Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice Meal with Sambal)

A while back, we had a spectacular Alaskan King Crab dinner with Ben and Suanne of Chowtimes and ET and Christina of Doesn't Tazte Like Chicken.

Being the generous and gracious people that they are, both Ben and Suanne and ET and Christina gave us some food items to take home.

Thanks, guys!

peanuts and anchovies

Suanne and Ben gave us a jar of their homemade sambal belacan, a jar of sambal ikan bilis, as well as a packet of peanuts and ikan bilis (dried anchovies) straight from Malaysia.

left: homemade sambal belacan; right: sambal ikan bilis

Wikipedia: Malaysian Sambal

Naturally, we thought to use these products to make nasi lemak.

Nasi Lemak means "rice in cream". In this case, the cream is coconut cream (or milk). Besides the coconut rice, nasi lemak usually comes with cucumber slices, dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, egg, and sambal.

Let's get to work.

Coconut Rice

Of course, I simply used the rice cooker. For this attempt of mine, since I didn't exactly know how coconut-ty we wanted the rice, I used half coconut milk and half water for my liquid. I added a knot of pandan (screwpine) leaf to the rice while cooking.

The rice was extremely fragrant. Mmm.

Roasted Peanuts

I toasted the peanuts on the stovetop.

Sambal, Ikan Bilis, and Onions

Actually, instead of frying up the sambal with the dried anchovies (for sambal ikan bilis), I followed Suanne's suggestion of simply caramelizing some onions and adding the sambal, without adding the anchovies.

That way, the dried anchovies will remain crispy and give us some nice textural contrast. Besides, we have that jar of prepared sambal ikan bilis anyway.

We also happened to have recently purchased a bag of fried shallots (or actually, small red onions that I haven't seen in Vancouver). Why not have contrasting onions as well?

Fried Egg
Instead of hard-boiled eggs, I fried mine up. I can't resist egg yolk ooze, after all. It's so much better than hard-boiled eggs!

Nasi Lemak

So, there's our nasi lemak plate! Here's what we have on there.

Sautéed Onions with Suanne's Homemade Sambal Belacan.
Sliced Cucumbers (in the background).

Sambal Ikan Bilis and Ikan Bilis (dried anchovies).

Pan-roasted Peanuts and Fried Egg.
Fried Shallots/Small Red Onions (see below).

What's great about this is that one doesn't even really need a recipe. It's assembly work! Yet, the result is fantastic. The whole meal is so savory and hearty, and that fragrant rice is quite something else.

Of course, our version is a bare-bones version. All sorts of accompaniments (or ulam, as we would call it) can be added: fried fish, beef rendang, chicken dishes, seafood... I think a trip to Malaysia is in order to sample all the possible different combinations or nasi lemak plates!

Wikipedia: Nasi Lemak

other Nasi Lemak recipes/how-to
Rasa Malaysia

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eatingclub vancouver Malaysian
Sambal Mini Eggplants with Campari Tomatoes
Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice Meal with Sambal)

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Oyster Torta
Torta with Pork and Kecap Manis
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Taiwanese Stewed Eggs (滷蛋) with Stewed Minced Pork (魯肉 or 肉燥)
Longsilog (Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog)
Torta (Mexican Sandwich)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu
Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice Meal with Sambal)
Home-style Chinese Steamed Egg with Pork
Golden Shrimp Torta (Philippine Shrimp Omelette)


  1. I tend to be entranced by anything with the word coconut in the title. Add a fried egg to it - and i'm happy!

  2. That looks great! Really making my mouth water. I think pandan is essential to fragrant nasi lemak. Where'd you get your pandan leaf?

    Please do come to Malaysia! I'm sure lots of us floggers here would be happy to take you around to go "makan" (eat)! :-)

  3. He he he ... your nasi lemak looks exactly like the way Suanne makes it ... well, except that she does not serve it on banana leaf!

  4. What a lovely blog you guys haved here - and all the juicy and spicy local recipes - i absolutley lovethem. Have subscribed :-)

    Oh and ot that it really matters, but you have a tiny flaw in the header - u skipped "r" in "everything".

    Good job, happy to have found you :-)

  5. It looks so good even if I don't know what a portion of the ingredients are

  6. What a feast! I am so intrigued by Malaysian dishes especially since I hear about them from my brother who lives in Singapore and gets to enjoy them frequently! I loved all the steps and I agree with you a fried egg with the yolk oozing is way more exciting than the hard-boiled ones! Yum, I am salivating looking and imagining all this in front of me!

  7. I'm drooling! You even serve the Nasi Lemak on banana leaves :D

  8. That is one complete meal! To preserve the crispiness of the anchovies, maybe you can shallow-fry them with the sambal coating it. Yum.

  9. This reminds me of home! I like how you served it with a sunny side up. We normally only ger hard boiled or fried eggs (without oozy yolk).

  10. Great job TS & JS! Looks almost like the nasi lemak sold by the Malay hawkers in SGP.

  11. Looks excellent and flavorful. Thanks for the dish.

  12. Joanne:
    Oh, then you'll love the rice! It is so frgarant.

    Oh, hopefully we'll get to go to Malaysia one of these days!

    Ben & Suanne:
    Teehee. Trust me, that banana leaf is purely for the blog! ;)

    Oh, thanks for the kind words. And thanks for pointing out the typo!

    Oh, ou can make this easy. I say just "cheat" and buy the prepared jar of samabal belacan or samabal ikan bilis. =)

    Southeast Asian food is quit punchy and bold-flavored. You'll love it!

    The banana leaf is only for the blog. ;)

    I must give the credit for the fried egg idea to Ben & Suanne of Chowtimes. Hehe.

    Thanks! It's good we get a seal of approval. =)


  13. Nate:
    Oh, I forgot to reply to your question. We got our pandan leaf frozen in the Asian supermarket.

  14. I have tried this rice in Singapore a while ago. I liked them. I love ikan bilis. Koreans use them in fried rice as well but use tiny baby shrimps. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Wow, this looks delicious! I haven't had tiny fried anchovies like that for a very long time. What a hearty breakfast.

  16. beyondkimchee:
    Yeah, those ikan bilis all the way from Malaysa were really good! Hmm, I should source the Korean equivalent.

    (Am interested about Korean so I've added your blog to my reader!)

    Thanks! Love the name of your blog, hehe. I've added it to my reader! =)


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