MalaysianFood highlight - the Nasi Lemak! I have been planning to make a post on this for a while now, yet I have never gotten enough motivation to get me kickstarted each time. And so I fell victim to procrastination, time and again. There are some pictures securely stored in my "to-blog" folder taken from my previous Nasi Lemak cookout quite a while ago, but you know how some stuff just sadly no longer appear as appealing after you look at them for a good while? Well that happened in this case of mine; and that's me deciding to continue putting that thought on hold, delving further into the "that can wait" mode... right until now.
The cue to make this came out of nowhere just over this past weekend. I have no idea what triggered it, but one thing rolls on to another - I went on to get all the ingredients needed, and the following day - I was all set on recreating the sinfully delicious dish for the day while finding myself busy snapping away with a camera in hand. I guess it's true that you really should follow your passion at times - because when you have got that in hand, you are as good as being halfway through it! The battle will be a breeze! Well not totally, but it just feels right to say that simply... lol.
So here's a post specially dedicated to the famous Malaysian Nasi Lemak! It probably is safe to say that every Malaysian and Singaporean love their Nasi Lemak... with the coconut milk rice infused with the aroma of pandan (screwpine leaves) and ginger served with an egg, then garnished with anchovies fried to a perfect crunch, fresh roasted peanuts, refreshing slices of cucumber and a liberal serving of sweet and spicy sambal... YummMmm... it's just hard to not love everything about it really!
The coconut milk rice recipe was one that I got from my mom - simple and straightforward in fact. This version of mine features the brown rice. Using that i=s definitely not a conscious decision made; the brown rice is what we usually have at home almost on an everyday basis. It can be substituted with the usual jasmine white rice - it's all a personal preference really. Just be sure to adjust the amount of water needed - pretty much just like how you would usually cook the plain rice - white, brown or even red.
The sambal is really what I would think as the limelight of the dish. This sambal recipe is one that I adapted from Ju at The Little Teochew in her post on the Nasi Lemak Sambal Chili. I have so far been trying a different recipe each time I make the Nasi Lemak, in hope to search for the cream of the crop. With me stumbling upon Ju's recipe just recently, I think I am pretty convinced that I can now stop looking around - this is by far one of the really good ones that I have chanced upon. And the best part of it - it is made perfect even without having the need to include the belacan (shrimp paste) in its making. That's Nasi Lemak made a notch healthier!
The previously featured Chicken Rendang recipe is again my mom's. And that reminded me... I shall be posting some new photos of the rendang to the previous post shortly - some better looking ones with the natural lighting taken in the day they are :D
And now... its making!
Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang
(A) Coconut milk rice
1 cup brown rice (measured with the usual kitchen measuring cup, not the rice cup)
4 pandan (screwpine) leaves, rinsed and tied into a knot
4 thick slices of ginger
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
*1¼ cup water
2-3 pinches of salt
* Please do adjust the amount of water as needed according to the type or rice you choose to use.
1. Rinse the rice in the rice cooker with water thoroughly and drain.
2. Add in the ginger slices, pandan leaves and a couple pinches of salt.
3. Pour in the coconut milk slowly followed by enough amount water to make up to the usual volume needed to cook the rice.
4. Using a spatula, stir the content to mix everything well. Cover and leave to marinate for about 20 minutes.
5. Cook the pot of rice as usual. Once done, fluff the rice using the spatula to let excess moisture escape. The grains should hold together ever so lightly. Cover, and let rest for at least another 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from The Little Teochew
Original source: Lee Wee & Brothers, a famous eatery in Singapore, featured in the Sunday Times
80g ikan bilis, preferably deboned
70g fresh red chilies
1 large red onion
6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tamarind juice (made by dissolving 1 tbsp of tamarind paste in 1/4 cup water, then squeezed to extract juice)
4 tbsps cooking oil
1. Using a mini food processor, grind the anchovies. I preferably like it coarsely ground - that will retain a light mouthfeel in the sambal in the end.
(I had some trouble grinding the anchovies initially, probably due to the moisture within the batch of anchovies that I used. I ended up having to bake the batch in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes until they are thoroughly dried. Grinding them really was a breeze after that.)
2. You can choose whether to deseed the red chilies - I removed the seeds in half of the chilies, retaining the rest. Cut the chilies into small pieces to ease blending.
3. Peel the red onion, halve and cut the onion into smaller pieces.
4. Blend the red chilies, red onion and garlic into a smooth paste. Remove and set aside.
5. Heat up a skillet with the cooking oil on high. Once well heated, add in the ground anchovies and stir fry for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
6. Bring in the blended chili paste and mix well.
7. Add in salt and sugar. Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry for about 15 minutes until it thickens considerably. Add in the tamarind juice and stir to combine really well.
8. Dish out, set aside and let cool.
fried egg or hard boiled egg (one per serving)
cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
crispy fried anchovies
1. Place a portion of the coconut milk rice on a serving plate.
2. Arrange a few slices of the cucumber on the side.
3. Add a handful of crispy anchovies.
4. Add in another handful of roasted peanuts.
5. Spoon in a generous amount of sambal on the side.
6. Top the rice with an egg.
7. And lastly, spoon in a serving of the rendang chicken on the side.
8. Serve warm!