Lemper Ayam (Banana Leaf Parcels)

Add a Southeast Asian flavour to your barbecue this summer with Nancy Lam's tasty banana leaf-wrapped chicken rice parcels
By Nancy Lam
Lemper Ayam (Banana Leaf Parcels)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 stalks lemongrass, chopped
  • 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cm galangal, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 300 g chicken breasts, finely cubed
  • 200 g coconut milk
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • black pepper

For the coconut rice:

  • 300 g glutinous rice
  • 200 ml water
  • 100 g coconut milk
  • 2 pandan (screwpine) leaves
  • 1 tsp salt


1. Using a food processor or a pestle and mortar, grind together the lemon grass, shallots, garlic, galangal, chillies, ground coriander and turmeric powder into a fine paste.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the lemon grass paste and fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

3. Add the chicken and mix well.

4. Pour in the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

5. Cook, stirring now and then, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from direct heat and set aside, removing the kaffir lime leaves.

6. Meanwhile, rinse the rice to wash out the excess starch. Place the rice in a heavy-based, non-stick saucepan.

7. Add the water, coconut milk, pandan leaves and salt. Cook the mixture until the liquid is reduced and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

8. Cut a washed banana leaf into eight 4cm x 4cm squares.

9. Place a portion of rice in the centre of each banana leaf, spreading it over the leaf.

10. Top the rice with some of the cooked chicken. Roll up the banana leaf over the filling, forming a neat parcel, and secure with a cocktail stick on either side of the filling.

11. Repeat the process making eight banana leaf parcels in all.

12. Grill the parcels on a barbecue until charred on both sides. Serve at once.

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