This may be served wrapped in individual packets, or molded into the cone shape favored for special occasions in Indonesia.
1 kg/2 lb/5 cups long grain rice
5 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 large onions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
15 green cardamom pods, bruised
10 whole cloves
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 teaspoons salt
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
2 stems lemon grass, bruised
2 fresh, frozen or dried pandan leaves
2 x 400 ml/14 fl oz cans coconut milk
1 litre/2 pints/4 cups hot water
Wash and drain the rice, leave to dry for at least 30 minutes. Heat ghee in a large, heavy saucepan and fry the onion until golden. Add whole spices, ground turmeric, salt, curry leaves, lemon grass and pandan leaves. Stir over heat for 30 seconds. Add rice and fry, stirring with a metal spoon, until rice is coated with ghee and turmeric.
In a large jug dilute coconut milk with measured hot water and stir to disperse any lumps of coconut cream. Add to pan and stir while it comes to the boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover with a well-fitting lid and cook for 20 minutes without lifting lid. Turn off heat, leave for a further 5 minutes, then uncover and pick out spices which will be resting on top of the rice. Fluff rice lightly with a fork. Serve hot with curries and sambals.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)