KUALA LUMPUR – Many people were unaware of ‘lemang periuk kera’ (glutinous rice cooked in pitcher plant leaves) before it became famous when featured on popular animation series, Upin dan Ipin.
The episode which aired in 2013, made it an instant hit, and brought the person – Noor Shafry Abd Malik, better known as Tan Shafry – who came up with the dish, into the limelight ever since.
Pitcher plants are of several different carnivorous plants with modified leaves known as pitfall traps in the shape of a pitcher – a prey-trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with digestive fluid.
According to Tan Shafry, the Nepenthes gracilis or Slender Pitcher Plant grew wild in cool places such as swamps in forests, and it was a painstaking and complicated process to collect the leaves and produce lemang periuk kera.
“There are 138 species of pitcher plants but not all can be used to make lemang as some of them are poisonous.
“This raises some concern among the public to enjoy lemang periuk kera. But the ones which I use are harmless, and I am very careful in the production of this lemang.”
Tan Shafry, 45, said this when met by Bernama during the Warna Warni Aidilfitri 2016 carnival held at the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, here, from June 22 to July 3.
On how he got the idea of making the dish, the father of two said he and his friend who is a doctor discovered the plant, which had similar traits to that of ikan haruan essence, at the Bukit Ibam Forest Reserve in Pahang.
“My friend told me that the people in Sabah cooked rice in pitcher plant leaves. That inspired me to try to cook glutinous rice in it. I tried nearly 10 times before I discovered the appropriate technique and recipe for making lemang periuk kera,” said the Puchong-based entrepreneur.
Tan Shafry said he often served the delicacy during Aidilfitri but started commercialising it in 2005. Since then, he required 100,000 to 150,000 pitcher plants to meet customers’ demand for the festive season.
He said a kilogramme of lemang periuk kera weighed with either beef or chicken rendang, was priced at RM40. – BERNAMA