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Nasi Lemak - The Coconut Milk Pandan Flavoured Fragrance Rice

Updated on January 1, 2013

What is nasi lemak?

"Nasi lemak" is the most famous fragrance rice cooked in coconut milk with "Pandan" leaves (Pandanus amaryllifolius) in Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It usually served with fried anchovies, "sambal belacan", peanuts, boiled egg, lamb curry, vegetables or "rendang" chicken.

"Nasi lemak" is the name in Malays where "nasi" mean rice and "lemak" mean fat, or so called Fatty Rice. People prefer to call it fragrant rice as it seems weird to call it Fatty Rice.

"Sambal belacan" is the essential sauce that determines how delicious a "nasi lemak" is. It is a mixture of spicy and sweet taste chili-based sauce that plays an important role in "nasi lemak". A "nasi lemak" that without "sambal belacan" will be like a Italian pasta without the tomato sauce.

"Nasi lemak" is a food of all time, mean you can have if as breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is not only available anywhere from stalls, restaurants and it even serves in the five-star hotels.

"Nasi lemak" is a common food in Malaysia and other Asian countries.

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Recipe for Nasi Lemak

coconut milk rice
coconut milk rice

There are a few simple ingredients you will need to cook the rice for nasi lemak. It is easy to cook.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 30 - 45 minutes

Total Time: Approximately 1 hour

Serves: 2


  • 1 cup Rice
  • 3 Pandanus leaves
  • 1 Grated coconut / 2 cups or 16 oz Coconut milk
  • A pinch of salt


  1. 1. Clean the rice and drain.
  2. 2. Squeeze out 2 cups of thick coconut milk and add in with the rice along with Pandanus leaves.
  3. 3. Add in salt.
  4. 4. If you desire, you can also add in some shallots and ginger.
  5. p/s:1It may be difficult to find the pandan leaves in certain country. You can use the Pandan Flavoring Essence or the Pandan Leaves Extract to replace the pandanus leaves.
  6. 2There are canned coconut milks available that you can use directly.
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Nasi lemak - Sambal belacan anchovis
Nasi lemak - Sambal belacan anchovis

Recipe for Anchovies Sambal

This is the essential part of nasi lemak; it can determine how delicious your nasi lemak is.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 30 - 45 minutes

Total Time: Approximately 1 hour

Serves: 2


  • 1 Bombay onion
  • 1/2 cup Dried anchovies
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Tamarind juice
  • 4 Shallots
  • 8 Dried chillies
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp belacan paste (shrimp paste) (optional)


  1. 1. Prepare your frying pan and put in 3 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  2. 2. When the oil is hot, fry the anchovies until crisp and put aside.
  3. 3. Grind belacan paste together with shallots, garlic and seeds removed dried chillies.
  4. 4. Slice the Bombay onion into rings.
  5. 5. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in pan and fry the ground ingredients until fragrant.
  6. 6. Add in the onion rings.
  7. 7. Add in the tamarind juice, salt and sugar. Leave it to cook, stirring occasionally until the gravy thickens.
  8. 8. Add in the anchovies and mix well.
  9. Now it is ready to serve with the steaming hot nasi lemak, accompanied by halved hard boil eggs, slices of cucumber and some friend peanuts.

Feel too troublesome to cook? - Why not get the ready made Sambal Belacan

"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; Garlic makes it good."

by Alice May Brock

I say, "Nasi Lemak makes it Asian!"

The Delicious Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak
Nasi lemak

If you have chance go to Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia. Nasi lemak is the local Malays food that you should not miss. You will definitely like the nice coconut pandan fragrant rice.

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Where to look for Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

show route and directions
A markerDet Station - Only cost RM5.00 per plate of Nasi Lemak with chicken -
No. 19, Jalan Avenue 3, Avenue Ampang, malaysia
get directions

B markerDet Station - Only cost RM4.50 per plate of Nasi Lemak with chicken -
Jalan Bunga Tanjung 18, Taman Seraya, malaysia
get directions

C markerNasi Lemak Crunchy - One plate of Nasi Lemak with crunchy fries chicken costs RM4.50 -
Jalan Kosas Utama, near 711, Taman Kosas, Ampang
get directions

D markerNasi Lemak Subang Jaya - A plate of nasi lemak rendang chicken costs RM4.50. A plate with potato sli -
Persiaran Kewajipan, along Jalan SS 13/1, Subang Jaya
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Thank You! - This lens has been blessed by the below SquidAngels!


Aug 15, 2012 @ 10:55 am

Have you ever tasted Nasi Lemak? - Or at least tell me what do you think about nasi lemak from the picture

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a Recipe I want to try, I hope it is as Good as it Looks!!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      No I haven't, have never heard of it .I will have a go at it though. Thanks for sharing

    • mpalfrey profile image

      Matthew Palfrey 5 years ago

      Nasi Lemak is my favourite dish too! I practically live off it everytime I'm in KK

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Sounds fascinating!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 5 years ago

      Wow, this sounds great - I love anchovies!

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      @Ardyn25: I bet you will be going to fall in love with it.

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      @ae dc: Oh! That is great that you tasted nasi lemak. Everyone that tasted nasi lemak told me the same.

    • ae dc profile image

      ae dc 5 years ago

      interesting dish. i'm from the philippines and have tasted lemak rice. it's great with fried dumplings! (good job on this lens fellow rocketsquid :)

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 5 years ago

      Great lens...I've never heard of nasi lemak, now I'll have to try it. Thanks.