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Nasi Lemak

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Nasi Lemak

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Adjust Servings:
2 pieces Banana Leaf about 30cm long
1 Lebanese Cucumber sliced
2 tbsp Whole Roasted Peanuts
2 Egg hard-boiled, halved
Fresh Coriander for garnish
Coconut Rice
400g Jasmine Rice
3 Pandan Leaves knotted
1 stalk Lemongrass white part only, bruised
160 ml Coconut Milk
160 ml Water
A pinch Salt
2 cups Dried Anchovies Ikan Bilis
60 ml Vegetable Oil
1 clove Garlic chopped
3 Asian Shallots red, chopped
8 Long Red Chilli dried, deseeded and sliced
1 tsp Belacan (type of shrimp paste)
1 small Red Onion thinly sliced
150 ml Tamarind Water
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Caster Sugar

Malaysia's National Dish and Nick's second favourite meal! (It was beaten by feijoada.)





Last year we had Nasi Goreng for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but I think poor Rio Ferdinand has taught us that it is in fact Thailand’s national dish. I have on good authority that Nasi Lemak is the national dish of Malaysia so hopefully I won’t cause a social media storm!

Nasi Lemak is usually served with curry, rendany or fried chicken on the side. We went for the path of least resistance with fried chicken.

I had some rather special help with my ingredient gathering for this recipe. A friend had recently returned from visiting family in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur and gave me fresh pandan leaves from the garden, becalan, dried anchovies and some of her mother’s home-made Sambal.

As she handed the anchovies over she warned me that they were an acquired taste. I’ll be honest both the Sambal I made and her mother’s were too fishy for me, but the rest was delicious with the chicken.

However my other half over ate so much he had to lie flat on the sofa. He has declared this his second favourite Grand Prix meal ever – high praise indeed.



To prepare the rice

To prepare the coconut rice, wash the rice three times, then drain and place in a medium saucepan with all the remaining ingredients. Level the rice with the palm of your hand, then rest the tip of your index finger on the surface of the rice. Add more water until the water level reaches the first knuckle. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the liquid comes to the boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stand, without removing the lid for another 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, to prepare the sambal, rinse the dried anchovies, drain and pat dry. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the anchovies and stir-fry until light golden. Pour into a sieve placed over a bowl, then drain the anchovies on paper towel and set aside.


In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, red shallot, dried chilli and shrimp paste until a smooth paste forms.


Pour the oil used to fry the anchovies back into a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the garlic and shallot paste for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the red onion and half the fried anchovies and combine well. Add the tamarind water, salt and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sambal has slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.


To serve, place the banana leaves on 2 plates. Spoon the coconut rice into two rice bowls, then invert them onto the banana leaves. Surround the rice with the sliced cucumber, peanuts, boiled eggs and remaining fried anchovies then top with a large dollop of sambal and coriander sprigs.


NB: To make the tamarind water, soak 50 g tamarind pulp in 200 ml boiling water, breaking it up a little with a whisk and stand until cool enough to handle. Using your hands, work the mixture into a thick paste, then push the mixture through a sieve, extracting as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. The tamarind water can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Zoe Negus

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