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Saturday, October 13, 2007

OUR CULINARY GEMS: The Ketupat

Ketupat is a traditional form of cooking rice mainly done in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines. It mainly caters to people on the go because it is easy to carry and most of all – it has become an auspicious symbol of celebration especially in the Muslim festivities of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Palm leaves are weaved into small pouches, pour rice grains in it and sealed before cooking. The method looks like one heck of a job but these are done by professionals! It is then boiled making the rice expand into a compact rice cake or similar to a rice dumpling.

There are many kinds of Ketupat and the method of cooking varies by region – the Malays cook it with pandanus leaves, the Cebuanos (in the Philippines) cook it in plain water, and the Indonesians usually do it with a little coconut milk and some mild spices. Filipinos call it “Puso”, referring ot its shape like a heart.

Ketupat or Puso are eaten with rich stews and the most famous of its gastronomic partner – the Satay. But I prefer to eat it with Rendang, simply awesome!


Ketupat is distinctly Southeast Asian and this ancient art of cooking should be preserved.

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19 Comments:

Don said...

when i was younger, we used eat 'puso' on the beach and pair it with kebabs.. yum! no mess and easy to dispose. =)

Carlos Javier said...

Hey you know this Pisanu! And you're right. Here in the Philippines I too have never seen the 'puso' outside of the Cebuano-speaking regions.

Anyway, here it is usually eaten with barbecued beef or [more commonly] pork too! Its sort of regarded common man's fast-food here [thus my surprise at your awareness, LOL] but I actually like eating this, especially after a night out.

BTW, thanks for the Beef Rendang recipe, I missed eating that dish, so I printed it out! Woot! :)

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Carlos...remember our trip to the city of golden friendship? we had a blast! and i carried 1 puso with me in my bag all the way back to bangkok. we found it in a local fried chicken house...I can't remember the name. Maybe don can help?

@ Don...dude, whats that fried chicken house in your city with this ketupat?

Anonymous said...

Selamat Hari Raya to you too.

Don said...

@Pisanu.. LoL.. it's JRJ! right now i think they have 20+ outlets scattered all over the city as well as the suburbs..to think they started selling chicken from pushcarts

Carlos Javier said...

Oh yeah! You were in CDO... And also Cebu. LOL. But in my experience this isn't served outside the working-class eateries, the 'carinderias.'

Been to CDO just once, and I remember eating at Butcher's Best.. and P.Joe's. I'm quite sure P.Joe's doesn't serve puso though.

But anyhow, its cool that you observe even the details of stuff like this Pisanu. You're like a real journalist. You know, like those people that make Nat Geo.

eyron said...

here in luzon or in the kapampangan/tagalog speaking region we called it 'talolo' 'balusungsong' 'balisungsong' but instead of the palm leaves we used the banana leaf

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Eyron...dude, that's another kind of food preparation. What you're referring to is more of desserts like "suman" of Manila. We'll feature those too, food wrapped in banana leaves.

Q The Conqueror said...

LOL. It's found in the Satti (Corrupted version of Satay) Houses of Zamboanga, Sulu and Basilan as well. Really love it :). Its actually difficult for me to imagine eating Satti without the ketupat.

On another note, you can actually find some places serving it here in Manila, although its kinda difficult to find.

eyron said...

@pisanu: nope, 'suman' is another kind. this is just a plain rice it is usually served during 'fiestas' or big occasion. if i only have pictures...

jellygene said...

I think the "puso" you are referring to should actually be spelled as "puto". Puto is a steamed glutinous cake made from rice flour wrapped in either woven palm fronds or banana leaves while being cooked. I hope my fellow Filipinos will agree with my observation. I frankly haven't heard of "puso" made from rice.

Carlos Javier said...

@ jellygene: Nope, the 'puto' made from glutinous cake you refer to is another thing altogether.

'Puso' [pronounced "poo-sô"] is as Pisanu describes it and like in the photo up there, except that the ones I always see in the Philippines are kinda more triangular in shape, like in this photo HERE). Its just plain rice wrapped in coconut leaves and then cooked.

Trust me, i'm half-Bisaya. :)

Lea said...

jellygene, it's correct. it's called "puso". and yes, it's commonly found in beaches in Visayas and Mindanao...and in barbecue stalls in cebu and cdo. :)

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

THIS IS BLOGGING AT IT'S FINEST! This is how it should be. We learn from each other. Thanks for all the inputs...

@ Jelly...dude! Please don't make me think I know more about your country that you actually do! LOL. Just kidding. I know "puto" too. I used to marry a Filipina from Laguna province south of Manila.

@ Q...dude, you are making me "ticklish" when you leave a comment about your region of Zamboanga. You make me wanna go there en seguida to see it again!

@ Carlos, Don and Lea, you guys rock! South Philippines rule! Woohoo!

JOSH said...

suman, puso or not... i like to eat those things! :)

aries said...

this what i eat together with my barbecue every friday...

some people call this "hanging rice"

jellygene said...

@ Carlos and Lea: Thanks for the enlightening "food trip". I'm based in Iloilo but I haven't seen "puso" in this part of our country. It's ironic that "suman" in the Luzon area is actually referred to as "ibus" [pronounced "EE-bus"] here in Iloilo. But there's also a "suman" dish served here in Western Visayas also made of glutinous rice but cooked with coconut milk and muscovado or brown sugar.

@ Pisanu: No hard feelings. Point well taken. Thanks for cooking up this food section. May I suggest more rice dishes topics from the various Southeast Asian countries for future entries? The variations within each country and region are interesting.

Carlos Javier said...

@ jellygene: Hello there! yeah, I've also noticed that Ilonggos don't eat 'puso.' Just the Cebuanos and the Cebuano-speakers. Next time you're in those areas, try mo! Heheh.

Yay! I tried "suman latek" na rin in Lilo. Yum! I loved it! :)

Reyville of Simply Manila said...

I remember my father giving me this when I was young. Though it's just cooked in plain water, as you exactly say it, they smell good and taste better than the usual steamed rice.

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