There are many things synonymous with the holy fasting month of Ramadan – purity of thought, speech and action, colourful and lively Ramadan bazaars selling the most mouthwatering delights and, of course, the bubur lambuk.
A porridge often given out during Ramadan, the delicacy found its roots right here in Malaysia, in particular a mosque in Kampung Baru, says Chef Mohammad Hashrul from Hilton Kuala Lumpur.
“If you go to Indonesia, they’ll claim they started it,” he says, “but I believe it originated from right here in Kampung Baru.”
There must be some truth to his words, judging by how the bubur lambuk from that particular mosque is one of the most popular in the entire country, with many other places constantly trying but never really succeeding in emulating its recipe.
The humble porridge was born of goodwill, true to the spirit of Ramadan.
“It’s a Muslim tradition to give it out to the poor during Ramadan,” shares Chef Hashrul. “The bubur lambuk became the staple as it is cheap and easy to prepare while having all the food classes you need like protein and carbohydrates.”
The original recipe consists of rice boiled into a thick congee with a medley of spices and meat – typically beef. These days, chicken and fish are also popular replacements and certain recipes dress the broth up with extra chilly paste or fish sauce for individual twists.
“It’s really dependent on the mosque,” Chef Hashrul elaborates, “but the main spice that needs to be included is kurma powder (date powder).”
The Kampung Baru mosque may have started the tradition, but it's a practice quickly picked up by many other mosques in and around the country and in places as far as Indonesia.
“Richer families often donate ingredients to the mosque to make bubur lambuk as well,” tells Chef Hashrul further. “It’s all in good will.”
If you’re not in the Kampung Baru area but would like a taste of authentic bubur lambuk, pop by Vasco’s at Hilton Kuala Lumpur. Its daily buffet dinner has bubur lambuk on the menu.
For a bigger appetite, here are 5 places you can consider breaking your fast at. Selamat berbuka puasa.