Food - Malaysia - Nasi Lemak

If you’ve ever been to Malaysia but haven’t eaten Nasi Lemak, then you haven’t really been to Malaysia. It's as simple as that. 

Nasi Lemak (freely translated as 'greasy rice') is the breakfast of choice for the locals and if you ask me it is a great start to the day! Some food outlets are already sold out at 8am while others serve Nasi Lemak until 11am or noon (ideal for late sleepers like myself). The dish contains three of the four basic flavours of a classic Asian dish: spicy (chili paste), salty (dried fish and peanuts) and sweet (coconut rice). Nasi Lemak usually doesn’t contain sour flavours. But then again, one Lemak is not necessarily like another, so you may discover a slice of lime in some Lemak variants. 

The Lemaks are usually sold as take-way with the dish folded, old-skool style in a banana leaf or otherwise in thick paper, in a pyramid shape; your breakfast will unfold as a real gift to you. So if you see small pyramids in a food outlet, you’ll be at the right place! 

I, myself, have lost count, but there must be more than a hundred. If this is your first Nasi Lemak, I can only recommend that you make it at least a few times. The more often you make and eat it, the more addictive it becomes. 

What you need: 
  • White, classic rice (a handful is enough for 1 person) 
  • Coconut milk 
  • Sambal (ideally homemade of course, the type you get in a jar is not sambal) 
  • Dried mini fish. These can’t be found at your local supermarket; you will have to head to an Asian shop or you can replace them with salted peanuts 
  • Unsalted, shelled, roasted peanuts (or salted if you don’t have fish) 
  • A hard-boiled egg 
  • Two slices of cucumber 

How to make it : 
  • Cook the rice in coconut milk (add some water to the coconut milk if you want to lessen the sweet taste or if the milk is more like a cream). The rice is usually eaten cold, so you can safely make it in advance. 
  • And you can start serving it! Put your rice in a bowl, press it and turn the bowl of rice onto a plate (you now have a scoop of rice on your plate). Sprinkle a few dried fish and peanuts on top. Place the sambal next to the rice (so that each person can decide on the quantity) and place the boiled egg, cut in half, next to the sambal. Optional: add two slices of cucumber as refreshment afterwards. 
  • Yummy! 

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