Nasi lemak (Malaysian coconut rice)

Nasi lemak (Malaysian coconut rice)


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About this recipe: A fragrant coconut rice dish that is a common breakfast in Malaysia and Singapore, nasi lemak is actually Malaysia's proclaimed national dish. The rice is cooked in coconut milk with aromatic ginger and bay leaf and served with hard-boiled eggs, anchovies, peanuts, cucumber (or tomato) and spicy anchovy chilli sauce. Traditionally served as a platter of food wrapped in banana leaves, this is a gorgeous Malay breakfast that can make a lovely light supper as well.


Serves: 8 

  • For the rice
  • 475ml coconut milk
  • 475ml water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (1.25cm) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 375g long grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • For the garnish
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cucumber
  • 240ml oil for frying
  • 150g raw peanuts
  • 125g white anchovies, washed
  • For the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chilli paste
  • 125g white anchovies, washed
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind juice

Prep:30min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat stir together coconut milk, water, ground ginger, root ginger, salt, bay leaf and rice. Cover and bring to the boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until done.
  2. Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring water to the boil, and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes; remove eggs from hot water, cool, peel and slice in half; slice cucumber.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan or wok heat 240ml vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir in peanuts and cook briefly, until lightly browned. Remove peanuts with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to soak up excess grease; return frying pan to stove. Stir in 125g of anchovies and cook briefly, turning, until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper. Discard oil and wipe out frying pan.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the frying pan. Stir in the onion, garlic and shallots; cook until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes. Mix in the chilli paste and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chilli paste is too dry, add a small amount of water. Stir in remaining anchovies and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, sugar and tamarind juice; simmer until sauce is thick, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve the onion and garlic sauce over the warm rice and top with peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumbers and eggs.

Tamarind juice

Tamarind juice can be found online or at Asian and Indian supermarkets.

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