Make your own ketupat daun palas (boiled rice wrapped in palm leaves)

Ketupat © Adrian Cheah

The most popular types of ketupat found in Malaysia are ketupat nasi (made with plain rice) and ketupat daun palas (made with glutinous rice). Both varieties are wrapped in palm leaves and then boiled in water until cooked. It is said that ketupat daun palas originated from the northern states – Penang, Kedah and Perlis while ketupat nasi is more popular in Perak.

Ketupat © Adrian Cheah

When I was growing up in Ipoh, ketupat nasi was served on the morning of the first day of Syawal just before the Raya prayers. Ketupat and rendang are usually the main dishes of any Hari Raya spread.

The following recipe is for ketupat daun palas:


  • 2.5 kg glutinous rice
  • 4 coconuts or 3 kg coconut milk
  • ½ kg uncooked groundnuts, boiled – optional
  • Palas (Licuala palm leaves)


  1. Wash uncooked glutinous rice until running water until clean. Transfer to colander and allow to dry.
  2. Heat coconut milk with a little salt in large pot or wok until it simmers.
  3. Add the glutinous rice and stir continuously until the rice is half cooked. For extra bite and flavour, add boiled peanuts to the mixture and stir. Leave to cool.
  4. Take a small portion of the cooled glutinous rice and place it in the centre of the palm fronds. Weave the fronds into a triangular shape.
  5. Immerse the wrapped rice into a vat of boiling water and leave until cooked. Cooked glutinous rice is usually quite soft when pressed.

Ketupat © Adrian Cheah

Ketupat can be filled with black glutinous rice too. Some will add red beans to the filling. 

Ketupat is usually served at room temperature with dried curry (rendang), beef floss (serunding daging) or other rich and spicy sauces. It is also tasty enough on its own.

Written by Raja Abdul Razak
Photographed by Adrian Cheah © All rights reserved