Lemang cooked in pitcher plant favourite appetiser during Aidilfitri [NSTTV]

Julia Fiona and Nor Afzan Mohamad Yusof

SELAYANG: Its delicious aroma, creamy, fluffy and soft texture are among the main factors why 'lemang periuk kera' are popular, especially during and after Aidilfitri.

Rogayah Mohamed, 53, who is also known as ‘Cik Yah Lemang Periuk Kera’, said the demand for her glutinous rice, steamed in the cupped leaf or pitcher plants, increases during Syawal, the month after Ramadan, when people starts to organise open houses.

From the usual orders of between 20 to 30 kilograms, during Syawal, she said bookings could reached up to 90 kilograms.


Rogayah Mohamed, 53, who is also known as ‘Cik Yah Lemang Periuk Kera’, said the demand for her glutinous rice, steamed in the cupped leaf or pitcher plants, increases during Syawal, the month after Ramadan, when people starts to organise open houses. Piv by NSTP/ROSDAN WAHID

“It is the unique shape of the pitcher plant that makes people curious. They want to have a taste of it,” she said when met at her home at the Orang Asli Village in Bukit Lagong.

Although there are several species of pitcher plants in Malaysia, only the Nepenthes species is certified safe for consumption and to prepare the 'lemang periuk kera'.

Rogayah said she learnt the skill to cook by using pitcher plant during her days with Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) in 1994.


Pic by NSTP/ROSDAN WAHID

“Orang Asli uses pitcher plant to cook their rice and other meals, so I tried to be innovative by trying it out with glutinous rice mix with coconut milk and called it 'lemang periuk kera'.

"I got the idea when I joined the Orang Asli community cooking in the jungle. I never knew that we can cook rice using the pitcher plant.

"When I first started, I shared my cooking with my family and friends. Not long after that, I started to get orders from other people," said Rogayah who had been doing this for the past 13 years.


Pic by NSTP/ROSDAN WAHID

Her husband, Mohd Sharbi Burok, 56 and her six children, aged between 19 to 32, also helped out in the business.

Rogayah said she got her steady supply of fresh pitcher plants from nearby forest and her Orang Asli friends in Pahang and Johor.

Through her company, Nuna Shahbi Enterprise, which was set up four years ago, she was able to expand her business by selling her products in Ramadan bazaars and farmers’ markets.

Now, with the help of her daughters, she is trying to dabble in online marketing for wider customer reach.

“My youngest daughter is an expert in making the glutinous rice, my second daughter is focusing more on social media and taking orders from there." she said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd