The Facts About Ketupat from Malay’s Kitchen

Ketupat is a type of food specially made during Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

In Malaysia, there are two type of ketupat named, ketupat nasi and ketupat palas.

The difference between ketupat nasi and ketupat palas

Traditionally, ketupat nasi is a rice-based that is wrapped in the young coconut leaves.

While ketupat palas is a glutinous rice-based wrapped in the leaves of pokok palas (fan palm leaves).

So, how we want to differentiate between this two?

Well, it comes from the shell shape of the ketupat or we called here as kelongsong ketupat.

The ketupat nasi has diamond shape while the ketupat palas has triangle shape.

Ketupat Nasi During Hari Raya Aidilifitri
Ketupat Nasi after 4 hours cook in boiling water.
Ketupat Palas During Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Ketupat Palas use leaves to cook glutinous rice.
Daun Ketupat Palas Before Woven
This is daun palas before woven into ketupat.

As I mention the ingredient also differed.

Usually, ketupat nasi is famous in the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia (Johor) while ketupat palas is common in the northern and east of Peninsular Malaysia such as in Kedah and Kelantan.

Now, ketupat come in modern form which is ketupat in small plastic bag.

When we eat

Ketupat is one of the main dishes that must have in the menu during the Eid Al-Fitr here in Malaysia besides than lemang and lontong.

However, the origin of ketupat is mentioned to be originate from Java which were introduced by Sunan Kalijaga.

He is one of the renowned Islamic personalities during 15th-16th Century in Java.

He introduced two term that shaped how the Muslim in this archipelago celebrate the Eid Al-Fitr.

The two terms are Bakda Lebaran and Bakda Kupat.

Bakda Lebaran is referring to the celebration on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr.  

Meanwhile, Bakda Kupat referring to the celebration of the ketupat itself.

Ketupat Nasi

Ketupat nasi is wrapped in young coconut leaves. The selected leaves require two leaves that are long enough and has a width of 3-5 cm.

The size of leaves affecting the resulting ketupat.

In addition to the right size, making ketupat requires young coconut leaves that are taken from the top of the coconut tree.


This is because young coconut leaves are easily flexible and can form shapes, meanwhile old coconut leaves have a rigid texture and thus can easily break apart.

Woven Ketupat Using Young Coconut Leaves
This is kelongsong Ketupat Nasi that woven using young coconut leaves.

Not only that, the colour of the young leaves is also yellowish thus, after cooking it will turn brownish giving fresh and appetising look.

While the colour of old coconut leaves looks pale make it less appealing after cooking.

After the webbing process is completed, the next process is to fill the kelongsong with washed rice.

One must be careful while filling the rice and must ensure it only one-third full.

If we filled the kelongsong full then the ketupat will burst while cooking.

Ketupat is then immersed in water until completely soaked and boiled.

I cook ketupat for four hours in boiling water.

For the first hour, I must change the water. This is important to do because I want to make sure the kelongsong look natural after cooking and the colour of the rice is white inside.

I cooked the remaining three hours with the new water.

After four hour of cooking, ketupat nasi is then hung up to dry and to  prevent it from deteriorate.

How we eat ketupat nasi?

Well, you can not directly eat the ketupat nasi right after it cooked. You must wait it cool for at least one and half hour before you can cut it.

What happened if we cut right after cook? The kelongsong will then loose and the rice will be scattered.

At my home we usually wait before  cut into cube and remove the leaves to be served with sayur lemak lodeh.

Sayur lemak lodeh is a side dish made with mix vegetables such as  carrot, long bean, cabbage, tofu and tempeh cook with coconut milk until the vegetable soften or it Malay we called it as lodeh.

To direct translate the meaning of the above dish, sayur means vegetables, lemak means come from the creamy coconut milk and lodeh means soften.

Another side dish that we can eat together with ketupat nasi is kuah kacang or peanut sauce. The peanut sauce must be sweet enough to complement the taste of the ketupat.

Other dish that can eat with ketupat nasi such as satay, serunding and rendang.


Ketupat is a must have menu in the Malaysian dish during Hari Raya Aidilfitri that make celebration merrier.

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