Essence of Life - Food
Essence of Life - Food


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  • Cuisine : Malay
  • Course : Main
  • Spicy Level : High
  • Difficulty : Medium
  • Serves : 4
  • Author : SM
  • Preparation Time - 30 - 45 Minutes
  • Cooking Time - 45 Minutes - 1 Hour
  • Dry Red Chillies - 10-12 Pieces.
  • Birds-eye Chillies - 5-7 Pieces
  • Shallots - 10 Nos.
  • Garlic - 3 Cloves.
  • Dry Shrimp Paste(Belacan) - 2 Tspns
  • Tamarind - 2 Tspn
  • Salt - To Taste
  • Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka) - 3 Tspns
  • Onions - 1 No.
  • Anchovies - 2 Tbspn (Optional)
  • Oil - 3 Tbspns
  • Ingredients
  • Raw Rice /Fragrant Rice - 1 Cup
  • Thick Coconut Milk - 1/2 Cup
  • Thin Coconut Milk - 1Cup
  • Screwpine Leaves (Pandan leaves) - 3-4 Leaves
  • Ginger - 1/2" Piece (Optional)
  • Garlic - 2 Cloves (Optional)
  • Oil - 1 Tbspn
  • Salt - To Taste
  • A good brand of Fragrant Jasmine Rice or Basmati Rice is preferable for this recipe.
  • Rinse the rice once or twice, moving your fingers through the rice, until the water runs clear.
  • Soak the Rice for at least 20 minutes before cooking in other methods, except for steaming.
  • If cooking in a steamer, soak the rice overnight or atleast for 2-3 hours.
  • Use extra water along with coconut milk while cooking in a sauce pan.
  • Slightly bruise the Screw pine leaves and tie them into a knot before adding it to the rice.
  • Any variety of small fish suits this recipe. Can also serve Fried Chicken along with Nasi Lemak. I have used small Bawal Putih (White Pomfret) in this recipe. The main trick is to get crispy fried fish. For best results use a big wok with very hot oil and, it can be double fried.
  • Ingredients
  • Small Variety Fish - 1/2 Kg.
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Tspn
  • Pepper Powder - 1 Tspn
  • Salt - To Taste
  • Oil - To Fry
  • Ingredients
  • Peanuts - 100 gms.
  • Anchovies - 100 gms.
  • Oil - To Deep Fry
  • Salt - To Taste
  • Perfectly boiled eggs, mixed with coconut rice and sambal chili is a perfect combination for Nasi Lemak. Egg can be done in a variety of ways but hard-boiled eggs goes hand-in-hand with this dish.
  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Fresh cucumber - 1 No.


    METHOD :

    Soak the Dried Red Chillies in hot water for 20-30 minutes until they are soft.
    Dry roast the Shrimp paste until fragrant.
    Grind soaked Dry Chillies, Roasted Shrimp Paste, Birds Eye Chillies, Garlic and Shallots into a smooth paste.
    Soak the Dried Anchovies for about 10-15 minutes.
    Clean and wash them well and allow it to dry in a paper towel.
    Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the Anchovies and keep it aside.
    In the remaining oil saute the ground paste in low flame for about 10-15 minutes.
    Saute them until the raw flavour goes and oil separates from the mix.
    Add tamarind extract and boil it for another 5 minutes in low flame.
    Add salt and palm sugar and mix well.
    Finally add the onions cut into rings and deep fried anchovies and give a quick stir.
    Leave this in low flame for 3-5 minutes.

    NOTES :

    I used the long- wrinkled variety which is less spicy. To reduce the spiciness can snip-off the soaked dry chillies into two and de-seed them.
    Blend the shallots coarsely.
    Adding the onions cut into rings, gives a good texture to the sambal.
    Can make the sambal chillies without fried anchovies too.
    If adding fried anchovies deep fry them first and drain them in a paper towel.
    Can use the same oil to saute the sambal.
    Anchovies and dry shrimp paste will add saltiness to the sambal, so add salt at the final stage if necessary.
    Can add sugar instead of Palm sugar.
    Serve it at room temperature.

    We can cook the rice in three methods :
    METHOD :
    In a Steamer:

    ( Rice : Water Ratio - 1:11/2 Cups)

    Cooking in a steamer, is considered to be the more authentic way of cooking Rice for Nasi lemak.(The KUKUS Method). It is supposed to be more delicious as each grain is separated and fluffy. If freshly squeezed coconut milk is used, then the rice is one of the tastiest with its natural flavours infused. But this method is slightly time consuming, as it needs soaking time and comparatively a little bit of extra cooking time.But it is lot more easier compared to other methods, as we can control the cooking process and also, we don't need to bother about water ratios. The texture of the rice turns out perfect every time.

    Soak the rice overnight or at least for two to three hours.
    Boil enough water in the steamer, fill half of the pan with water.
    Place the rice in a dish.
    Pour in coconut milk into the dish, together with the rest of the ingredients.
    Steam until the coconut milk is well absorbed by the rice
    Steam for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
    While cooking, carefully fluff-up the rice with a fork in between, so that all the grains are perfectly cooked.
    Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes
    Fluff up the rice with a fork before serving.

    In an Electronic Steamer :

    If using an electric steamer, fill the steamer's water reservoir to the "max" line.
    Place 1 cup of Rice and 11/2 Cups of Coconut Milk in a bowl.
    Drizzle a bit of oil, salt and rest of the ingredients to the rice and mix well.
    If your steamer has multi-level, place the rice bowl at the lowest level.
    Cover the rice bowl.
    Turn on the steamer and set the timing for 20-25 minutes.
    Once it is cooked remove the rice bowl from the steamer and allow it to cool down for few minutes.
    Fluff up the rice before serving.

    In an Electric Rice Cooker :

    ( Rice : Water Ratio - 1:11/2 Cups)

    This is one of the easiest methods, and most of the time, I end up cooking the coconut rice in this method.

    Place 1 Cup of Rice in the rice cooker
    Add 11/2 Cups of Coconut Milk.
    Drizzle a bit of oil, salt and rest of the ingredients to the rice and mix well.
    Cover the Rice Cooker and turn it on.
    Cook until it automatically turns off.
    Leave the in warm mode for another 5-10 minutes.
    Allow it to cool for few minutes.
    Fluff up the rice with a fork before serving.

    Notes :

    While cooking large quantities of rice, this method is not advisable for two reasons:

    1) The oil from the Coconut Milk will prevent the rice from cooking properly.

    2) And it is not possible to get evenness in texture and flavour of the rice.

    In a Sauce Pan :

    ( Rice Water Ratio - 1:2 Cups)

    Heat a little bit of oil in a heavy based saucepan on medium heat.
    Add 1 cup of Rice into the pan and fry it in very low flame for few minutes until the oil is absorbed.
    Add 11/2 cups of Coconut milk, 1/2 Cup of Water to the rice and mix well.
    Sprinkle Salt and rest of the ingredients to the rice and stir well.
    Keeping the sauce pan uncovered, bring the rice to a boil.
    Once the water begins to boil, lower the flame.
    Cover the pot and cook the rice in low flame for about 15-20 minutes.
    Once the rice is cooked, remove from fire and keep it aside for at least 10 minutes to cool down.
    Fluff up the rice with a fork or a chopstick before serving.

    Method :

    Clean the fish.
    Marinate it with the ingredients mentioned under 'To Marinate' for at least half an hour.
    Keep it refrigerated until you fry it.
    Heat oil in a wok in high flame.
    Drop the marinated fish into the oil and fry them for 5-7 minutes.
    Allow it to drain in a paper towel.
    Fry them for a second time, before serving.

    Notes :

    When you drop the fish into the oil,the oil must be very hot and you should hear a nice sizzling sound .
    Fry the fish in high flame
    For crispier fried fish, fry them for a second time before serving.
    In Double frying - the first time when you fry, the moisture is removed from the fish and when its fried for the second time it totally dries up the fish giving a total crispness to the fish.
    Marinating the fish with the salt, pepper and turmeric powder, also dehydrates the fish.
    Leave the marinated fish in the refrigerator, uncovered.

    Method :

    Deep fry the Peanuts & Anchovies in low flame.
    Fry them in batches.
    Remove them from oil and drain them on a paper towel.
    Sprinkle some salt if necessary.


    Method :

    Pour water into the pot and add eggs into it.
    Switch on the flame and allow it to boil.
    Once the water boils, cover the pot, lower the flame and let it cook for another 15 minutes.
    Switch off the flame and allow it to cool.
    Peel the eggs, when it is warm.
    Allow it to cool down before slicing it with a sharp knife.

    Notes :

    It is easy to peel the eggs when it is still warm.
    To ensure perfectly sliced eggs, slice them when they have cooled down.
    Stir the pot occasionally, while boiling the eggs, this is to ensure that the yolk remains intact at the center.


    Local variety Cucumbers are served with Nasi Lemak usually.
    I don't season it with salt or pepper. Plain cucumbers are perfect for the dish.
    Cut both the ends and peel the cucumber with a peeler.
    Then cut them into thin slices.

    Assemble all the items and serve the dish hot or cold.
    Finally, Nasi Lemak is done!!!


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