Nasi Minyak

Ghee Rice

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My Rendang isn't Crispy

My Rendang isn't Crispy

By Zaleha Kadir Olpin

Published 2019

  • About

Basmati rice is considered to be one of the finest and most flavourful grains. I often use basmati rice to make nasi minyak and serve it with curries and pickles on weekends or when we have guests. When making this dish, food colouring is usually added to enhance the look of the dish.


  • 370 g (13 oz) basmati rice
  • 3 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 pandan leaves, rinsed and cut into 10-cm (4-inch) lengths
  • 800 ml (26 fl oz / 3ΒΌ cups) water, mixed with 4 Tbsp fresh milk
  • 1 tsp salt

Whole Spices

  • 2.5-cm (1-inch) length cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves

Spice Paste

  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5-cm (2-inch) knob ginger, peeled

Garnishing (Optional)

  • A handful of roasted cashew nuts
  • A handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp crisp-fried shallots
  • A handful of coriander leaves

Colouring (Optional)

  • A pinch of orange food colouring powder
  • A pinch of yellow food colouring powder
  • 2 tsp water


  • Rinse the rice and drain. Set aside.
  • Pound the ingredients for the spice paste coarsely using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Add the whole spices and fry for a few seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the spice paste and pandan leaves and fry for 2 minutes until the mixture is slightly dry and fragrant.
  • Add the water and milk mixture and salt. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the rice and stir gently to mix. Turn the heat down and let it simmer until all the liquid has been evaporated or absorbed. Alternatively, cook the rice using a rice cooker.
  • At this point, you can add some colour to the rice, if desired. Mix the orange and yellow food colouring powders separately with 1 tsp water. Sprinkle over the cooked rice and let it sit until you are ready to serve.
  • Stir the rice to mix the coloured grains. Dish out and garnish with cashew nuts, cranberries, crisp-fried shallots and/or chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.

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