Nasi Lemak Recipe

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A few weeks ago during my trip to Prahran Market, I picked up all the ingredients I needed to make my own version of homemade Nasi Lemak – one of the most popular local dishes in Malaysia. Majority of the ingredients for this dish were from Lee’s Asian Grocery, which is my favourite stall at Prahran Market. They even had fresh banana leaves to make my dish look pretty and fresh pandan leaves to make my coconut rice smell yummy!

I then headed over to the Poultry, Meat and Seafood section to pick up my chicken wings from D & J Poultry and fresh little sardines from Claringbold’s Seafoods. I was SO surprised to see fresh sardines! It was exactly what I needed to make my dish that little bit more special. Finally, I needed a decent amount of eggs for this dish so I headed over to the amazing Eggs Plus for my fresh free range eggs. I love this stall, it has all the eggs you can and cannot name! They even sometimes have massive emu and ostrich eggs available… I mean, can you imagine cooking with a giant egg?!

That pretty much completes my shopping for all the ingredients I needed for this dish. I love that I can get ALL my ingredients under one roof, especially since it’s quite a specific Malaysian dish with so many different components. Usually I’d have to slowly obtain the ingredients from various Asian Grocers and supermarkets and butchers / fish shops but I love that I could go to one market and get all the freshest ingredients conveniently.
Going back to my dish, as a direct translation, “Nasi” means Rice and “Lemak” means Fatty which then translates to “Fatty Rice” to represent the creamy, rich coconut rice.
Traditionally, Nasi Lemak comes as a platter of food wrapped in banana leaves, with fragrant coconut rice cooked with pandan leaves, a hot spicy sambal sauce, and several choices of accompaniments such as:

  • Fried Chicken
  • Fried / Hard Boiled Egg
  • Sambal Sotong (Chilli Cuttlefish)
  • Fried Curry Fish
  • Beef Rendang
  • Stir Fried Kangkung
  • Acar (Pickled Vegetables)
  •  Cucumber Slices
  • Fried Anchovies and Roasted Peanuts

I grew up eating and loving Nasi Lemak. What is there not to love? Every single component of this dish screams deliciousness. As a kid (and sometimes even now at home), I would dig into this dish with my bare hands and clean up the plate. The eating experience is so much more enjoyable and the food seems so much tastier when eating using bare hands.

I was very pleased with all the ingredients I picked up from the market, and very happy with the end result. It is a bit of work, as there are many elements to this dish, but it is all worth it. You can keep it simple by reducing the number of accompaniments and keeping to just the basic rice, sambal, egg and anchovies / peanuts combination.

Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Serves 4-6
Coconut Rice: 

3 cups of medium grain rice
400ml coconut milk
200ml water
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
2 pandan leaves
In a rice cooker, combine all the above ingredients and stir well before cooking.

Sambal Chilli for Nasi Lemak:
500g chilli paste
250g shallots
2 big onions
1/2 cup cooking oil
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp gula melaka
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 piece of belachan
1/2 tbsp assam juice
Slice shallots and big onions thinly.
Heat cooking oil and fry sliced shallots and big onions until fragrant.
Add in chilli paste and belachan and fry until thick about 30 minutes.
Finally add sugar, gula melaka, assam juice and salt to taste.

Fried Chicken:
8-10 chicken wings
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 packet of Kentucky seasoning flour
Oil for deep frying
Dip chicken wings into egg white, and coat with Kentucky flour. Deep fry until golden brown. Set aside.

Fried Egg:
4-6 eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frypan on high heat. Fry each egg on one side, covering the pan for 30 seconds to cook the top side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Fried Fish:
8 fresh sardines
1 tbsp curry powder
Oil for deep frying
Lightly coat sardines with curry powder and deep fry until crispy. Set aside.

To Serve:
Cucumber slices
Roasted peanuts
Fried anchovies
Banana leaves
Place banana leaves onto plates. Plate up coconut rice, followed by fried egg on top, with the sambal, fried chicken, fried fish, cucumber slices, roasted peanuts and fried anchovies. Serve immediately and enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Nasi Lemak Recipe

  1. It looks beautiful! I love making a vegetarian version at home. I'm not used to the effort of preparing all the separate components but it's always worth it. 🙂


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