Debbie's Indonesian Lemper

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“My cousin, who feels more like a sister to me, lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, for many years with her hubby and delightful daughters. When she makes Lemper the whole family comes running - kids, too! I have trouble shaping them, but work with it, you'll find your groove. No matter how they look, they're wonderfully tasty. In our opinion this MUST be served with sweet garlic sauce, such as Mae Ploy. You can sub macadamia nuts for the candlenuts, and for the kaffir lime leaves, maybe a teaspoon of lime zest and 1 bay leaf. I can't get banana leaves in my town. You can use corn husks, they work very well. YUMMY!”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Soak rice in water for 1 hour.
  2. Drain, then, in a saucepan, cook in coconut milk with salt until dry.
  3. Line a steamer with cheesecloth. Steam for 1/2 hour, or until fully cooked.
  4. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. Mash garlic and candlenuts into a paste. Put in a bowl and add coriander, cumin and brown sugar. Mix well.
  6. Sauté shallot in oil, add garlic paste, sauté. Add chicken, coconut milk and lime leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer until coconut milk is gone. Remove lime leaves and let cool.
  7. Once rice is finished steaming and cool enough to handle, take a 6” wide piece of banana leaf, run it over the stove flame until bright green and fragrant. Then pat 2 oz. of rice onto the center of banana leaf. Add 1 T of chicken mixture onto the center of the rice. Fold over so rice encases the chicken, fold in the sides and roll the rest of the leaf, into a tamale shape. Tie with a long thin piece of banana leaf. Set aside and hold cold until service.
  8. When ready to serve, Steam for about 5 minutes, turning half way through. Cut the tie, remove lemper and cut on the diagonal. Serve with your favorite hot sauce.
  9. If banana leaves aren’t available, you can use cornhusks, which have been soaked in hot water to encase the lemper. Then tie with string. Actually it’s much easier than the banana leaves!

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