Lontong – hard-boiled rice – is something you can find in many Indonesian traditional dishes. Interestingly, even if you travel around Indonesia, you will find that every region has its own version of dishes that use lontong.
And lontong has become one of the food items for special occasions such as Eid or Christmas.
Although in essence, there are two different types of hard-boiled rice in Indonesia. One is lontong which is cooked using banana leaves as the wrappers. And the other one is ketupat which uses palm leaves that are woven into diamond shapes.
For ketupat, people normally cook and make it for Eid celebrations. Because common people may not be able to weave the palm leaves into the ketupat shapes. So they rely on the sellers who sell the ketupat wrappers.
Therefore, outside the Eid season, normally people make lontong if they want to cook something that requires hard-boiled rice.
How to make lontong without banana leaves
When I moved to the UK, I found it difficult to cook dishes that require lontong or ketupat as their companion. Because it’s not easy to get banana leaves. I have to travel to Chinatown which takes more than 45 minutes from where I live.
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Really, I can’t justify spending that much time just to get banana leaves to make lontong! Not only that, the price is expensive too.
So I have to find a way to make lontong.
Then my mom taught me how to make it when she came to visit me.
To make lontong without banana leaves, you need food-grade plastic bags. Try to get good quality ones that are quite thick and durable. Because you’ll boil them for at least 1 hour using a pressure cooker, or about 2 hours using normal pot.
When your lontong is completely cool, it will get hardened and firm that it will be easy for you to cut. It can take at least 3-4 hours for the lontong to firm up.
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Thank you, and all the best.