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Home / All Recipes / Indonesian / Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

Last updated: Feb 13, 2019 — Published: Nov 3, 2013 — By: Anita — 36 comments

How to cook lemper, Indonesian snack consists of steamed sticky rice with spiced chicken floss filling, with an easy method to assemble lemper.

Lemper ayam is an Indonesian snack consists of steamed glutinous rice filled with spiced chicken floss, and typically wrapped in banana leaves. I think of lemper as Indonesian version of onigiri, except of course we don’t eat the banana leaves, just the rice and the filling. And if I have to choose between the two, I will always choose lemper.

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

What is lemper ayam?

Lemper ayam is basically a steamed glutinous rice/sticky rice snack with chicken floss (or other savory) filling, and typically wrapped in banana leaves. As such, there are two components in any lemper making endeavor:

  • sticky rice/glutinous rice (Indonesian: beras ketan) The sticky rice component stays the same regardless of which filling you make, so once you master this recipe, you can go wild and experiment with other filling.
  • meat filling The most common filling for lemper is undoubtedly spiced chicken floss, and since Indonesian for chicken is ayam, we call this particular combo lemper ayam.

This lemper ayam recipe does call for a long list of ingredients, but it is actually very easy to cook the two parts that make up of a typical lemper:

  1. Steam the sticky/glutinous rice with salt, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, daun salam, and pandan leaves.
  2. Poach, shred, and fry the chicken (or other meat of your choice) with all the listed spices.

Once you are done preparing the sticky rice and the meat filling, the next step is assembling the lemper.

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

How to assemble lemper, the traditional way

The traditional way to assemble a lemper is by taking a handful of steamed sticky rice/glutinous rice, place some meat filling at the center, enclose the meat witht the rice, then wrap the whole thing in banana leaves. And repeat until all the steamed rice and/or meat filling is used up.

Sounds complicated and tedious? Well, let me tell you how I do it at home because it is so dead simple compared to the traditional way.

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

A much easier way to assemble lemper

Instead of all the complicated steps that I just mentioned, here is how I assemble my lemper, which I guarantee is exceedingly easy.

First, grab an 8” square cake pan, line with saran plastic (with overhangs!).

Next, spread half of the steamed sticky rice on the pan and press into an even layer.

Then, spread all the spiced chicken floss on top and press again into an even layer.

And finally, spread and press the remaining half of the sticky rice on top of the chicken layer.

Done!

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

Serving the lemper

When you want to serve the lemper, grab the saran plastic overhang to remove the rice/meat assembly from the pan. With an oiled knife (or better yet, a plastic knife), cut into serving sizes.

If you want big portions, then 2x4 (8 pieces) is the way to go. I usually cut it into 3x5 (15 pieces) since I think this size is closest to what I find in Indonesia. Or, if you prefer squares, you can do 3x3 (9 pieces) or 4x4 (16 pieces).

Whichever way you choose to cut, I think a pot of hot tea will go down nicely with lemper for tea time.

Lemper Ayam - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Spiced Chicken Floss

5.0 from 16 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories: Snack

Cuisine: Indonesian

Ingredients: Chicken Rice

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 gram white glutinous rice (Indonesian: beras ketan putih), soak for 4 hours or overnight
  • 225 ml coconut milk (Indonesian: santan)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 4 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 2 pandan leaves (Indonesian: daun pandan), knotted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 250 gram boneless skinless chicken breast (Indonesian: daging dada ayam)
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 50 gram shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Indonsian: bawang putih)
  • 3 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri), optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (Indonesian: biji ketumbar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (Indonesian: biji jinten)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind + 3 tablespoon water, seeds and pulp removed
  • 125 ml coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon sugar

Instructions

  • Glutinous rice
    1. Prepare a steamer over medium high heat. Place rice in a steamed proof bowl and steam for 15 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, place coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, pandan leaves, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the steamed glutinous rice into the pot and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
    3. Remove the rice and return into the steaming bowl. Steam for another 30 minutes until the rice is fully cooked. Stir and discard all the leaves. Keep warm.
  • Spiced chicken floss
    1. Boil the chicken breast until cooked. Drain, tear into really small pieces like how chicken floss should be, and set aside.
    2. Grind shallots, garlic, candlenuts, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds into a fine paste.
    3. Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté the spice paste until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
    4. Add kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, tamarind liquid, and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
    5. Add the chicken into the pan, season with salt and sugar. Stir and cook until all the liquid is fully absorbed by the chicken. The chicken floss needs to be dry. Remove from heat, discard the leaves, and set aside.
  • Assemble the lemper (option 1)
    1. Oil a square baking pan (mine is an 8 inch x 8 inch x 2 inch) so the lemper can be easily removed.
    2. Take half of the glutinous rice, spread evenly and press. Add all the chicken floss, spread evenly, and press again. Take another half of the rice, spread evenly, and press again.
    3. Cover the baking pan with a cutting board (this should be bigger than the pan), flip, and use an oiled knife to cut into individual portions. You can cut into squares (3x3 or 4x4), or into rectangles (2x4 or 3x5). Serve immediately.
  • Assemble the lemper (option 2)
    1. Line a square baking pan (mine is an 8 inch x 8 inch x 2 inch) with saran plastic with enough overhang so the lemper can be easily removed.
    2. Take half of the glutinous rice, spread evenly and press. Add all the chicken floss, spread evenly, and press again. Take another half of the rice, spread evenly, and press again.
    3. Grab the sran plastic overhang and remove from the pan. Use an oiled knife to cut into individual portions. You can cut into squares (3x3 or 4x4), or into rectangles (2x4 or 3x5). Serve immediately.