Sunday, 28 July 2013

Pulut Inti (Glutinous rice with filling)

Although this kuih is easy to make, it does require some early planning. Pulut means glutinous rice in Malay. Pulut inti is more about the assembly rather than the individual components. Sweet coconut on a bed of glutinous rice, wrapped in banana leaf (check out your oriental supermarket for these, but if you can't get any, some clear plastic sheets should be a reasonable replacement).

1 cup of glutinous rice
1 cup of freshly grated coconut. Alternatively, use the same amount of dried desiccated coconut
1 heaped tablespoon of dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of grated palm sugar
Salt to taste
Coconut milk, optional
Banana leaves

Soak the glutinous rice in some water overnight. Drain the water, place rice in a steamer and steam for 30 minutes. If you wish to, you could add some coconut milk to the rice while it steams, but it's just as good without, so I didn't. Season the rice with salt, leaving it to be noticeably salty without going overboard. The rice will need another 20-30 minutes to cook. Make sure the steamer doesn't run out of water!

To make the inti (filling), place the coconut and sugars in a saucepan, pour half a cup of water and warm it gently until the contents start simmering, stirring occasionally. When the sugar is dissolved into syrup and absorbed by the coconut, take it off the heat.

Now we assemble the kuih by shaping a table spoon of warm glutinous rice into a flat, 2 cm thick slab on the centre of a piece of banana leaf. Some prefer to use the top part of the leaf (darker colour) while others prefer the underside (waxy) to be in contact  with their food. I tried both and found that the leaves are more pliable when you do the latter, and the end result looks better too. Place a teaspoon or two of the sweet coconut filling on the rice. Fold each side inwards, then tuck the extras under. Enjoy them warm or take them along on a picnic. This recipe should make 8-10 pieces.

Tip: Work on the rice while they are still warm. They are less malleable when cold, so if the rice cools before you are finished, put them back on the steamer for a few minutes.

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