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Kralan, Cambodian bamboo rice cake

Kralan, Cambodian bamboo rice cake.

Three days back I had asked on Facebook about the photo shown below.
The responses were quite interesting. Ranging from a smoking pipe, cow poo to a spider, they made me laugh and of course worried. For a moment I wanted to stab myself for asking our driver to stop midway to buy these. Come on, I had eaten bambooful of this dish!
I am pretty sure some people referred to Google as well because they answered correctly. 😀

Packed food, ready to eat.

Okay, here is the answer. It is a traditional Cambodian rice dish cooked in a bamboo.
Known as Kralan (in Cambodian) or Khao lam (Thai: ข้าวหลาม, Lao: ເຂົ້າຫລາມ), it is a Southeast Asian food often described as a cake. Ignorant people like us call it rice cake. 🙂
Kralan is a delicious traditional cake food in Khmer cuisine, and is influenced by Thailand, Vietnam, India and China and especially popular in Siem Reap region.

It is made of steamed rice mixed with black beans or peas, grated coconut and coconut milk. The mixture is packed inside a bamboo stick, mouth is closed with leaves stuffed. Then it is slowly roasted over fire until cooked.

This is how it is opened.

The traditional or actual way of cooking Kralan is to bury them underground and cook but that takes time and these days people prefer to cook them over fire.

With little burnt aroma, it tastes so yummy.

In Cambodia, Kralan cake is often made and eaten around Chinese New Year and Khmer New Year. With Chinese New Year approaching, no wonder I saw tens of Kralan sellers on the road.
Note- All the information is provided by our driver. Kralan is bought, photographed and eaten by me. 😀

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14 thoughts on “Kralan, Cambodian bamboo rice cake”

  1. Very interesting though I had a faint idea about this kind of food. In kerala “Puttu” is prepared in a similar way but these days they use utensils. The ingredients are stuffed into a metal pipe which is placed over a pot filled with water. Its then heated. No roasting as such. It seems we may improvise and end up with some thing delicious.

  2. I have a Malyali friend who does some similar dish with riceflour,coconut and some stuff cooked in a Bamboo cylinder. Serves the cooked stuff with some yummy black chana concoction. Only thing is they dont tear off the sides of bamboo like this before eating. Those who dont live in the vicinity of bamboos, have a copied contraption in steel.

  3. If it’s like our Puttu, it must be nice!! (Like the R.K.Narayan story, where his school teacher went “A” for Apple pie. When someone asked, “Sir, what is apple pie” A short pause and then, “It must be like our Idli”)

  4. Just finished reading and looking at the great pics on your latest post- unfortunately the comments were set to OFF- so I was not able to comment there. I’ve come here to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed the pics- and the reminders of where you have been throughout the past year. Also, boy can I sympathize with the whole Pneumonia thing- as I also had pneumonia in 2011 while I was traveling and didn’t realize it until I was almost DEAD! ha ha! oh me- what will we do with each other? Any chance of you coming to Seattle for 2012??

  5. Mmm lovely, can’t wait to see more delicious posts. I am an avid follower of food blogs, and love to try new things. My small island of Malta is very up and coming when it comes to cuisine. There’s something for everyone, even for those with acquired tastes.

    Keep up the blogging! 🙂

  6. Hi NISHA.
    yOu did a good job.. it looks interesting , just letting you know i will borow one of your picture as one of the related literature to my thesis on NIlotlot bingala food process of Manobo tribe in Mindanao which is doing the bamboo cooking.

    thank you


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