Nasi lemak – coconut milk rice – malaysian cuisine
Nasi Lemak is a very popular dish in Malaysia, so much so that even most Malaysian airlines will serve it on their flights.
Nasi Lemak is a Malay term. Nasi means rice, and lemak means fragrant rice cooked in rich and creamy coconut milk with fragrant leaves.
This dish is accompanied by hot and spicy “sambal” (hot sauce), which I will talk about a bit more later, and garnished with cucumber, hard boiled eggs, fried anchovies and toasted peanuts.
Another style, not as common now, but one I absolutely love, is the “sambal sotong” (cuttle fish in chilli) with nasi lemak. Other accompaniments can also include beef/chicken rendang, fried fish and “acar awak” (pickled vegetables).
In Malaysia, nasi lemak is normally consumed for breakfast, and you can find them wrapped in banana leaves and newspaper in coffee shops. Patrons will sit down, eat and enjoy them, and pay later when finished. You pay according to how many packets you eat.
This is an image of how nasi lemak is presented in Malaysia:
For this exercise, we are going to use very simple ingredients. I am going to show you how to cook the coconut rice, fry the anchovy and how to use the readymade sambal paste to serve your nasi lemak.
A good nasi lemak lies in the quality of the rice and the sambal. Sambal is a hot chilli paste made of the following ingredients: shrimp paste, garlic, onion, chillies, ginger, sugar and tamarind juice/vinegar. You blend all those ingredients and slowly fry over medium heat until the texture is dry-ish and fragrant.
2 cups of rice (suitable for 2 – 4 people)
200ml coconut milk
Pinch of salt
2 stems of pandan leaf (screwpine), put together and knot them
70g dried anchovy
8 Tbsp of cooking oil for frying anchovies
4 cups of water for boiling eggs
1 cucumber or 2 lebanese cucumbers – sliced diagonally
1/2 onion – cut into fine slices
How to prepare the rice?
Wash your rice and add enough water for 1.5 cups rice in the rice cooker. Check your rice cooker for instructions.
Add coconut milk with the rice, water and stir. Make sure the water is at the 2 cup level in the rice cooker.
Add pinch of salt and stir well.
If you can find pandan leaves (skrewpine leaves), tie 2 stems into knots and cook it with the rice.
How to fry anchovies
Wash them and pat dry with kitchen towel.
Heat up oil; once the oil is heated, lower the heat and fry them for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
Stir frequently to make sure the fish are cooked evenly until turning slightly brown in colour.
Once the fish is cooked, drain the anchovies; set them aside to cool.
How to prepare the sambal?
Add 1 tsp of oil in the wok, and on medium heat, fry the onion for about 1 minute.
Add the sambal paste into the wok and gently fry it for about 2-3 minutes until hot. Note: The sambal is already cooked, so you don’t need to cook for too long.
Nasi lemak made easy with readymade sambal
As you can see from the image above, I’ve mixed the sambal with the anchovies together. It can be done this way and it tastes great. However, if you don’t think you can finish this dish in one sitting, you leave all the ingredients separately.
Boil the water, place the eggs in the boiling and lower the heat to medium.
Close the lid of the pot and boil the eggs for around 10 minutes. Drain water and shell eggs.
Serve all ingredients with the coconut rice, and enjoy your nasi lemak.
Number of people: 2 – 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Weight: 250g per pack
You can get the anchovies from the online store:
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