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Nasi Lemak a Meal for Anytime of the Day

Updated on December 16, 2015

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak | Source

Nasi Lemak

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Coconut Rice with Spicy Anchovy Sauce.

This dish is for those people who like spicy food, the spicy anchovy sauce is perfect with coconut rice. This dish is called Nasi Lemak, and you will find it being sold in every town in Malaysia regardless of the size of the town. From the biggest city to the smallest village. It is considered a national dish and every town claims theirs has the best Nasi Lemak in Asia. It is also possibly one of the cheapest meals around. But then most hawker fair in Malaysia would be considered cheap to anyone living in the west. Traditionally Nasi Lemak used to be eaten as a breakfast dish, but as it's a very versatile meal, you can now find it being sold at all times of the day. The name translated into English is actually not that attractive. Nasi meaning rice and lemak meaning fat or fatty. Put together the words fatty rice do not bring visions of a delicious exotic meal to mind. But for a native Malaysian the name actually means creamy rice. And is meal enjoyed at least twice a week by many.

Nasi Lemak Wrapped in Banana Leaf

Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak | Source

The Most Popular Nasi Lemak Stalls

The most popular Nasi Lemak stalls are the ones that make their sauce really spicy. And the rice really creamy.

The recipe I will be sharing with you folks will be a less spicy one, as there are very few people I have met other then the locals who enjoy their food spicy enough to peel the paint off a car door.

This dish will take a bit of time and care to prepare but its well worth it.

First we will prepare the rice.

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: 8


  • 1 kg Rice, Long Grained
  • 300 ml Coconut Milk
  • 6 nos Shallots
  • 1 Small Piece Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 nos Lemon Grass, Replace with Lime Leaves if Lemon Grass is Unavailable
  • 30 grams Ginger, Thick Slices
  • 2 Red Onions, Medium Size
  • 8 Shallots
  • 20 Dried Red Chilli, wash and leave to soak for 15 minutes
  • 5 tablespoons Belacan, Prawn Paste
  • Half a Cup Tamarind Pulp, Replace with a quarter cup of Lemon Juice if Tamarind is Unavailable
  • To Taste Salt, Pepper, Sugar
  • Quarter Cup Cooking Oil, Any Vegetable Oil will do

Zojirushi 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer

Cooking Instructions

  1. First thing we should do is get our coconut rice ready. Wash the 3 times, pretty much just put the rice in the rice cooker pot, fill it up with water swish your hands around and drain, repeat a couple of times more. Then put all the rice ingredients in and add some water. Mix it all up with your hands.Then put to cook. Here is a little tip to cook the perfect rice. The rule of finger: stick you finger into the pot uncooked rice and touch the bottom with the tip of your finger and measure the depth of the rice, the water should be the same depth above the rice.
  2. Deep fry the anchovies. Deep fry the dried anchovies until light brown and crispy. Drain the oil and leave the anchovies to cool.
  3. Preparing the Belacan ( shrimp paste ). Cut of about 100 gm of belacan and fry in a woke or nonstick pan until it dries out. The aroma can be a little overwhelming at first. Do not be put off. It will taste fantastic when everything is fully prepared. Although I do advise you do this with an open window.
  4. Tamarind juice Pour One and a half cups of water into the tamarind and mashed it up with your hands until the pulp separates from the seed. Sift out the pulp.
  5. Preparing the sauce. The hardest part of making a good nasi lemak is the sauce. Traditionally its made with a mortar and pestle and that is the way I usually make mine. But to make it simpler just use a food processor. Throw in the peeled shallots, garlic and washed dry chilli and blend until its a paste.
  6. Cooking the sauce Heat a pan with oil and fry blended paste for 3 minutes on a high heat, add belacan and spices and cook for another 3 minutes stirring vigorously the whole time. Lower heat to medium and pour in the tamarind juice and leave to simmer until sauce thickens, then throw in the deep fried anchovies. Stir a couple of times and your sauce is ready.

© 2013 ketage


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    • ketage profile image

      ketage 4 years ago from Croatia

      Hi, Vacation Trip, thanks for commenting. If you enjoy spicy food, you will like Nasi lemak, the sauce is sweet and spicy, and the rice is creamy, it's a tasty dish.

    • Vacation Trip profile image

      Susan 4 years ago from India

      Wow. This recipe sounds interesting. Thank you for sharing.