Pulut Udang Medan Recipe (Medan Shrimp Rolls)

Pulut Panggang

When the Javanese adores lemper and the Manadonese loves lalampa, Medan has pulut udang.

For those who know about Nyonya or Peranakan food will recognize this pulut udang.  Medan is very famous with its pulut udang.  Just like in Malaysia and Singapore, Medan (located on Sumatra island) calls sticky rice as pulut.  Since I grew up in Java, I’ve known sticky rice as ketan.

Medan is a city that has a rich heritage of  Chinese, Malay and Indian as well as a place where you can count for its food hawkers in Indonesia beside Jakarta, Bandung, Malang, Surabaya, Makassar and Manado.  I don’t have a much memory of Medan as I first visited it when I was 2 years old, then the second visit when I was 9 or 10 years old.  The last visit was on December 2000 and the most memorable when I got to know more about my extended paternal family and traveled to other small towns in North Sumatra, Sibolga and Barus.  I didn’t recall the name of a small island that close to Barus where I saw a baby shark for the first time when I was swimming in the ocean.  Also, I tasted the freshest coconut water and ocean fish ever.  The tastiest fish gulai that was made by my extended family with ample of fresh coconut milk.  However, there was one thing that ruined my holiday at that time.  I had a bad stomach ache due to my unlimited durian consumption as Medan is known for a cheap and yummy durian in the country.

Back to Medan culinary, here is a recipe of Pulut Udang that I got from The Best Indonesian Dessert Cookbook by Yasaboga. This book was published in Indonesian and English. I have the English one. From the recipe, I twisted a bit by adding lemongrass and pandan leaves in boiling coconut milk to fragrance the pulut.

In this post, I’d like to greet all Muslim readers “Eid Mubarak, Happy Eid ul-Fitr”. I don’t mean to say this late greeting, but some circumstances have made me away for a while to blog :).

Pulut Udang Medan
- Medan Shrimp Rolls -
yield: 16 – 18 rolls

Ingredients:
500 grams (1.1 lbs)  sticky (glutinous) rice
1 lemongrass
1 pandan leaf
175 milliliter (5.9 fl. oz.) medium coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:
250 grams (8.8 oz) peeled shrimps (I used pink shrimps), chopped
100 grams (3.5 oz) fresh or frozen grated coconut
100 milliliter (3.4 fl oz) water
4 kaffir lime leaves, discard the midrib and chop
1 turmeric leaf, discard the midrib and chop

Spices to be pounded or ground:
5 shallots
2 cloves garlic
5 long red cayenne pepper
2-centimeter (0.8-inch) long turmeric, peeled (or 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder)
3-centimeter (1.2-inches) long ginger, peeled (or 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
5-centimeter (2 inches) long galangal, peeled (or 2 teaspoons galangal powder)
1 tablespoon ground lemongrass

Directions:
Filling:
Toast grated coconut until dry and pound until smooth. Grind or pound all spices for fillings. In a pan, combine ground spices, pounded toasted coconut and water. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until the water absorbs. Add chopped kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leaf. Season with salt. Stir well and remove from the heat. Let it cool down.

Shrimp Rolls:
1. Steam sticky rice for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring coconut milk, salt, pandan leaf and lemongrass to a boil. Let the mixture reduce to 125 milliliter. Then, combine a steamed sticky rice. Cook at a low heat and keep string until the coconut milk mixture is absorbed. Re-steam the coconut sticky rice mixture for another 15 minutes.

2. Level about 3-5 tablespoons steamed coconut sticky rice on a 15-centimeter sheet of banana leaf. Place on 1 tablespoon filling on the center. Roll it up tightly with a diameter of 2-centimeter. Wrap and fasten both ends of banana leaf with a wooden toothpick. Repeat this step until all ingredients are used up.

3. Barbeque or roast the rolls on a charcoal grill until the leaves turn darker on some places. In this case, I used a broil method in the oven.

About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives on the Prairie land of Canada. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.