Malaysian Nasi Lemak

Malaysian Nasi Lemak (Authentic Breakfast Recipe)

Rice cooked with coconut milk and Sambal chili on the side with crispy fried anchovies, roasted red skinned peanuts and boiled egg halves.  It is the breakfast of kings and the most delicious of dishes – The beloved Malaysian Nasi Lemak.

All Malaysians, tourists and Expats who have the luck to call Malaysia home adore this delicious and nutritious meal.  It also has a history which is nearly as humble as its simple ingredients.

Table Of Contents

A Brief History Of Malaysian Nasi Lemak.

Malaysian Nasi Lemak began as a farmer’s meal.  A pre-prepared, pre-packaged and filling dish was required for those long days in the fields.

The rice provided carbohydrates, the peanuts, coconut, egg and anchovies added protein and essential oils with cucumber adding hydration.  This provided workers with a near complete balanced diet.  It was easy to make.  It was easy to transport wrapped in simple Banana Leaf.

This dish is adored because of its simple and local individual ingredients.

Steamed Santan Rice

Plain white rice steamed with coconut milk is the essential component.

Coconut milk, or santan, provides the “lemak” of the dish hence the creaminess or richness. Often, cooks tend to add a little something extra to personalize the flavor of the rice.  Garlic, ginger, lemongrass, or shallots are some of the additional flavors.

Pandan is one ingredient that is essential in the preparation of Nasi Lemak.  Therefore it is required to achieve the taste of the Malaysian Nasi Lemak.

Spicy And Sweet Sambal

Liberally added to each plate is the Sambal.  The sambal, spicy and sweet, is always as unique as its creator.

Malaysians have a fondness for spices.  This is due to their multicultural Asian heritage.

More signature-worthy than the rice, this sambal, a crucial element to the Malaysian Nasi Lemak can range from a complementary sweetness to significant spiciness.

The chili oils provide taste and therefore are a great flavor mix for the rice.  The red amber glow of the oils mixed with the rice promises a taste sensation.

Fried Ikan Bilis, Peanuts, Cucumber and Boiled Egg

These small side dish ingredients help to transform the Nasi Lemak package into a nutritionally balanced meal.

Therefore the anchovies and egg are essential to the dish.

Sold everywhere the Nasi Lemak is never far away.  From the little roadside stalls found everywhere across Malaysia to the exclusive five-star restaurants that provide expansive buffets and east meets west fusion foods.

The side dishes may vary, but the best add-ons include rendang, a spicy savory curry usually made with beef; fried chicken spiced and herbed specially; and veggie assortments of spinach or kangkung (water spinach).

Whatever your preferred taste, as a result, the Malaysian Nasi Lemak is sure to impress with its understated flavors and humble charm.

Malaysian Nasi Lemak Recipe

AuthorHolisticJB
RatingDifficultyIntermediate

Nasi Lemak

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Yields6 Servings
Prep Time30 minsCook Time1 hrTotal Time1 hr 30 mins

Coconut Rice
 3 cups Basmati Rice
 1 tbsp salt
 4 garlic cloveswhole but crushed
 1 Fresh Ginger Rootapproximately 1 inch
 2 Pandan LeavesTied into Knots
 3 cups Coconut Milk
 1 ½ cups Water
Fried Peanuts And Anchovies
 200 ml Canola Oil
 1 cup Raw Peanutsskin on
 1 ½ cups Dried Anchovies
Anchovy Sambal
 6 tbsp Sambal Ulek
 4 Cloves Garlicpeeled and left whole
 1 Fresh Ginger Root1 inch peeled and sliced
 4 Shallotspeeled and cut in half
 ¾ cup Water
 6 tbsp Oil
 1 tsp Salt
 1 tsp Sugar
 ½ Medium White Onionthinly sliced
 3 tbsp Tamarind Wateror tamarind liquid concentrate
Garnish
 6 Banana Leaves12 by 9 inches each and cleaned
 ½ Small Cucumbersliced
 6 Hard Boiled Eggscut in half

For The Coconut Rice
1

Wash the rice, it will become cloudy so drain the water and repeat the process until the water remains clear. Place the rice in a large saucepan and add the salt, garlic, ginger, pandan leaves, coconut milk, and water.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer, uncovered, until steam holes appear in the rice and the surface looks dry – about 10 minutes. 10 Minutes

Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook, without stirring, until all the coconut milk is absorbed and the grains are tender and fluffy – about 20 minutes more. 20 Minutes

When the rice is done, discard the garlic, ginger, and pandan leaves and stir the rice.

Malaysian Nasi Lemak

For The Anchovies And Peanuts
2

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan over medium-low heat. When the oil shimmers, add the peanuts and cook until they turn brown – about 5 minutes. 5 Minutes

Transfer the peanuts with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.

Reheat the oil to shimmer point. Carefully add the dried anchovies and fry until golden brown and crispy – about 7 minutes. 7 Minutes

Transfer the anchovies to a paper towel. Discard the oil. Set aside half of the anchovies to serve with rice and use the other half for the Sambal.

peanuts malaysian nasi lemak

For The Anchovy Sambal
3

Blend the sambal ulek, garlic, ginger, shallots, and ¼ cup water in a blender to a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sambal paste, salt, and sugar and stir-fry until fragrant and the oils separate onto the surface – about 10 minutes. 10 Minutes

Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft – about 5 minutes. 5 Minutes

Add the tamarind water and remaining ½ cup water and mix well to combine with the paste. Add half the crispy anchovies and allow to cook for 5 minutes. 5 Minutes

Taste the sambal and add more sugar or salt if needed; you want a balanced sweet-salty taste. Turn off the heat.

malaysian nasi lemak

To Serve Nasi Lemak
4

Line each diner’s plate with a banana leaf. Place 1 cup of the cooked coconut rice in the middle of the leaf. Press the rice into a small bowl or cup first and then invert it onto the plate for a neat domed shape.

Put about 3 tablespoons of the Anchovy Sambal on top of the rice. Place a few slices of cucumber, 2 halves of hard-boiled egg and 1 tablespoon each of the peanuts and fried anchovies around the rice. Serve warm

Traditonal Malaysian Asian Nasi Lemak on a banana leaf

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1

Servings 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 760
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 47g73%
Total Carbohydrate 53g18%
Protein 29g58%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

Coconut Rice
 3 cups Basmati Rice
 1 tbsp salt
 4 garlic cloveswhole but crushed
 1 Fresh Ginger Rootapproximately 1 inch
 2 Pandan LeavesTied into Knots
 3 cups Coconut Milk
 1 ½ cups Water
Fried Peanuts And Anchovies
 200 ml Canola Oil
 1 cup Raw Peanutsskin on
 1 ½ cups Dried Anchovies
Anchovy Sambal
 6 tbsp Sambal Ulek
 4 Cloves Garlicpeeled and left whole
 1 Fresh Ginger Root1 inch peeled and sliced
 4 Shallotspeeled and cut in half
 ¾ cup Water
 6 tbsp Oil
 1 tsp Salt
 1 tsp Sugar
 ½ Medium White Onionthinly sliced
 3 tbsp Tamarind Wateror tamarind liquid concentrate
Garnish
 6 Banana Leaves12 by 9 inches each and cleaned
 ½ Small Cucumbersliced
 6 Hard Boiled Eggscut in half

Directions

For The Coconut Rice
1

Wash the rice, it will become cloudy so drain the water and repeat the process until the water remains clear. Place the rice in a large saucepan and add the salt, garlic, ginger, pandan leaves, coconut milk, and water.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer, uncovered, until steam holes appear in the rice and the surface looks dry – about 10 minutes. 10 Minutes

Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook, without stirring, until all the coconut milk is absorbed and the grains are tender and fluffy – about 20 minutes more. 20 Minutes

When the rice is done, discard the garlic, ginger, and pandan leaves and stir the rice.

Malaysian Nasi Lemak

For The Anchovies And Peanuts
2

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan over medium-low heat. When the oil shimmers, add the peanuts and cook until they turn brown – about 5 minutes. 5 Minutes

Transfer the peanuts with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.

Reheat the oil to shimmer point. Carefully add the dried anchovies and fry until golden brown and crispy – about 7 minutes. 7 Minutes

Transfer the anchovies to a paper towel. Discard the oil. Set aside half of the anchovies to serve with rice and use the other half for the Sambal.

peanuts malaysian nasi lemak

For The Anchovy Sambal
3

Blend the sambal ulek, garlic, ginger, shallots, and ¼ cup water in a blender to a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sambal paste, salt, and sugar and stir-fry until fragrant and the oils separate onto the surface – about 10 minutes. 10 Minutes

Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft – about 5 minutes. 5 Minutes

Add the tamarind water and remaining ½ cup water and mix well to combine with the paste. Add half the crispy anchovies and allow to cook for 5 minutes. 5 Minutes

Taste the sambal and add more sugar or salt if needed; you want a balanced sweet-salty taste. Turn off the heat.

malaysian nasi lemak

To Serve Nasi Lemak
4

Line each diner’s plate with a banana leaf. Place 1 cup of the cooked coconut rice in the middle of the leaf. Press the rice into a small bowl or cup first and then invert it onto the plate for a neat domed shape.

Put about 3 tablespoons of the Anchovy Sambal on top of the rice. Place a few slices of cucumber, 2 halves of hard-boiled egg and 1 tablespoon each of the peanuts and fried anchovies around the rice. Serve warm

Traditonal Malaysian Asian Nasi Lemak on a banana leaf

Malaysian Nasi Lemak

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