Nasi Lemak

When I was living in Malaysia some years ago, this was one of my favourite take-away dishes. Nearby my workplace there were some food stalls that sold Nasi Lemak wrapped in banana leaves. Basically, it’s rice cooked in coconut milk and some condiments, eaten with sambal and some side dishes – yes, I think the rice is the main course here! There are many variations of the recipe in the interweb, and mine’s mostly based on the Allrecipes’ version.

We made Nasi Lemak one Sunday afternoon – here’s what we used:

Nasi Lemak (two portions)

  • 2 and 1/2 dl (1 cup) rice
  • 2 and 1/2 dl coconut milk
  • 2 and 1/2 dl water
  • 1-2 tablespoons crushed ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • sambal oelek to taste (or some other salty chili paste)

We made this in a rice cooker, which is super easy: We just put all the ingredients in our rice cooker except the sambal oelek, turned it on, and about half an hour later it was ready. We removed the bay leaf, and garnished it with sambal.

In case you don’t have a rice cooker, here are the instructions on how to make it in a regular cooking pot:

Put all the ingredients in a kettle except the sambal oelek. Don’t go overboard with the salt since you’re going to eat it with sambal, which is super salty! Bring to boil, and let it simmer until the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid – maybe 20 minutes or so. Turn the heat low, or with an electric stove, off, and let the rice steam for an additional 10 or 15 minutes. Keep the lid on the kettle all the time, except when checking if the liquid’s all absorbed, of course. Remove the bay leaf from the kettle, and serve. Garnish the rice with sambal oelek.

Possible variations:

  • Use two cups of coconut milk instead of one cup water and one cup of coconut milk
  • Instead of ginger, use one pandan leaf.

We had our Nasi Lemak (clockwise from bottom right) with stir-fried morning glory, vegan ikan bilis, cucumber, and soy strips marinated in dill and chili. The first three are traditional dishes to have with Nasi Lemak, the fourth isn’t, but all of them tasted great with it, we thought.