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How to cook ”Coconut Milk Rice” Nasi Lemak

How to cook coconut milk rice nasi lemak

Aroma Malaysia’s Most Famous Dish: Nasi Lemak

Coconut rice, chili on the side, slivers of anchovy, nuts, and a boiled egg: meet Malaysia’s national dish, the nasi lemak. A simple everyday meal gracing the dinner table of Malaysians all across the country, this beloved dish has a history as humble as its ingredients.

The nasi lemak started off as a farmer’s meal. Long days in the field meant a filling dish ready for on-the-go eating was essential. The rice, oils, and fish provided a balanced diet in one packet, and it was easily concocted too. A recipe of Malay origin, it made use of the seafront harvests, coconuts, and fish.

Plain white rice is steamed in coconut milk; not cooked, for the risk of burning the rice is higher. Coconut milk, or santan, is the “Lemak” of the dish: the richness. Often, cooks will add a little extra something to personalize the flavor of the rice, such as ginger, lemongrass, or shallots, but always pandan to create the trademark subtle taste.

A spicy, semi-sweet chili paste is drizzled on the side of the plate; each distinguishable from the next. Malaysians, being of multicultural Asian heritage, have a fondness for spices that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. More signature-worthy than the rice, this crucial element to the nasi lemak can range from a complementary sweetness to bold spiciness. The chili oils provide a great mix for the rice, giving it that beautiful vermilion stain.

Fried anchovies, nuts, cucumber, and a boiled egg

This handful of side dishes helps transform the packet into a nutritionally balanced meal. The anchovies are usually the fatter, flat variety, instead of the needle-thin ones, while the egg might come sliced in halves – but without even one of these, the nasi lemak is unacceptable.


For the rice

  • coconut milk steamed rice
  • 2 cups rice
  • 3 pandanus leaves, tie them into a knot
  • salt to taste
  • 1 can coconut milk (5.6 oz)
  • water

Sambal Ikan Bilis (Dried Anchovies Sambal

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 cup dried anchovies
  • 4 shallots
  • 10 dried chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Tamarind pulp, size of a small ping pong ball with 1/2 cup of water
  • 6 tbs of cooking oil
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, cut into half
  • 20 pinch of dried anchovies
  • 1 small cucumber, cut into slices and then quartered


  1. Just like making steamed rice, rinse your rice and drain. Add the coconut milk, a pinch of salt, and some water. Add the pandan leaves to the rice and cook your rice.

2. Fry the anchovies until they turn light brown and put aside.

3. Dry chilies unseeded,red onion and shallots (put into mix blender finely into thick paste.

4. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the thick paste until fragrant in low heat.

then add tamarind juice as above mentioned with salt and sugar lastly add anchovies and stir well. . Simmer on low heat until the gravy thickens. Set aside.

5. Cut the cucumber into slices and then quartered it into four small pieces. Dish up the steamed coconut milk rice and pour some sambal anchovies on top of the rice. Serve with cucumber slices, and hard-boiled eggs or fried eggs.


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