Nasi Lemak is the de facto national dish of Malaysia. A good nasi lemak recipe is not to be taken lightly; it should be have amazing quality, texture, flavors, and the right ingredients.
Secret Ingredients of Nasi Lemak
Pandan leaves or screwpine leaves in the secret ingredient. The leaves are highly fragrant with floral smell. They are used in many Malaysian recipes.
A nasi lemak will not be authentic without the leaves and coconut milk. The other main ingredient of nasi lemak is sambal. Sambal is the soul of the dish; it brings together all the various toppings and complete the iconic dish.
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Side Dishes for Nasi Lemak
There are a variety of side dishes served on top of the nasi lemak: fried anchovies, fried fish, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, sambal udang (shrimp) or sambal sotong (squid).
Assemble the side dishes on top of the rice and served in on top of banana leaf for the best and most authentic nasi lemak. Enjoy!
How Many Calories per Serving?
This recipe is only 338 calories per serving.
Serve Nasi Lemak With:
For a wholesome dinner, make the following dishes.
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Nasi Lemak Recipe
Nasi lemak - Malaysian coconut milk rice, served with sambal, fried crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts and cucumber. This is the best and most authentic nasi lemak recipe.
- coconut milk steamed rice
- 2 cups rice
- 3 screwpine leaves tie them into a knot as shown above
- salt to taste
- 5.6 oz coconut milk 150 ml-180 ml
- some water
- 1 cup water
- tamarind pulp size of a small ping pong ball
Sambal Ikan Bilis (Dried Anchovies Sambal)
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 cup ikan bilis dried anchovies
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 shallots
- 10 dried chillies
- 1 teaspoon belacan prawn paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 hard boiled eggs cut into half
- 3 small fish sardines or smelt fish
- 1 small cucumber cut into slices and then quartered
1Just like making steamed rice, rinse your rice and drain. Add the coconut milk, a pinch of salt, and some water. Add the pandan leaves into the rice and cook your rice.
2Rinse the dried anchovies and drain the water. Fry the anchovies until they turn light brown and put aside.
Pound the prawn paste together with shallots, garlic, and deseeded dried chilies with a mortar and pestle. You can also grind them with a food processor. Slice the red onion into rings.
Soak the tamarind pulp in water for 15 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind constantly to extract the flavor into the water. Drain the pulp and save the tamarind juice.
5Heat some oil in a pan and fry the spice paste until fragrant. Add in the onion rings. Add in the ikan bilis and stir well. Add tamarind juice, salt, and sugar. Simmer on low heat until the gravy thickens. Set aside.
6Clean the small fish, cut them into half and season with salt. Deep fry. Cut the cucumber into slices and then quartered into four small pieces. Dish up the steamed coconut milk rice and pour some sambal ikan bilis on top of the rice. Serve with fried fish, cucumber slices, and hard-boiled eggs.
The sambal in this nasi lemak recipe is exactly how I like it (I just don’t add any extra salt, because the ikan bilis is already pretty salty).
I like to make this with rendang instead of the fish, also an Incredible recipe on this site.
I love Nasi Lemak:))
What do you do to the peanuts?
Just roasted peanuts.
Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it because my children (who are 1/2 Malaysian and 1/2 Canadian) were craving it. They all agree it tasted just like they remembered when we were in Malaysia
For the cups of rice, is it rice cup or measuring cup? Thanks!
Hi is there a substitute for tamarind juice?
we usually use the fish stock from our asam fish. take ikan aya (local tuna) and boil it with galangal, asam keping (use asam gelugur, don’t use asam kandis although they look similar), and alot of salt. don’t put in much water because we want the fish to be very sour and salty that it hardens the fish meat. after finish boiling it, keep overnight.
next morning only cook the sambal (blended big onion, shallots, small chilies, dried chilies, and old belacan). use alot of oil or it won’t taste nice. then add in palm sugar and sugar. lastly when it’s dried up, put in the fish and its stock. cook for a while until the sambal thickens then it’s ready. this is my own recipe and it taste better than most of the nasi lemaks out there.
Followed it to a T, was awesome. Thank you for sharing