Early in the morning around six my brother in law would take his parang and basket out for bamboo cutting. By seven he would have cut some bamboo canisters. one whole bamboo could make about ten or fifteen cuttings or canisters. The small species make good canisters for lemang. The bigger and fatter species are usually used for cooking meat and vegetables. Pansur (cooking in bamboo) today has become quite a culinary art.
South western and South Eastern China and Taiwan and several other Pacific Islands also have the pansur culture.
This is my sister-in-law's longhouse fire pit for her lemang making. A metal sheet at a 70 degree recline with riverine rocks as base. Whenever she makes lemang she will cut a young banan stem to form the base for her bamboo canisters. A young banana stem does not burn easily so it would prevent the bamboo canisters from catching fire. The metal sheet will also stabilize the heat and thus the lemang (rice) cooks evenly.
Always fill half of the bamboo canister with coconut milk and then add glutinous rice. When the coconut milk reaches the top like this the bamboo canister is properly filled and the lemang which comes out later will be of perfect texture. If you like your lemang harder you can add just a little more rice. This is the petua from old people and I never find a badly prepared lemang using measurement like this.
Pandan leaves act as stoppers and give the lemang a great fragrance.
You have the turn the bamboo every now and then. When the bamboo stops spitting water out and the pandan has wilted the lemang is ready. The fire should be well tended.
So cooking lemang in the backyard is truly an art and a test of your patience and skill. Each grain of lemang is actually a "fruit of love" because so much work is put into it.
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