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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Serving Size 1
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.