Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) with Side Dishes


Good afternoon, dear friends, πŸ˜€

Today’s lunch for my family was Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) with Curry Chicken, Curry Potatoes, Fried Pappadoms (some kind of Indian chips), Fried Anchovies, Fried Peanuts, Cucumber slices, Hard Boiled Eggs and Sambal (Onion Chili paste). No, πŸ˜† I didn’t cook this but has bought this from a place near my house. Today, the weather is just so terribly hot that cooking in the kitchen is out of question for me. πŸ™„ So, I thought I would post here my own recipes for Nasi Lemak. πŸ˜‰

This dish is a very popular breakfast meal in Malaysia, and originated from the Malay culture. Traditionally the rice and accompaniments are wrapped in banana leaves and the accompaniments are simple with just Sambal Ikan bilis (dried anchovies) , hard boiled eggs and slices of cucumber. Nowadays, city folks have added to the accompaniments, making the nasi lemak more exciting, such as beef or chicken rendang (dried curry), fried chicken, sambal sotong (squid) /kerang(cockles) and even non-spicy fried chicken. πŸ˜€

When I cook this meal for my family of 6, I usually cook 12 cups of rice and prepare many types of accompaniments (usually Pandan Fried Chicken, Chicken Curry, Potato Curry, Prawn and Squid Sambal) and we would happily eat this for lunch and dinner! πŸ˜†

Below are the various recipes to make a complete Nasi Lemak meal. Hope you like them!

(Note added on 11 Sept, 2008 – two weeks back, I cooked Nasi Lemak with Brown Rice (picture below) and you can READ HEREΒ Β about it and the recipes there )

Bon Appetit! πŸ˜€

Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice)

Method 1 (by boiling)

2 cups of rice
3 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1 stalk of lemon grass, smashed at the tip to let out the fragrance
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, smashed
5 shallots/small onions, sliced.
2 Pandan leaves, tie into a knot
Salt, to taste

Bring coconut milk to a slight boil in a non-stick pan or pot.
Add rice and the rest of the ingredients into pot. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes on a medium flame till liquid dries up and rice is cooked through.

Method 2 (by steaming)


300 gm fragrant jasmine rice, washed
450 ml coconut milk
1 tsp salt
5 thin slices of ginger
1/4 of an onion, sliced thinly or 5 shallots, sliced
1 stalk lemon grass, end smashed
2 daun pandan/screwpine leaves, tied into a knot

Put all ingredients into a steaming tray and steam over high heat until rice is cooked and dry. Stand for 15 minutes before fluffing up with fork or chopsticks.

Note:- For those of you who are using canned coconut milk, you can use it straight from the can (canned coconut milk imported from Thailand are good).
Be sure to stir it thoroughly before using. There is also a powdered form of coconut milk, too, and you just follow the instructions on the packet to use it.For the rice to have the right consistency, it will depend on the type of rice used and method of cooking so you need to have a few tries there to get it right. If you can’t find lemon grass or pandan/screwpine leaves, it is okay, too.

Otherwise, if you have an automatic rice cooker, just follow the usual cooking instructions for rice. πŸ˜‰


Accompaniments to Nasi Lemak

The following accompaniments are a must to make the Nasi Lemak authentic and more exciting :-

1) Hard Boiled eggs – peeled and cut into halves for serving

2) Cucumber – peeled and sliced for serving

3) Ikan Bilis (or dried anchovies) – these are washed and wiped dry before deep frying them in some oil. Remove from oil, cool and then store in an airtight container before serving, to main the crispness.

4) Roasted Peanuts – dry roast some peanuts over low fire in a pan until it is golden brown. When cooled, put them in an airtight container before serving.

Sambal Ikan Bilis


1/2 cup dried ikan bilis (anchovies, not the canned type)

2 large onions
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger
1/2 inch turmeric or 1 tbsp turmeric powder
8 shallots
16 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
Prawn paste ( belacan) ( Optional )
2 tbsps tamarind juice, or lemon/lime juice
Salt and sugar to taste

(Note: Personally, I like to add in some bottled tomato ketchup and chili sauce for added flavour)


Use the oil left over from frying the ikan bilis.

Grind the prawn paste together with shallots, garlic, deseeded dried chillies, ginger and turmeric and a bit of water.

Slice the onion into rings.

Heat 4 – 5 tbsps oil in a pan and fry the ground ingredients until fragrant. Add in the onion rings. Add tamarind juice, salt, sugar.

Cook, stirring occasionally until the gravy thickens.

You may like to add a little more water to maintain the liquidity. Add in the ikan bilis and mix well.

Note – you can reduce the dried chillies to cut down the spicyness but in this case, you just add more tomato ketchup (like 1/2 cup or so. It can be adjusted to your taste)

Serve with steaming hot Nasi Lemak. Yummy!

O_o, πŸ™„ I am having some problems uploading some pictures for the curry recipes here……:roll: and therefore, I will post them separately in the next post. These dishes are accompaniments to my standard Nasi Lemak fare, and are intended to make my Nasi Lemak meal more exciting for my family and guests! πŸ˜‰

P.S. I don’t know why the font suddenly became large and easy to read in the Nasi Lemak Accompaniment recipes πŸ™„ πŸ™„ ……..oh well…… πŸ˜† πŸ™„

Hearty Appetites to all,

choesf πŸ˜€


16 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    yen1908 said,

    Hi choesf

    Oh yes, your big fonts really is a “scare-offs”. Wow, nasi lemak is our family favourites too. I think will cook only the lemak rice then eat with curry chicken loh! The rest of the items are so time consuming to cook all in one day : smile:

    Thanks for sharing πŸ˜€


  2. 2

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hahaha, the large font almost made you fell off your chair har, yen! πŸ˜€ πŸ™„ I have no idea why it came out like that and I couln’t change it back to normal. Actually the size makes for better reading! πŸ˜†

    Anyway, this will wake up any sleepyheads who happen to read that! πŸ˜€

    For your nasi lemak, just have a meat curry dish in addition to the standard nasi lemak (with eggs, fried anchovies, cucumber slices, fried peanuts, sambal). πŸ˜‰

    Hearty appetites,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  3. 3

    tlsand59 said,

    Hi Choesf,
    My husband just forwarded me your receipe for nasi lemak. He just returned from a two week business trip to China, Korea and Malaysia. His favorite dish while there was nasi lemak. I guess I will now have to learn to cook it for him. I too am a fan of oriental cuisnine. I look forward to trying it out for him and sampling it myself.

    thanks for all the tips. The font is easy to read BTW!!


  4. 4

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hello and welcome, dear tlsand59 πŸ˜€

    You have such a wonderful husband – when he tasted something that he likes when he was in another country, he got you the recipe so that you can both enjoy those foods together! πŸ˜€

    In fact, I just bought Nasi Lemak with all the sides and Beef Rendang (Dried Beef Curry) for my family’s brunch today – the kids are having their school holidays now.

    If you have any questions regarding the recipes for Nasi Lemak, do post them here and I’ll be glad assist you. Happy Cooking and let me know how your Nasi Lemak meal turned out. πŸ˜€

    With peace and joy,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  5. 5

    xiaopearl said,

    erm wad if it cook fer only 1 person to eat?
    how many cup of rice should we put?
    and can pandan leaves?not banana leaves?


  6. 6

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear xiaopearl πŸ˜€

    I would cook 1 cup of rice for one person and it really depends on how big a portion of rice that the person eats. For example, I have one cup of cooked rice for dinner, but my husband would have 2 cups.

    The pandan leaves are used to give a good aroma to the coconut rice, whilst the banana leaves is not to be cooked, but placed onto a plate below hot coconut nice so that the rice smells even better. The banana leaves can be omitted.

    Happy Cooking!

    With peace and harmony,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  7. 7

    Jackie said,

    Hi choesf,

    Thanks for all your lovely recipes. I’m only just starting out in terms of learning to cook. Love your blog and all the wonderful recipes you share so freely.

    My hubby loves nasi lemak and I’m eager to try your recipes but have heard horror stories of the rice not cooking because the coconut milk just turns into oil when boiled instead of being absorbed by the rice. Is there any tips you could share?
    As an experiment, I’m planning to try cooking with two cups of rice before embarking on a bigger pot (since it’s a sin to waste in this difficult financial times). Should I just halve all the ingredients including the coconut milk? I’ve read some recipes which ask for the coconut milk to be diluted with some water so that it can absorbed better and thus the rice will be cooked.

    Really appreciate your kind advice… and once again thanks for all the lovely recipes.

    Many thanks.


  8. 8

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear Jackie πŸ˜€

    I’m glad that you have started on this wonderful culinary journey of home-cooking….there’s nothing like homecooked food to warm a stomach, and to your husband’s heart! πŸ˜†

    I have another link here on my latest Nasi Lemak, hopefully it will give more pointers to you –

    Okay, down to your queries – how the Nasi Lemak turns out will depends on –

    1) the type of rice used. For example, Thai fragrant rice needs lesser liquid, whereas Malaysian local rice loosens easily and may need a bit more water.

    Tip – so, here you need to cook your first Nasi Lemak to see how the rice turns out and learn to improve it from there. Startinn with just 2 cups of rice is a good idea. Yes, during these difficult economic times, it is best not to waste food. πŸ˜‰

    2) the type of coconut milk used – if you are using the packet or canned coconut milk – the consistency is different from the freshly squeezed coconut milk. For 2 cups of rice, just use half a cup of packed or canned coconut milk, or 1 cup of fresh coconut milk. The more coconut milk, the more fragrant or “lemak” the rice. Mix the coconut milk thorough into the balance of the water required to cook your rice.

    Tip – frequent stirring will ensure even distribution of coconut milk and the little bit of oil. Stir all the ingredients thoroughly at the start of cooking, and stir at least 3 to 4 times in between, until the liquid are fully absorbed by the rice. Then, cover the rice to finish cooking.

    3) the mode of cooking rice – if you have an automatic rice cooker, then your job is easier as your rice will not get burnt. If boiling the rice on a stove, you have to keep a close eye on it. Else, you can also steam your rice. Either way, remember to stir your rice frequently.

    Another tip – I would usually add a quarter cup of water more than the usual amount of water to cook 5 cups of rice, because the coconut milk has a thicker consistency than water – you need enough liquid to cook the rice all the way through.

    Don’t worry if the rice turns out not fully cooked (not enough liquid), just put into a heat proof bowl, sprinkle with a quarter cup of water, stir rice thoroughly, cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes. That should do the trick! πŸ˜‰

    Happy Cooking! πŸ˜€

    With peace and harmony,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  9. 9

    Jackie said,

    Hi choesf,

    Thanks for all your tips. I’m going to try making the nasi lemak this weekend. Also planning to make beef rendang (may attempt your recipe as well). Let’s hope they’ll all turn out well. Will most definitely inform you of the outcome – be it good or bad πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for all your help and wonderful recipes.


  10. 10

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Happy Cooking with your Nasi Lemak meal, dear Jackie! I’m sure you will do a good job of it! πŸ˜€


  11. 11

    Amanda said,

    Hello again choesf,

    You provided instructions on how to steam the nasi. How do you prevent the coconut milk from draining through the holes of the steamer or is it a special kind of steamer?

    Tq! Amanda


    • 12

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hello again, dear Amanda πŸ˜€

      I just put the rice and cocunut milk with water into a heat proof pot or casserole, place the whole thing into a wok, and steam over high heat. Be sure to stir the rice about 2 or 3 times throughout the steaming process, to ensure even distribution of the coconut milk. πŸ˜‰

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  12. 13

    Desiree said,


    I am planning to make nasi lemak for 10 adults and 5 kids. Am pondering how to keep the rice fresh and warm as my rice cooker is a bit too small for the quantity. Can you please advise ? Was wondering whether I can wrap the first batch of rice up with fresh banana leaves – still keeping it fresh, warm and smell great. Not sure how to reheat if wrap with the banana leaves ?

    Thanks heaps !!


    • 14

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Desiree πŸ˜€

      You have a good idea there to keep the first batch of rice wrapped in some banana leaves. To reheat, just place the whole thing into a heat-proof container like a mxing bowl and steam it for about 5 to 10 minutes in a wok.

      Or, if you have a microwave, just place rice and banana leaf into a microwaveable container and microwave hot for a few minutes. πŸ’‘

      By then the aromatic banana leaf smell would have infused into the reheated rice…yummy! πŸ˜†

      Happy Cooking!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  13. 15

    Pauline said,

    if we are using the canned coconut milk, do we have to mix with water for the nasi lemak recipe. If no water is needed, i dont think one can of coconut milk is equivalent to 31/2 cups.


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