Lopes Mak Cik Gah

I felt like a little girl who got a whole bunch of balloons when Makcik Gah stayed for a whole day to teach me 'warisan' dishes. I really loved cooking this Lopes with her from scratch. I guarantee it tastes heaps nicer that the bought ones.

Mum said, "A person of Makcik Gah's knowledge of the true traditional authentic food is rare & few. Treasure her." And I did. I appreciated every second I spent with her & everything she shared with me. I pray for her good health & long life.


  • 1/2 kg glutinous rice, washed
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp air chang/air abu*
  • 35 pieces of banana leaves cut into 5"x10" rectangle sizes, wilted briefly over flame
  • 7 raffia strings cut into 2'5" lengths

*I'm not sure why it's called air (as in water) when it actually is cups of powder

  1. Pour the water over the glutinous rice.
  2. Sprinkle with air chang evenly over the rice.
  3. Mix it in well until the air chang dilutes.
  4. Put the rice aside & allow it to rest for about 1 5 minutes or until the rice bloats a little & turns slightly yellowish due to the air chang mixture.
  5. Pour the rice into a pot & heat it on medium fire.
  6. Cook & keep stirring for about 10-12 minutes until all the liquid evaporates. The rice should still have the crunch when eaten at this stage.
  7. Transfer it to a bowl.
  8. Roll the banana leaf into a cone, shiny side out.
  9. Fill it in with 2 heaped tablespoons of rice. Press tightly until the rice is snug.
  10. Flatten the cone to now look like a triangle.
  11. Flap the final opened side over, to complete the triangle & seal in the rice.
  12. Arrange the filled triangle in stacks of three, with all the corners not in alignment.
  13. Tie the stack of three triangles with one rafia string at each corner of the triangle.
  14. This will keep the triangles tightly together when boiling it.
  15. When all the triangles have been tied up into 7 batches, place it in boiling water.
  16. Make sure the Lopes are submerged under the boiling water. Cover the lid.
  17. Boil on medium heat for an hour.
  18. Remove the Lopes form the water and place it in a strainer. Allow it to cool.
  19. When ready to consume, peel off the banana leaf, coat the Lopes with Grated Coconut & drizzle generously with Palm Syrup.

Palm Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup chopped palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup coarse sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted
  • 1 tsp sago flour diluted in 1/4 water

Grated Coconut

  • 1 whole grated coconut (white only)
  • 1 tsp salt

Palm Sugar Syrup Method

  1. Put the palm sugar, coarse sugar, water & pandan leaves in a pot.
  2. Boil over medium heat.
  3. After about 10 minutes, pour the sago mixture gradually over the palm sugar syrup.
  4. When it thickens, put aside until ready to serve with the Lopes.

Grated Coconut Method

  1. Steam the grated coconut over boiling water for about 8 minutes.
  2. Remove from steamer & immediately sprinkle with salt.
  3. Toss it around until the salt combines.
  4. Sprinkle over the lopes when ready to eat.