Nasi lemak or coconut milk rice is a popular breakfast food in Indonesia and I believe also at its neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore. Nasi means rice in Indonesian language, and lemak means fat (the fat from the coconut milk). The rice is cooked with coconut milk, and flavored with screwpine leaves (pandan leaves), and lemon grass. It is usually sold wrapped in banana leaves, with cucumber slices, small dried anchovies (ikan teri/ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, fried chicken, fried fish, hot spicy sauce (sambal), and along with many other things you want in your nasi lemak, such as cuttlefish, beef rendang. The nice thing about nasi lemak is that you can make it as elaborate as you want, meaning as many side dishes as you wish or as few as just sambal, peanuts, and chicken for example. I prepared 4 sides: fried chicken wings, green bean stir-fry with chili, sambal potatoes, and omelettes. You don’t have to prepare all these if you don’t feel like it.

The best part about making nasi lemak again the other day was that my daughter loves it too. My husband ? all I heard was “nom..nom..nom” The best sound to my ears of course !!

What you will need:
Coconut milk rice:
  • 2 cups of uncooked jasmine rice (washed several times and drained)
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 pandan leaves (screwpine leaves-knotted)
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (bruised and cut into 2-inch pieces)
Sambal chili :
  • 1 cup shallots (peeled)
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 1 cup of dried red chili (soaked for at least 30 minutes in hot water)
  • 1 tsp of dried shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 5 candlenuts
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp of sugar (add more if you want a bit sweeter)
  • 1 Tbsp of grape seeds oil or oil of your choice
Fried chicken wings:
  • 2 lbs chicken wings, mid-joint
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp white pepper powder
  • 1 Tbsp shao xing wine
  • 1¼ cups of rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp of corn starch
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ¾ cup of water
  • Oil for deep-frying
Green beans:
  • ½ lb green beans (cut both ends off and thinly sliced at an angle)
  • 2 oz dried shrimp (soaked in warm water until soft and roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup of long green chili (or use serano peppers if you can't find them)
  • 5 shallots (peeled)
  • 2 Tbsp of oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 large potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 4 oz raw medium shrimp (peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup of dried red chili (soaked in warm water until soft)
  • 5 shallots (peeled)
  • Small bunch of curry leaves
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar or more to taste
  • Dash of salt to taste
  • Oil to deep fry the potatoes
Omelette (make about 6 thin omelettes):
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp of water
  • 1 Tbsp of grape seeds oil or oil of your choice
  • 1 small cucumber (washed and thinly sliced)
  • 2 roma tomatoes (washed and thinly sliced)
cooking method for rice:
  1. If you have a rice cooker, life couldn’t be any easier, just put everything in the rice cooker (with exception of the screwpine leaves)and press the cook button, add the screwpine leaves about 10 minutes towards the end of cooking time. My mom actually taught me this little secret so that the screwpine leaves will release the right amount of flavor.
  2. If you don’t own one, use a dutch oven. Bring the water and coconut milk to a boil and then add the rice. Lower the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked . Add the screwpine leaves in and stir for a bit. Cover with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes until the rice is cooked through and fluffy
Making the chili sauce:
  1. To make the chili sauce, use a food processor to process all the ingredients (except for sugar and vinegar) into a smooth paste
  2. In a saucepan, heat up some oil. Saute the chili paste until fragrant, about 5 minutes, then add in the sugar and white vinegar. Taste and add more sugar if you want it a bit sweeter. The chili sauce will turn slightly darker when the sugar caramelized. The chili sauce should be sweet and spicy
Chicken wings:
  1. Marinate the chicken with salt, sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper, and wine for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator
  2. When ready to fry the chicken. Preheat oil in a pot. Mix the rice flour, corn starch, baking powder. Stir to mix everything well. When the oil is hot enough, pour in water into the flour mix and stir, you should get a rather thick batter. One by one, dip the chicken into the batter and gently place into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd and fry them in batches if needed. Set aside in a absorbent paper towel
Green beans:
  1. In a food processor, pulse the chili and shallots into a coarse paste. Prepare a big pot of water and bring to a boil. Blanch the green bean for about 5 minutes. It should still be green and crunchy. Discard water
  2. Preheat oil in a skillet/wok, add in the chili paste and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Add in the dried shrimp and stir-fry until really fragrant, about 5 minutes. Tip in the green beans and continue to saute for another 3 minutes or so. Season with salt to taste. Set aside
  1. Ground the red chili and shallots into a coarse paste. Preheat the oil in a pot. Deep fry the potatoes until they are golden brown. Set aside
  2. In a large skillet, preheat about 2 Tbsp of oil. Saute the chili paste for about 5 minutes. Add in the shrimp and curry leaves and cook until the shrimp turn color, about 1 minute. Add in the fry potatoes and stir to mix everything. Make sure the chili sauce coats the potatoes. Add in sugar and salt. Have a taste, it should be more at a sweet side and lightly spicy
  1. Mix the egg, salt and water in a bowl. In a non-stick small pan, preheat some oil, pour in about ¼ cup of the egg mixture into the pan and tilt the pan to let the egg cover the entire surface of the pan and let it cook for about 1 minute at one side and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg over until you reach the other end. Repeat with the rest of the egg mixture
When ready to serve:
  1. Portion the rice on the plate. Place the chicken, omelettes, potatoes, green beans, chili sambal, and garnishes on the side of the plate
You can prepare as many sides as you want or as few as you desire.

You can also choose to serve your nasi lemak with any or all of the following:


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