Here we go!!Finally the much awaited ‘Nasi Lemak‘ recipe. This is an all-time hit with my friends here especially our best friend Jeff. He practically lives on this dish and ever so often bribes Hasan for it each time Hasan needs him to run some errands or help with something. The last time I had cooked it, I had invited Jeff over. Left him only for a short while to go grab something from the kitchen and by the time I returned, the coconut rice, sambal and fried anchovies were wiped out!Tsk tsk!
Anyway getting back to the dish itself, ‘Nasi Lemak‘ basically refers to coconut rice. ‘Nasi’ is rice and ‘Lemak’ coconut in Malay. It is a traditional Singaporean/Malaysian national dish. It constitutes of rice cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaves infused during the cooking process. It is served on fresh banana leaves with a few authentic side dishes- the sambal, fried anchovies or fried fish, boiled or fried egg and a few pieces of cucumber. There are variations to the side dishes. When my aunts cook at home, they usually make anchovy sambal and fried chicken wings. The best ‘Nasi Lemak’ is served by Malay aunties during breakfast hours in the ‘pasar’ known as our wet marketplace. So if you ever do make a trip down to Singapore or Malaysia, hit the ‘pasar’ for authentic ‘nasi lemak’. The ones that we find in shopping malls these days tend to be overly modified and in some instances, they lose the whole essence of what the dish is known for. The recipe I have of course cannot in any way match up to the ones the Malay aunties make. However, it is still nice or so I feel. Hehehe.
- For the coconut rice
- Basmati Rice - 2 cups
- Pandan Leaves (Screwpine leaves) - 6 pieces
- Ginger - 3 inch knob, slightly bruised
- Coconut Milk (Ayam brand is the best!) - 270 ml
- Boiled Hot Water - 2 cups
- Salt - To taste
- For the sambal
- Dried Chillies - 30 pieces, deseeded and soaked in hot water
- Shallots (Small red onions) - 3, quartered and 2 sliced thinly
- Peeled Garlic - 12 cloves
- Tomatoes - 5 pieces, quartered
- Belacan (Shrimp Paste) - 1 tsp, roasted on low heat to remove raw smell
- Serai (Lemongrass) - 1 , the white part sliced thinly
- Green Chillies - 1, sliced thinly
- Ginger/Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
- Dried Shrimps - 1 tsp, soaked in hot water
- Ketcap Manis (Sweet soy sauce) - 3 tbsp
- Canola Cooking Oil - 5 tbsp
To cook the coconut rice:
- Soak rice in normal tap water for 30 minutes first.
- Thereafter, drain the water, add the bruised ginger knob, coconut milk, hot water and salt.
- Knot the pandan leaves and add them in to the rice mixture as well. For an example of how to knot the pandan leaves, refer to the main image.
- Cook rice in rice cooker for 15-20 minutes. Mine usually cooks in 15 minutes.
- Coconut rice ready to be devoured! :-)
To cook the sambal:
- Throw in the soaked dried chillies, soaked dried shrimps, peeled garlic cloves, quartered shallots, belacan, tomatoes into a blender with as little water and blend finely. You may add more water if you prefer a watery sambal. I like mine fairly dry.
- Heat a medium sized wok with canola cooking oil.
- Once oil starts spluttering, add the sliced lemongrass and green chillies.
- Add in the sliced shallots and saute till they turn golden brown in colour.
- Add the ginger/garlic paste and saute till the raw smell disappears.
- Add the chilli paste in with salt and let it cook on low heat covered for 25 minutes. Stir in between to make sure it does not get burnt in the process.
- Before removing the sambal from the stove, add in the ketcap manis according to the sweetness you desire. Some prefer their sambal to be really fiery and spicy whereas others prefer a sweeter one.
- Sambal ready to be served with coconut rice, fried anchovies, boiled eggs and some freshly cut cucmber slices. Enjoy! :-)