Nasi Minyak

'Nasi Minyak' or oil rice is cooked with clarified butter and a mixture of five types of spices. Many recognized this fragrant rice from its significant shade of bright yellow. This rice is widely popular in Indonesia, Malaysia and also Singapore.

4.67 stars

Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 20 mins


Scented Rice, Oily Rice

Indonesian, Malay, Malaysian

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Nutrition per Serving

727 kcal
121 g
21 g
15 g

Nasi Minyak is a fragrant rice dish enjoyed with curries and other side dishes. Literally translated from Malay, nasi minyak means oil rice. It is probably named after one of the main ingredients, clarified butter which is also known as ghee. It gives off a wonderful aroma which can be detected miles away. Besides that, the amazing combination of spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and others give the dish a fantastic fragrance and flavour.

Originally from Indonesia, nasi minyak is influenced by the culture of Middle Eastern cooking. The dish was special as it was only served to the Sultan of Palembang (in Indonesia) and the royal guests. As the times passed by, the dish became more common but it is still associated with big celebrations. In neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia, nasi minyak is mainly served to commemorate weddings or the Muslim's thanksgiving ceremony.

Choice of rice grains used

Nasi minyak is made using 'Basmati' rice grains. When cooked, it has a fluffy texture and is less starchy compared to other types of rice. Basmati rice is able to soak up the flavours of the spices while keeping its firm shape resulting in the fluffiness.

Soaking the rice grains isn't required although some recipes might suggest doing so. The heat, milk and water will soften the rice during the cooking process, giving it the optimum texture. Soaking the rice before cooking may result in the rice being too soft and mushy.

Combination of ghee and other fats

Ghee or clarified butter has a stronger taste and smell compared to butter. Some may even find the smell offensive. Hence, adding ghee with other fats such as vegetable oil (e.g. margarine, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil) will tone down the strong smell. Another reason of adding the vegetable oil is to increase the smoke point which is when the heat begins to burn the oil.

Adding raisins and coriander

Sometimes, raisins are added for the extra crunch and sweetness or simply as a garnish. This is optional. However, the leaves and stems of the coriander are added to freshly cooked nasi minyak for its aroma and as garnishing.

Selection of dishes that goes with nasi minyak

Nasi Minyak goes very well with lots of dishes that are filled with spice. Having spices in a dish doesn't mean that it needs to be spicy. It's more about the creamy flavour in the dish. Hence, curry dishes such as curry chicken, ayam masak merah (spicy tomato chicken) and chicken rendang are great selection of dishes to be enjoyed together with nasi minyak.


yellow onion(s)
garlic clove(s)
lemongrass stalk(s)
2 cm
2 tbsp
1⁄2 tbsp
1 cup
star anise
cinnamon stick(s)
green cardamom
pandan leaves
100 ml
evaporated milk (unsweetened)
300 ml
1⁄4 tsp
1⁄2 tsp
turmeric powder
1 tbsp

Steps to Prepare

Nasi Minyak Step 1

Step 1 of 4

Slice shallots and onion. Mince garlic and ginger. Take the bottom part of the lemongrass and bruise it with the back of a knife.

Nasi Minyak Step 2

Step 2 of 4

    • 2 tbsp ghee
    • 1⁄2 tbsp margarine
    • 1 cup rice
    • 1 star anise
    • 1 cinnamon stick(s)
    • 2 clove(s)
    • 2 green cardamom
    • 1 pandan leaves

Heat ghee and margarine in a rice pot over medium heat. Add lemongrass, shallots, onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté until soft. Then, stir in star anise, clove, cardamom pods and cinnamon until fragrant. Meanwhile, rinse rice and discard excess water. Add a knotted pandan leaf to the pot and sauté for about 30 seconds before adding rice.

Nasi Minyak Step 3

Step 3 of 4

    • 100 ml evaporated milk (unsweetened)
    • 300 ml water
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Add evaporated milk, water and a pinch of salt into the pot. Mix well and once liquid begins boiling, reduce heat to the minimum and cover the pot. Cook rice for another 15 minutes. Turn off the stove.

Nasi Minyak Step 4

Step 4 of 4

    • 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tbsp water
    • 2 coriander

Mix water and turmeric powder evenly. Pour turmeric water onto cooked rice. Place fresh coriander (stalks and leaves) into the pot of rice. Cover it and let the rice sit for another 10 minutes before serving.

Published: June 11, 2019

3 Discussions

Lynn De Silva
4 years ago

Lynn De Silva

Hi. What kind of cup do you use for measuring the rice & water, please?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

The standard measuring cup.

4 years ago


The Guardian is not very happy with this dish :( but it's ok :)

4 years ago


I used 1 cup of nasi which is 240 ml. I added 100 ml of evaporated milk and 300 ml of water. It turns out quite mushy. So should reduce the water or the milk?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Hi Valerie, the rice can get mushy if excess water is captured between the rice grains. Make sure you pour out all the water after rinsing. If you reduce the liquid, keep a 1:3 ratio. For example, 90ml milk and 270ml water. Hope it works out next time!

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