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Nasi Lemak

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Nasi Lemak

Rice & Noodles
Rice & Noodles


Total Time
Total Time
Prep 20 M / Cook 40 M

2 Servings

Grace Teo
Grace Teo   thegraceteo
Published on February 14, 2014

  Based on 4075 ratings  Watch Now


0.25 tsp
lemongrass stalk(s)  
pandan leaves
75 ml
coconut milk
1.5 cup
1 cup
4 tbsp


Nasi lemak literally means ‘rice’ and ‘fat’. However, the ‘fat’ refers to the creaminess of the coconut milk which is used in cooking the rice. It is a very popular dish that is widely available at roadside stalls, markets, food courts in shopping malls and even in 5 stars hotels in Malaysia. It is highly popular in Singapore and Brunei too. Nasi lemak is also pre-packed and sold at 'Mamak' eateries too. The fragrance of this dish comes from the pandan leaves as well as the rice which is infused with coconut milk.

Basic plate of nasi lemak

A basic plate of nasi lemak consists of steamed coconut rice, 'sambal', fried anchovies, slices of cucumber and a slice of fried or hard boiled egg. Additionally, curry chicken, squids sambal, fried fish or chicken rendang may be added. The list could go on according to individual preferences. It is actually a wholesome meal by itself and often eaten throughout the day. Of course, do not forget the cup of teh tarik to go with it as it complements the dish.

How to prepare nasi lemak ahead

As simple as it may seem, the preparation can be quite tedious. Cooking the sambal one day before definitely shortens the cooking time. Besides that, anchovies and the peanuts may be fried in advanced too. Once they are cooled to room temperature, they can be stored in air tight containers for up to 3 days.

The nasi lemak sauce

The dark red sauce which is served alongside nasi lemak is known as sambal. It is made up of a combination of mainly chilies, shallots and garlic. There are many varieties and recipes of this sambal. Normally, nasi lemak is often served with a simple sambal and but depending on the vendors, anchovies, prawns or squids are sometimes added to it.

Nasi lemak is a great recipe for gatherings especially when you are planning to introduce Malaysian food to your foreign guests. To make it more authentic, wrap nasi lemak in banana leaves to make it distinctively a Malaysian tradition.

Nasi Lemak is also known as: Nasi Lemak RecipeCoconut Milk Rice椰浆饭



Step 1/4

  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 1 lemongrass stalk(s)  
  • 2 pandan leaves
  • 75 ml coconut milk
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 1 cup rice

Wash the rice and put into a pot. Add coconut milk, water, a pinch of salt, pandan leaves (knotted) and lemongrass. Optionally, you may add 2 cardamom


Step 2/4

Bring to boil, then lower heat to minimum. Cover the pot with the lid. Allow rice to cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the liquid dries up and holes appear on the surface. Turn off the stove and leave the lid on for another 10 minutes before serving the rice.


Step 3/4

  • peanuts
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • anchovies

Ensure oil is hot before frying the peanuts (with skin) at medium heat until browned. Remove peanuts. Then, add anchovies and fry till golden brown or crispy.


Step 4/4

  • 2 egg(s)
  • cucumber(s)

Serve rice with side dishes such as boiled or fried egg, fried peanuts, fried anchovies, sambal, cucumber slices and chicken rendang. To make the dish more fragrant, serve it on banana leaf.

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