopes for 5 hours & it can keep for 1 week in room temperature. 
*Once cooked, remove lopes from the pot & rinse it under running water. Then dry it using a cloth & place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
*Lopes can also be frozen for months. (I did not know that!)

I'm submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: Indonesia, hosted by Alice from I Love. I Cook. I Bake.


S.Roz said...

Salam Sis, I love kueh lopes. But where I am now it is quite difficult to get banana leaves. Used to wrap these with young bamboo leaves that used for bak chang. But sometimes the leaves are too small n stocks limited. Have to get from the Asian shops. Now I'm using plastic wrap for my lopes,lontong and lepat. I used lye water approximately 2-3 tablespoons for 500gm glutinous rice. This way we get to satisfy our craving for the traditional kueh's.Yours truly look delicious. Thank you.

Faeez said...

Waa'laikumsalam S. Roz, I know... when u are so far away from home, the cravings will start. Hv you tried the frozen section? When I lived in the US, banana leaves from Thailand are frozen. Otherwise, I guess you'll just hv to make do with using plastic until you come home. So you use lye water..... thks for the info.

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