Kelemai & Other Rawa Dishes

After witnessing a cultural presentation of Adat Berjojak (berjejak tanah in standard Bahasa Malaysia) for toddlers before they are allowed to step on the ground, a ritual performed by the Rawa (Rao) community, we were ushered to see how kelemai is cooked.

kelemai Rawa
En. Johari shows the mixture of ingredients ready to be cooked

Kelemai is a traditional Rawa food that is similar to lemang, except that kelemai is cooked using different ingredients. Ingredients used in kelemai are rough-ground glutinous rice, liquid brown sugar and residue of cooking coconut oil.

kelemai Rawa
the three ingredients of rough-ground glutinous rice, liquid brown sugar (boiled) and residue from cooking coconut oil, in their original form and after being prepared for cooking

These ingredients are mixed together and marinated for three days before they are stuffed into specially prepared bamboo (aur). The shaved bamboos, 3/4 filled, are then placed over hot coals for eight hours. During the process, the bamboos should be constantly turned over the heat to ensure the contents inside are thoroughly cooked.

kelemai Rawa
En. Johari explains the correct way to prepare the bamboo

Superstitions to be observed are pretty obvious, such as don’t walk over the bamboo, or use your foot to kick the coals.

kelemai Rawa
En. Johari explaining the superstitions observed when kelemai is cooked

The amazing thing about kelemai is that it could be kept for a year or longer. Wow, isn’t that a long expiry date, without preservatives?

kelemai Rawa
asam daging (beef)

In this post, I have included other traditional dishes of the Rawa community, who make up 99% of the Malays in Gopeng.

kelemai Rawa
ayam masak lemak

Those interested in the ethnic culture and tradition of the Rawa community may do so at Homestay Gopeng. This homestay is well-known for its adventurous and outdoor programmes, such as whitewater rafting, caving and water abseiling.

kelemai Rawa
ikan bilis tempoyak

For further information, contact:

Pn. Noradidah Hj. Mokhtar
(Chairperson Homestay Perak / EXCO Homestay Malaysia)
Mobile: +6012-5060700

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With love

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