Friday, 5 August 2011

Muslims in Malaysia come together to cook "bubur lambuk"

KUALA LUMPUR: The Muslim holy month of Ramadhan is also a time to strengthen community relations.

Many Muslims in Malaysia come together to prepare a traditional porridge called "bubur lambuk", which is ideal for breaking fast.

During Ramadhan, an alley behind one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, Masjid Jamek Kampong Baru , is turned into a massive kitchen churning out hundreds of pots of gooey porridge.

Over 130 volunteers prepare this nutritious porridge, that's become a popular traditional treat for Muslims, where tens of thousands of packets of porridge are given to the public for free.

For over 50 years, "bubur lambuk" is prepared the same way using the same ingredients.

More than 15 ingredients go into making the dish such as rice, garlic, ginger, onions, meat and seven different types of spices. The porridge is cooked and simmered over slow fire for two hours.

While the recipe is no secret, what exactly makes the Masjid Jamek's "bubur lambuk" so special?

Munir Aki, a third generation chef at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru, said: "It's the way it's cooked. All the steps must be followed correctly. Don't cut corners."

He said while the young are keen to learn, "they don't follow the steps exactly because they are always in a hurry.''

Hj Munir, 76, said it used to take him at least four hours to cook the porridge.

But his successor said the porridge tastes just as good even when the cooking time is cut by half because of modern technology such as blenders and gas stoves.

Zainal Abidin, a fourth generation chef, said: "I am really proud because Jamek Kampung Baru's "bubur lambuk" is well known everywhere."

The organising committee of Masjid Jamek intends to keep the more than 50 year-old tradition alive by getting the younger generations involved.

Idris Shaari Mat Aris, chairman of Masjid Jamek, said: "It's good for Muslims to do this during Ramadhan. The people here, whether Chinese, Indians or Muslims can celebrate Hari Raya together."

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