Monday, July 16, 2012

Nasi lemak

Steamed coconut rice, sweet and spicy anchovy sambal sauce, fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, fried or boiled egg, and some sliced cucumbers. These are the basics for a plate of Nasi Lemak, Malaysian's national dish. 'Fatty Rice' is what it literally means and the fat is referred to the coconut milk cooked with the rice making it rich, fragrant and yummy. This dish is also usually served with beef / chicken rendang and stir-fried kangkung (water spinach).

The basic ingredients to prepare a good anchovy sambal sauce are ikan bilis (anchovies), shallots, onions, garlic, ginger, dried chili paste, belacan (shrimp paste), lemongrass, tomatoes and some salt and sugar to balance up the flavor. The key to cooking the perfect tasting sambal is to fry the chili paste in generous amount of oil until the oil separates from the paste and turn to a slightly darker color.

On the other hand, cooking the coconut rice is actually really simple. For 2 cups of rice, add 1 ½ cups of water and 1 ½ cups of coconut milk. Also add in some sliced ginger for the aroma and some salt to taste. Yes, its that easy.

Cooked this for dinner a few days back and the husband loved it. In fact he declared this, the best Nasi Lemak he had ever tasted, even better than his mum's! I also served this for brunch when my friends from Malaysia was over and it was a hit. Will definitely make this dish again when more friends and family are over!

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