Malaysian Nasi Lemak

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Malaysian Nasi Lemak is immensely popular, often given the attribute of being the country’s national dish. This recipe is one of many possible variations on the dish, featuring a delicious, spicy anchovie/garlic/onion sauce as one of the garnishes. Malaysian Nasi Lemak is often traditionally served with a spicy meat curry called “Rendang“, which is shown in the image below, just to the right of the boiled egg at the top of the plate.

(Note: for the Rendang recipe, Click Here)

Malaysian Nasi Lemak

(Photo Attributed to Author: Mw12310)

Malaysian Nasi Lemak Recipe-


(serves 4)

For the rice:
  • 2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground ginger root
  • 1″ length of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced very thin
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
 For the garnishes:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raw peanuts
  • 4 oz. canned anchovies, package brine rinsed off
For the sauce:
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized white or yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. sambal oelek chili paste
  • 4 oz. canned anchovies, package brine rinsed off, and chopped fine
  • 4 tbsp. granulated white cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup tamarind juice
  • salt, to taste
  1. Using a medium-sized skillet over medium flame, stir and combine together the rice, water, coconut milk, sliced ginger, ground ginger, bay leaf and salt. Cover the skillet and bring the flame up to a vigorous, rolling boil; turn the flame down to just a simmer, and cook until the rice is tender – about 25 to 30 minutes should do it.
  2. In another skillet, place the eggs and pour in enough cold water to cover them. Raise the heat to high, bring the water to a vigorous boil, and then cut the heat off immediately. Remove the skillet and set it aside, with the cover on. Allow to stand in the still tepid water for about 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the eggs out, douse them in cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel them and slice them in half lengthwise.
  3. Wash the cucumber and chop it into bite-sized chunks. Some people like to peel the cucumber, the choice is yours.
  4. While the rice is cooking and the eggs are boiling, you can stay busy. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 cup of vegetable oil over medium-high flame. Add in the peanuts and fry them until nicely browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the peanuts and place them on a paper towel-lined tray, to drain off and soak up the excess oil.
  5. Back to the stove, add and stir in 4 oz. of canned (and rinsed) anchovies. Fry for just a short time, they will get nice and crispy (which you want) in short order. Again use a slotted spoon to remove them and place on a paper towel-lined tray or platter.
  6. Now empty the skillet of the oil, and wipe it out, but do not wash or clean it. You want just a little of the peanut/anchovie-seasoned oil residue left in it.
  7. Now heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the skillet, over medium-high flame. Add and stir in the shallots, garlic and onion; sauté until softened, translucent and fragrant – 1 or 2 minutes should do it. Reduce the heat to medium, then add and stir in the sambal oelek chili paste, and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Add a little water if your chili paste is too dry.
  8. Add and stir in the chopped anchovies, and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the tamarind juice, sugar and salt; reduce heat to just a lively simmer, and cook, stirring now and then, for about 5 more minutes, or until your sauce has reached the desired thickness consistency.
  9. To serve your Malaysian Nasi Lemak, place a large ball of the rice in the center of each serving plate. Place the garnishes: boiled egg halves, anchovies, roasted peanuts, cucumbers, and the anchovie/garlic/onion sauce spaced around the rice in an attractive manner.
  10. A traditional side dish to include with Nasi Lemak is beef or lamb Rendang.

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