Nasi Lemak

Pandan-flavoured Coconut Rice served with Crispy Anchovies and Omelette


Preparation info

  • Makes

    8 to 12

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Growing Up In A Nonya Kitchen

Growing Up In A Nonya Kitchen

By Sharon Wee

Published 2012

  • About

It was an old Baba custom to serve nasi lemak on the 12th day of a Baba wedding. The elaborate wedding is rarely experienced now. My mother often told me the stories of such a day’s events. It would start with the bride’s family providing the groom’s mother with a section of the bedsheet used on the wedding night. Lime juice was used to test the evidence of the bride’s virtue… or lack thereof. If all went well, a roasted suckling pig on a tray took pride of place at a street procession to the bride’s family home, for all to see! Then, the wedding would end with a sumptuous meal of nasi lemak.

We had our nasi lemak on many Sundays. My mother served her pandan-flavoured coconut rice with crispy anchovies (ikan bilis), fried omelette, cucumber slices, prawn (shrimp) sambal and best of all, otak otak. Just eating the fragrant coconut rice is so refreshing, and it tastes even more delicious when paired with the numerous side dishes.

If possible, I try not to use jasmine rice. The fragrance of the rice somewhat undermines the full essence that stems from the pandan leaves and the coconut milk. The combined amount of liquid added to the rice should level one pinky finger segment above the layer of rice. In ascribing the term ‘lemak’ to a dish, you are referring to the lusciousness derived from the coconut milk. Hence, if you prefer to make the rice more lemak, use a higher ratio of coconut milk to water. The coconut cream is often added at the very end because it curdles when exposed to too much heat. If you are using canned coconut milk, you can set aside the creamy layer at the top and add it after the rice is cooked.