Malaysian Favourite Delicacy: The Nasi Lemak (Coconut Milk Rice)

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Milk Rice) by Huang Kitchen - Feature Photo
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Huang Kitchen Nasi Lemak Recipe

Nasi Lemak Recipe (Coconut Milk Rice) by Huang Kitchen

Nasi lemak, a fragrant rice dish cooked in rich coconut milk is probably the most popular dish in Malaysia. It is rich, decadent, colourful and so delightful.

Nasi Lemak Recipe

A truly remarkable Nasi Lemak (Coconut Milk Rice) is not to be taken lightly. It constitutes of good quality rice cooked in rich and creamy coconut milk with screw pine leaves infused during the cooking process to create the best flavours and texture. Hence much effort is required to prepare this legendary dish.

Huang Kitchen Nasi Lemak Recipe- Sambal

Sambal ikan bilis is a very important component for the cooking of Nasi Lemak. It is a vital accompaniment and a MUST have dish for Nasi Lemak (Coconut Milk Rice). To make the sambal, first fry the dried anchovies and then cook them with a spice paste, tamarind juice and the flavourful shrimp paste. And what we have is a much craved for anchovy dish, sambal ikan bilis.

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Coconut Milk Rice

  • 1 kg rice (preferably basmati rice), 5 1/2 cups
  • 6 cups water
  • 200 ml thick coconut milk, of 1 coconut
  • 3 pandan leaves (screwpine leaves), knotted and slightly bruised
  • 2 stick lemongrass, crushed
  • 1 ginger, crushed
  • 1 tsp sugar, to taste
  • 2 tsp salt, to taste

Sambal Ikan Bilis (Chilli Anchovies)

  • 3 cups ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 12 shallots
  • 30 dried chillies or 150ml chilli paste
  • 3 tsp belacan (prawn paste)
  • 1 tsp alt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 red onions, cut into rings
  • 1 tamarind pulp, 3 ping pong size
  • 3 cups water, to soak tamarind pulp

Other Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, hard boiled, cut into halves
  • 1 cucumber, cut into slices
  • 2 cups peanuts


1. First rinse the rice and drain. Place the drained rice in a rice cooker.

Nasi Lemak Recipe - Drain rice    Nasi Lemak Recipe - Cook Rice

2. Pour 50ml of the thick coconut milk into a measuring cup, dilute with water and season with sugar and salt.

Nasi Lemak Recipe - coconut milk   Nasi Lemak Recipe - dilute with water

3. Pour the coconut milk mixture into the drained rice in the rice cooker. Add in additional water so that the amount of coconut milk is the same as the rice in volume.

Nasi Lemak Recipe - add coconut milk   Nasi Lemak Recipe - top with water

4. Lastly add in crushed ginger, lemongrass and screw pine leaves. Switch on the rice cooker and cook the rice.

Nasi Lemak Recipe - add spices   Nasi Lemak Recipe - cook rice

5. When the rice reaches warming stage, add the balance (150ml) of the thick coconut milk. Stir the rice and continue cooking until done. Fluff up the rice and serve it hot, later.

Nasi Lemak Recipe - cook rice   Nasi Lemak Recipe - fluff rice   Nasi Lemak Recipe

6. Then prepare to cook the sambal. Blend soaked and deseeded dried chillies to chilli paste. Next, blend together shallots and garlic.

Nasi Lemak Recipe-blend chillies   Nasi Lemak Recipe-blend onions

7. Rinse the dried anchovies in cold water and leave to dry thoroughly. Then fry the anchovies over low heat until they turn light brown and crisps. Strain and set aside.

Nasi Lemak Recipe-wash anchovies   Nasi Lemak Recipe-fry anchovies

8. Slice the onions into rings. Next, soak the tamarind pulp in water for 15 minutes and then squeeze to extract the flavour into the water. Using a strainer, drain the pulp and keep the tamarind juice.

Nasi Lemak Recipe-slice onions   Nasi Lemak Recipe-tamarind juice

9. Then fry the sambal. First heat some oil in wok. Fry prawn paste (belacan) until it releases its flavour.Then add in chilli and spice paste and fry until fragrant.

Nasi Lemak Recipe-fry belacan   Nasi Lemak Recipe-fry chillies and spices

10. Add in the onion rings followed by the fried dried anchovies. Then add tamarind juice and season with salt and sugar. Simmer over low heat until gravy thickens and we’re done!

Nasi Lemak Recipe-fry sambal   Nasi Lemak Recipe-fry sambal

11. Set aside to serve alongside the coconut milk rice.

Nasi Lemak Recipe-fry sambal

12. Next, rinse and drain well raw peanuts. Stir fry in wok for 5 minutes. Add a little oil and fry till they begin to brown. Then set aside to serve together with nasi lemak.

Nasi Lemak Recipe-rinse raw peanuts   Nasi Lemak Recipe-add oil   Nasi Lemak Recipe-fry till brown

13. Hard boil some eggs. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggs in halves when they have cooled.

Nasi Lemak Recipe-hard boil eggs   Nasi Lemak Recipe-slice hard boiled eggs

14. Cut off both ends and peel the cucumber. Then slice into thick slices. And we’re done!

Nasi Lemak Recipe-slice cucumbers

15. Dish up the hot coconut milk rice on a plate and serve alongside with all the other ingredients. Be sure to Enjoy!

Nasi Lemak Recipe

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