A Hari Raya menu emergency, because sometimes, things don’t go as planned…
Picture this… It’s your first time hosting a little Raya do for friends and family. Maybe you’re newly married, or have just moved into a new house. Your caterer suddenly calls to say they can’t make it. You panic. It’s a real Hari Raya menu emergency.
Your husband/wife/parent/sibling says they’ve invited 20 people over for Raya makan-makan this weekend. You’re not exactly adept at cooking Raya food. Caterers are not available, because they’ve been booked up months in advance. And your favourite Malay restaurants are still on leave.
What in the world are you going to do?
Keep calm and Raya on
Take a deep breath. And then take another one. It may be a Hari Raya menu emergency, but it’s not one that can’t be solved with a little quick thinking, a visit to the supermarket, and a few homemade recipes. Get your significant other, sibling or friend involved (especially the one that self-invited themselves over), because if you’ve got two days to whip up an impressive and authentic Raya feast, you’re going to need a little bit of help, even if it is just to run around buying stuff.
First things first: the Hari Raya menu
Raya favourites and specialities may vary from household to household, but you can always count on a few core dishes. You can try experimenting with more complex recipes once you’ve got a few Rayas under your belt, but for now let’s keep it simple:
- Nasi impit
- Chicken floss (serunding)
- Beef floss (serunding)
- Chicken or beef rendang
- Lodeh gravy
- Peanut sauce (kuah kacang)
- 2 to 3 types of cookies
- Grass jelly rose syrup (sirap cincau)
Panicking yet? Don’t. More than half the items on the Hari Raya menu above will be purchased “off the shelf” with minor preparation for some of them. You’re only cooking three items from scratch. And the best part about it? Almost all of them can be eaten with one another in different configurations, like nasi impit or lemang with serunding or rendang or peanut sauce, nasi impit with lodeh and peanut sauce, or everything heaped together in one giant bowl.
Still not entirely convinced you can pull it off? Well, we’ll be sharing with you recipes, a shopping list, and will also let you know what you need to do when, with just two full days to get things sorted out before your Raya do. And if you’ve got extra time to spare, we even have bonus recipes you can try out for an extra impressive feast.
Ready? Let’s get started with preparing your Hari Raya menu!
Two days before Raya day
10.00am (or earlier)
Head to the market or supermarket with the shopping list for your Hari Raya menu in hand. Whether you’re using a physical written list or one in your phone, don’t forget to tick the items off as you put them in your basket or cart to avoid confusion.
Hari Raya menu shopping list:
- 1.23kg beef tenderloin
- 600g fatty beef
- 400g prawns
- 400g gizzards
- 400g dried shrimp
- 440g snake beans
- 550g carrots (about 4 carrots)
- 80g green chilies (about 4 large chilies)
- 500g cabbage
- 1kg English gourd
- 985g red onions
- 500g shallots
- 105g garlic
- 46g turmeric root
- 40g old ginger
- 110g galangal
- 1.5g kaffir lime leaves (about 3 leaves)
- 48g turmeric leaves (about 3 leaves)
- 104g lemongrass
- 166g dried chilies
- 800g raw peanuts, skinless
- 26g belacan
- 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 2 litres beef stock
- 220g coconut sugar (gula Melaka)
- 3.1kg coconut milk
- 200g freshly grated coconut
- 100g dried tofu skin (foo chok)
- 500g firm tofu (taukwa)
- 720g tempeh
- 100g soh hoon
- 2 packets of instant nasi impit
- 8 cups cooking oil
- 500ml rose syrup
- 500g grass jelly
- 3 litres water plus extra
- 2-3 types of cookies
- 2 sticks of lemang
- 1 large pack chicken floss
- 1 large pack beef floss
- 2 packs ice
- This list is for feeding 10 pax. Adjust the quantities where relevant if you’re feeding more mouths. If you’re feeding less… yay! Leftovers!
- The list above is based on preparing beef rendang and grass jelly rose syrup. If you’re making chicken rendang or have other recipe variations and add-ons, don’t forget to update the list accordingly.
- Don’t forget to check your fridge to see if you have any of the items above in stock.
While you may be able to get most of the items above from your regular market or supermarket – most supermarkets even have an entire section dedicated to Raya cookies during this season – you may need to get your beef and chicken floss elsewhere. Not all raya cookies were created equal either, so we’ve put together a list of places you can get your hands on a quality selection of cookies and serunding.
Places to shop for cookies:
- Wondermilk has pretty yummy cookies all year round that are suitable for Raya. Check their website for outlet information and opening hours.
- Ben’s Independent Grocers has an impressive display of tasty Raya cookies at their various outlets.
- Bazaar Ramadhan & night markets, especially towards the last two weeks of Ramadhan.
- Pasar Jawa, Klang, also has a variety of cookies available closer towards Raya.
Places to shop for beef and chicken floss:
- Ben’s Independent Grocers has a decent selection of serunding stocked and are opened throughout the holidays.
- There are serunding stalls in Kampung Baru and near Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman that pop-up during Ramadhan and sometimes remain throughout the Raya period. They don’t have specific addresses, so keep your eyes open for them!
- Online. Why should it be surprising considering you can get most things online these days, including authentic serunding. We don’t have a specific favourite, but a search for serunding on Instagram reveals quite a few sellers. Give them a try!
Once you get home, don’t forget to refrigerate or freeze any relevant items. Keep your cookies and serunding far, far away, lest you’re tempted to dig into them first!
5.00pm (or as soon as you’ve finished shopping if earlier)
It’s time to start cooking your Hari Raya menu and make some rendang. We’ve got three variations for you, including:
If you’ve got the time, prepare one beef and one chicken rendang, but if you don’t, read through the recipes above and see which you feel most confident preparing, or really really want to eat. They’re all good though, and not as complex as you think.
While your rendang cooks, let’s prepare the peanuts for the peanut sauce you’ll be cooking tomorrow. You want them to soak overnight or it won’t make it to your Hari Raya menu, so don’t forget to do this! Click on the link above to see how.
Once your rendang is cooked, remove it from the fire, leave it uncovered, and let it cool throughout the night. Try and keep it in a place away from dust, ants and curious fingers wanting to give it a taste.
Find yourself with extra time? Take out your plates, dishes, forks, knives, placemats, serviettes and anything else you’d like to use for Raya and have them ready for use. This is a good activity to get help with as well, especially while you’re busy in the kitchen.
One day before Raya day
Check if your rendang has completely cooled. If it has, pack them into portioned containers for easy reheating later. You can refrigerate what you need for your Hari Raya menu tomorrow and freeze the rest if you have extra. Frozen beef rendang can keep for months, another good reason to prepare this dish well in advance if you have the time. If it hasn’t yet cooled, pack it up a little later in the day.
Once you’re done, head out on a lemang hunt. Most neighbourhoods will have one lemang stall that remains open throughout Eid, yes, even on the first day of Raya! If you’re not sure where to get your hands on some good lemang, here are our recommendations:
- There’s a fairly popular spot for lemang along the Karak Highway, heading back from Bukit Tinggi towards Kuala Lumpur, somewhere after the tunnel.
- Near Kanna Curry House in Section 17, Petaling Jaya.
- Also look out for the lemang stall in Taman TAR, located near ISKL and the SPCA
- Lemang Jalan Ampang in front of Tiara Ampang Condominium. You can also access the stall via the last exit on AKLEH.
Tip: send your extra set of hands out on the lemang hunt instead! You’ve got other things to do after all for your Hari Raya menu. Lemang does not need to be refrigerated. Just keep them somewhere cool and dry.
Next, set your table. Whether serving your dishes on the dining table or doing it buffet style, it’s a good idea to lay them out just so you know if you have enough space and the right plate or bowl for the right dish, as well as serving spoons. This way, you can dig out an extra side table if needed and won’t have to worry about running out of space on the day itself. If you’re expecting guests to come and go throughout the day, a buffet style setting is a lot easier for replenishing food and utensils.
Don’t forget to put out those cookies you’ve been hiding away too. For extra points, transfer them into nice bottles if they don’t already come with, instead of leaving them in those typical, round, plastic containers.
Tip: the table setting and transferring of cookies can be done by your extra set of hands.
5.00pm (or earlier)
Let’s start making peanut sauce. Just like rendang, you want to leave it overnight to cool. Alternatively, if your guests are only coming later in the day tomorrow, you can prepare your peanut sauce on the day itself, just don’t forget to soak the peanuts today instead of yesterday.
Go buy some bags of ice because those little trays in the freezer are never enough! Just don’t forget to put them in the freezer too or you’ll end up with bags of water tomorrow instead. Not sure where to buy ice? You can get them at most supermarkets, some petrol stations and almost all 7-11’s.
We know it’s early, but you’ve got to get up and get the rest of your Hari Raya menu done. Start by getting your extra hands to portion the peanut sauce, refrigerating the packs you don’t immediately need. While they’re doing that, boil a pot of water and cook nasi impit following the package instructions. You don’t have to cook them all at once as they can be cooked throughout the day if your guests are coming and going. If you’ve got a spare big pot, you can definitely prepare them all at once.
If you’re getting your coconut milk super fresh, get your extra hands to go out and get them as soon as the shops open. You can prepare ingredients for the lodeh while waiting and the nasi impit is cooking. Start cooking when your coconut milk arrives, keeping the packets refrigerated until you’re ready to use them. Once cooked, keep your lodeh warm.
Tip: if you’re expecting a lot of guests throughout the day and are worried your lodeh will run out, prep extra batches of ingredients beforehand so you can cook it again without too much hassle later on.
Once the nasi impit has cooled down, cut it into cubes and serve in a bowl. Don’t forget to also slice and plate the lemang, as well as beef and chicken serunding. Cover these items with cling film or a beeswax wrap temporarily if the serving dishes don’t have their own cover.
Go have your shower while your extra hands keep an eye on things and prepare the drinks instead. Slice up grass jelly into tiny cubes or julienned strands and make a few jars full of syrup. Keep both items covered and in the fridge until guests arrive. Transfer some ice cubes to an ice container and keep that in the freezer until guests arrive as well. If you want something fancier to drink, check out our list of easy drink recipes.
15-20 minutes before your guests arrive
If you know more or less what time your guests will be arriving, start heating up the rendang and peanut sauce. Place them in serving dishes and keep them covered until guests are ready to start eating. Don’t forget to plate up the lodeh gravy too. Don’t worry too much if they need to wait awhile while you finalize everything – that’s what the cookies and munchies are for.
Tip: Wash your dishes whenever you get a break between guests and top up the dishes that don’t need to be served warm, like nasi impit, lemang and serunding.
Follow the same routine above for heating up the food for your next batch of guests, and don’t forget to get the extra hands to help out!
I’m in no rush and have time to make some extra dishes, bring it on!
You do? Excellent. Besides adding on an extra rendang dish, let’s make some other dishes you can prepare to complement the current spread:
- Sambal kelapa – this is especially good when using fresh coconut milk for your lodeh as you can use the leftover desiccated coconut to make this dish
- Mee Goreng Mamak – because, you know, noodles! You’ll want to prepare this on the day itself though or your noodles might dry out
- You can also buy your cookies and serunding in advance as they can keep for quite awhile… as long as you’re disciplined enough not to eat them all up first, that is!
- Don’t stick to just cookies. There’s all sorts of munchies and goodies out there that are great for keeping your guests, and yourself, happy in between meals.
- Extra hands to help out in the kitchen, prepping ingredients and cleaning up is always good.
See? That wasn’t so hard. All you need is a couple of days to turn a Hari Raya menu emergency into a delicious feast for your friends and family. And if there’s no emergency to begin with, this plan is still as good as any to help you get your Raya sorted out. Let’s start planning! And if you have recommendations on where we can get our hands on some really good cookies, lemang and serunding all Raya long, do share them with us in the comments below.