Malaysian Food · December 7, 2021

burasak feature

Burasak: The Rice Dumpling of The Bugis Diaspora in Malaysia

Burasak: The Rice Dumpling of The Bugis Diaspora in Malaysia

Burasak (also burasa or buras) is a rice dumpling from Malaysia that encapsulates the rich flavours of coconut milk, packed inside a banana leaf pouch. It is similar to lontong, but with richer flavour acquired from coconut milk. It is a delicacy of the Bugis and Makassar people of Indonesia that found its way into the Bugis diaspora in the Malaysian states of Johor, Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, and Sarawak.

Burasak is made by steaming the rice until half-cooked, then cooking further in coconut milk mixed with daun salam (Indonesian bay leaf) and salt until all of the coconut milk is absorbed into the rice. Then the half-cooked coconut milk rice is wrapped inside young banana leaves, and then wrapped again with older banana leaves in cylindrical or pillow shapes, secured with strings made from banana leaf fibers (or any kind of string). Usually, two to three cylinders of burasak are tied together as one. The rice packages are then steamed further until completely cooked. While the preparation may seem simple, the entire process requires several hours to achieve the desired texture, stability, and longevity. In fact, properly cooked burasak can last for approximately five days without the need for refrigeration.

Burasak can turn simple ingredients into a delicious dish like pairing it with a tasty dish of galangal-braised chicken (ayam masak lengkuas in Malay or likku/lekku in Buginese).

Burasak holds importance in various situations. It’s commonly made for those going on long journeys, offering them a convenient and nourishing meal away from home. This dish also takes the spotlight during special festivals like Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha.