Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Long time ago, when I was just a little girl, my aunt often came to my house. She usually brought some unique traditional food with her every time she pays a visit. One time, she brought one bag full of lontong (cylinder compressed rice cake wrapped in banana leaves). Or that was I thought. I didn't really pay attention to it because well, it's only lontong. It's very common in my own city. I was wrong. It was not lontong but she brought arem-arem.

Arem-arem is a steamed rice filled in with spiced meat and wrapped  in banana leaves. It's shaped cylinder likes lontong but it has filling like lemper. That's why sometimes people will get confused between arem-arem and lontong. There are a lot of variation for the filling such as spiced chicken, beef, fish, or it is even possible to add some vegetables. Just use your imagination and create your own filling. Those filling will make the rice taste even better as well. Yum!!

I love arem-arem since the first time I tried it. I always want to make it and eat it again. But too bad, not long time after that my aunt got sick and it was getting difficult for her to pay a visit. It has been years since my last time eating arem-arem. Until few weeks ago. My friend gave me few of her leftover banana leaves. What a happy coincidence because I was thinking the possibility of participating Indonesian Foodblogger Comunity Challenge #14:Olahan Beras (Rice dish). Anyone who want to participate should make any kind of Indonesian rice dish using an organic PureGreen rice. I'm a bit nervous actually trying to compete with other great food blogger. But no harm no foul. Well, while starring at my banana leaves, I was thinking why not trying to make arem-arem for this challenge? I like it, I always want to try to make, I have the ingredients (especially I have banana leaves), and now I have a good reason to make it.

Ingredients :
For filling :
  • 2 medium shallots (or 4 Indonesian shallots)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 candlenuts (kemiri)
  • 1 chili pepper, remove the seeds 
  • 200 grams boneless chicken, cut into big chunk
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 40 grams grated carrot
  • 30 grams green peas
  • salt and pepper 
  • vegetable oil
  • about 500 ml water for boiling the chicken.
For the rice :
Preparation :
Let's make the filling 
  1. In a pot, boil a water together with boneless chicken.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and shred it. Do not throw away the leftover chicken broth. Save about 300 ml chicken broth and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, blend together shallots, garlic, candlenuts, and chili pepper until you get a paste.
  4. In a pan, heat about 3 tbs vegetable oil and saute the spices paste until it become aromatic.
  5. Add shredded chicken into the pan and stir it together with the spices.
  6. Add chicken broth, soy sauce, ginger powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir again.
  7. Let it simmer for a while until almost all the liquid are evaporated.
  8. Add grated carrot and green peas and stir. 
  9. Turn off the heat and let it cooled for a bit.
Tip : You can always make the filling one day before making arem-arem. Just let it cool until the hot steam are gone, put it in a airtight container box and keep it in refrigerator. 

Now, let's make arem-arem :
  1. With a strainer, rinse the rice with running water and drain it well.
  2. In a big pot, mix together the rice, coconut milk ,and salt.
  3. Turn on the heat and cook them together 
  4. Stir it once in a while until about half of the liquid are absorbed by the rice.
  5. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a while.
  6. Prepare the steamer and let the water on the steamer boiled.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the banana leaves. Cut it into rectangle (about 15x25 cm) and clean it with damp kitchen towel.
  8. Place about 2-3 tbs cooked rice in the middle of the leaves and press it until flattened. 
  9. Place about 1/2- 1 tbs filling in the middle of the rice. 
  10. Using the leaves, roll and fold the rice to cover the filling carefully. Be careful not to break the leaves.
  11. Roll the leaves to wrap the rice and shape it like a cylinder. 
  12. Close both of the end of the cylinder by tucking and folding it nicely to prevent the rice leaking during the steaming process.
  13. Secure it with staples or with tooth pick or with small wood or bamboo stick.
  14. Repeat this process with the rest of the rice and the filling.
  15. Put all those nicely wrapped rice into the preheated steamer.
  16. Steam it for about 1 hour.
  17. Turn off the heat serve it hot. 

Tip : If you are living in a place where it is difficult to get banana leaves or in a place where banana leaves is quite pricey like in my place, you can always combine banana leaves with baking paper for wrapping the rice. Cut baking paper big enough to wrap and roll the rice. Place smaller banana leaves on the top of the baking paper. Put the rice and the filling on the top of it and start to roll the rice like as usual. 

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  1. Makasih udah ikutan ya Mbak...:D...udah lama banget ga makan lontong..heheheh...sukses Mbak :D

    1. Terima kasih :) Senang bisa ikut berpartisipasi.