Nasi lemak is considered to be the crown jewel of Malaysian cuisine. It is adored by everyone in this multi-cultural country; just to say that each and everyone of us have their own twist in making this scrumptious dish. Chinese has their own way of cooking it, even Indians too have their own spin to it. Originally, this is a Malay dish. It is a very versatile dish, as it can be literally served with all other Malay dishes on the menu.
A plain nasi lemak consists of a fragrant rice (cooked in coconut milk and other aromatic spices) with fried anchovies, fried peanuts and cucumber together with sambal (chili paste) as a condiment. Nasi lemak also shares the same recipe in its neighboring country like Indonesia (called as nasi uduk) and Singapore. In this entry, I will share with you my mother recipe in making the authentic Nasi Lemak.
- 500g of rice (500g beras)
- 2 inches of ginger, crushed (2 inci halia ditumbuk)
- 3 pandan leaves (3 helai daun pandan)
- 3 1/2 cup of coconut milk (3 1/2 cawan santan) –> you don’t have to be super precise, the coconut milk should be enough to cover 2 inches above the level of your rice
- salt for seasoning (garam secukup rasa)
Sambal (chili paste)
- 125g of dried anchovies (125g ikan bilis)
- 7 shallots (7 bawang merah)
- 6-7 dried chilies, boiled and remove the seeds (6-7 tangkai cili kering, direbus dan dibuang biji)
- 5cm of toasted shrimp paste (5cm belacan bakar)
- 1 cup of coconut milk (secawan santan)
- 3/4 cup of tamarind juice (3/4 jus asam jawa)
- Salt for seasoning (garam secukup rasa)
- 1 hard boiled egg, cut into half (sebiji telur rebus dipotong dua)
- 3-4 slices of cucumber (3-4 potong timun)
- 90g of fried peanuts, peeled (kacang tanah goreng, dibuang kulit)
- 90g of fried anchovies (ikan bilis goreng)
Making the nasi lemak
- Make sure that you’ve cleaned your rice thoroughly before cooking, the last thing you want to taste is chalky rice. Throw in every single ingredients into your pot and season the the rice. Let the rice cook under gentle heat (if you’re using a rice cooker it is even more easier) until the rice softens and tender. The rice should be ready when the you couldn’t see any remaining liquid inside your pot (the rice will absorb every little bit of coconut you’ve put).
- Let it rest
Making the sambal
- Under medium heat and generous amount of cooking oil, fry up your dried anchovies until crisp and golden in color.
- Throw in all of the ingredients (except the dried anchovies) into your food processor to blend it together to produce a fine chili paste.
- Then, fire up your pan under medium heat with generous splashes of cooking oil. When the oil is hot enough, throw in your paste into the pan, and saute the paste for about 5 minutes. When your sambal has been cooked, throw in your fried anchovies into the pan and mix them well together with the sambal.
Now that your fundamental ingredients have been prepared, you can start to assemble the dish as creative as you wish, using the garnishes I’ve mentioned before. You can serve this dish with various kind of other Malay dishes, but the most popular combination is rendang. Have a try, really! This dish has hooked million of tourists who have been to Malaysia =)