It seems to me that in the Malay language, often, where rice is wrapped in leaves and cooked, they call it ketupat, not just the ones served with satay

Satay ketupat
*Archive photo*

However, these days, one can buy those sold in packs at the supermarkets to cook one’s own and they are wrapped in plastic, not leaves and I’ve noticed them being used at many satay stalls these days – they no longer wrap their own using leaves to cook and serve.

They also call the Chinese bak chang (meat dumplings) ketupat, or ketupat babi, to be more precise. They do make their own halal ones but the meat filling is, of course, chicken and I’ve had some pretty nice ones. I’ve stopped buying though as they use those nylon strings to tie them, the very same reason why I did not want to buy the kelupis

*Archive photo*

…that I saw the other day. They should go back to those straws, used traditionally…or switch to thread instead. Kelupis is also rice wrapped in leaves and cooked but it has its own special name and is not called ketupat.

My mother used to make these ketupat pulut

Ketupat pulut 1

…or what some call ketupat daun palas after those fan palm leaves used to wrap them. She would go and buy those ready-made daun palas shells from the market, fill it with glutinous rice and cook in santan (coconut milk). I don’t know if they still sell those shells at the market anymore these days, not that I’ve noticed.

The other day, I asked the guy at the Malay kueh stall at Simpang Tiga if he had any good ones but he said no. However, the nice guy told me that the ones somewhere around the roundabout, about a hundred metres away, sold one or two days before Hari Raya every year, are to him, the best around here. That was why over the next few days, I went driving past, going round the roundabout to try and locate the stall.

Finally, on the eve of Hari Raya, I spotted it amidst all the stalls selling lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo) and I wasted no time in grabbing some to take home and enjoy. Normally, we will cut the ketupat in quarters or diagonally, to take out the pulut (glutinous rice) inside and eat but in this case, I cut along the sides to open…

Ketupat pulut

…for the “photo shoot”.

Yes, they were very nice, very lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk) and as in the case of the pulut panggang (Hey! That’s not called ketupat either), I would enjoy it with kaya (coconut jam)…

Ketupat pulut 3

…or condensed milk.

I wonder if the ones sold commercially at the supermarkets come anywhere close or not but I am somewhat reluctant to buy and cook and try as they are wrapped in plastic too, like the ones they give you with your satay, as I have no idea whatsoever what plastic they use and whether it is all right to boil it in water for such a long time.

I really must give special mention here to the fact that I was so very impressed by how the lady and her helpers, probably members of her family, at the stall that day were all so cheerful and so happy and when I had got what I wanted and paid for it, I wished them, “Selamat Hari Raya!” and they all greeted me in return, each and everyone of them, in the true Malaysian spirit even though quite obviously, I do not celebrate the festival.