Lemang, but with a twist

Innovative: Mohd Ibrahim uses special clay urns to cook his lemang which he sells from his stall on Jalan Permatang Pauh. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

BUTTERWORTH: Lemang, which is glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk in bamboo, is traditionally served at Hari Raya.

However, chef Mohd Ibrahim Dahman, 34, has put his culinary skills to good use and created four variations of his grandfather’s recipe.

His lemang with grilled beef, minced chicken, minced fish and traditional lemang are cooked in large urns over a fire.

“Its base is a family recipe, but as a chef, I enjoy experimenting and have come up with four different types of lemang.

“To add flavour, I cook them in a tempayan, which gives the lemang a nice smell and taste.

“It is cooked over a low fire for about two hours to ensure it is tasty and has a soft texture,” he said.

Mohd Ibrahim, who has a stall on Jalan Permatang Pauh in Seberang Prai, said lemang is all about the coconut milk and glutinous rice.

“I use a high-end product because quality is important to me. I would rather spend more to get the right taste and flavour.

“The twist is the filling, which many do not expect. I have a group of people to test my food before introducing it to customers,” he said.

Mohd Ibrahim, who used to have a catering business, said he would usually start selling lemang two weeks ahead of Hari Raya and for another three weeks after for open houses.

He uses two urns to cook 43 lemang at one time.

“I am open every day and usually start cooking at around 8am and start selling by 11am. My stall is open till midnight.

“I start with a few batches first and if sales are good, I do more as I want to ensure my lemang is fresh.

“I usually sell between 60 and 100 lemang per day based on demand,” he said.

Mohd Ibrahim said he will be taking three days off during Raya to meet orders for open houses.

“During the pandemic, I only offered delivery services. But now that I can operate my stall, things are different.

“This time business has been great and I hope to sell 1,000 lemang on the eve of Raya.

“Post-Raya, I will be selling durians because the season is about to begin.

“Many do not realise that lemang and durian go great together, and I will be selling both so customers can enjoy their lemang with the king of fruits,” he said.

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