KOTA BARU: Who would have thought ketupat Bachok, a fried version of ketupat palas (glutinous rice packed into a pouch made from fan palm leaves) would travel as far as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Egypt?
With almost 20 years of experience in making and packing the ketupat, Salmiah Ismail, 43, has received orders not only during the festive season, but from those seeking to send it to their children living abroad.
“Just yesterday, a couple placed orders for their children in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Egypt, ” she said, adding that the fried ketupat could last for two weeks.
“Usually, ketupat daun palas is boiled or steamed but we fry it.
“We had orders for more than 5, 000 pieces during Aidilfitri and almost 3, 000 for the recent Aidiladha celebrations, ” she said at Kampung Sri Kulim Melor.
Salmiah’s job is made easier, thanks to her husband Mohd Faris Ab Rahman, 47, who is in charge of mixing the steamed glutinous rice with coconut milk and sugar.
Salmiah said mixing the glutinous rice requires a great deal of strength, and the rice must be steamed twice or more, for about an hour each time.
After the glutinous rice mixture is cooled and filled into the daun palas casings, they are deep fried for five to 10 minutes, she said.
Salmiah first dabbled in the business by taking up the task of wrapping the ketupat from her mother-in-law, Mariam Jaafar, 64, known as Mok Jah in Kampung Kubang Golok, Bachok two decades ago.
“This fried ketupat is also called ketupat Bachok.
“I used to help my late mother prepare them when I was a teen, while my mother-in-law is good at making ketupat pulut.
“When I moved to Melor, I decided to do it on my own.”
“My mother-in-law also receives large orders in Bachok.
“She prepared 14, 000 pieces during the last Hari Raya where she provided the filling and hired workers to wrap them, ” she said.
Salmiah said there were two types of ketupat daun palas – the “male” and “female” versions.
“Our specialty is the female version, which is more neat – unlike the easily available male version in the market, ” she said.
She said the difference between hers and those found in the markets is that her ketupat is softer and delicious because they are fried, larger in size, do not go easily stale and can be frozen but they must be pre-ordered.
“The preparation is meticulous. You have to rinse the glutinous rice numerous times until the water is clear, steam it for a long time and only use fresh coconut milk.
“The price is between RM1 and RM1.30 per piece.
“It is to be enjoyed with serunding (chicken/beef floss) or nuts. It is usually sold for RM1.60 each elsewhere, ” she said. — Bernama