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 (soaked overnight)
  • 3 kg coconut milk (add in 2 tsp salt)
  • 500 g black-eyed beans (soaked and pre-cooked until soft) – optional
  • Palas (Licuala palm leaves)


  1. Wash the uncooked glutinous rice with running water until it is clean and soak overnight. When ready, drain the glutinous rice and set aside.
  2. Heat on medium flame, simmers the coconut milk with a little salt in a large pot.
  3. Add the glutinous rice, stirring continuously for about 20 minutes until the rice is half cooked. For extra bite and flavour, add boiled black-eyed beans to the mixture and stir. Set aside and leave to cool.
  4. Take a small portion of the semi-cooked glutinous rice and place it in the centre of a palm fronds. Weave the frond into a triangular shape and secure the parcel with a knot on the top (search YouTube for tutorials).
  5. Immerse the wrapped rice into a vat of boiling water, cooked it about 1-2 hours on low heat). Cooked glutinous rice is usually quite soft when pressed.
  6. Drain and let it cool down for several hours before serving.

Ketupat © Adrian Cheah

Ketupat can also be filled with black glutinous rice. For this, I would recommend using a mixture of black and white glutinous rice. Soak them together and you should have a lovely shade of burgundy. Adding some white glutinous rice will soften the texture of the rice. Some will add red beans to the ketupat 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 or with some sugar.

Ketupat daun palas is available at the month-long Ramadhan bazaar throughout Penang, frozen ones at supermarkets or online.

Written by Raja Abdul Razak
Photographed by Adrian Cheah © All rights reserved
Updated 25 May 2022