Nasi lemak may be known for its fried chicken, sambal chilli and ikan bilis, but it is the rice that will always remain the star of the dish. After all, the name “nasi lemak” literally translates to creamy rice, and it is this most abundant component of the dish that makes or breaks it.
Living in Singapore, you more than likely have come across an array of different-coloured nasi lemak rice. Sure, they are all delicious, but have you ever wondered what goes into making the blue, green, and white-coloured nasi lemak rice we see so often? Let’s find out!
Blue Nasi Lemak Rice: Butterfly Pea Flower
Ever come across those mesmerising colour-changing drinks that go from blue to purple the moment you add lemon juice? Those are made from butterfly pea flowers — the same thing used to create blue nasi lemak rice!
Butterfly pea flowers are used across Southeast Asia as a natural dye in various food items. There is another famous Malay dish called Nasi Kerabu, which also utilises the butterfly pea flower to colour the rice. This dish could have been the inspiration for the trend of blue nasi lemak rice.
So, how is it made? The blue flower releases its colour when steeped in warm or hot water. Rice is subsequently cooked in this infusion, together with the classic coconut milk, which gives rise to its distinctly marbled blue appearance.
But the beautiful colouring is not just for aesthetic reasons. Butterfly pea flowers are rich in antioxidants, which help to prevent premature ageing, improve skin tone and promote healthy hair growth! This method and recipe is an Asian secret that has been passed from generation to generation. At Lavender Nasi Lemak, our butterfly pea rice is crafted with only the best ingredients to give you soft, delicate rice that perfectly complements our menu of unique side dishes.
White Nasi Lemak Rice: Coconut Milk
The quintessential white nasi lemak is the classic look of the breakfast dish that we all know and love.
This creamy, rich rice is traditionally made by steaming the rice in a mixture of coconut milk, water, salt and pandan leaves. Other spices and aromatics like ginger, bay leaf, and onion are added to the rice during this stage too. The fragrant ginger and pandan cut through the creaminess of the coconut milk, balancing out the flavours for a delicious, light rice base for the flavour-packed sides. It may be the most common type of nasi lemak rice available in Singapore, but it undoubtedly still holds its own!
Green Nasi Lemak Rice: Pandan
This variation of nasi lemak rice, also known as Nasi Pandan, takes the white coconut milk rice one step further. By adding pandan paste or pandan flavouring for that extra pandan punch, the rich rice is infused with the fresh, fragrant aroma of the pandan leaf. It gives it a unique sweetness that pairs well with the spicy sambal and the salty, crunchy ikan bilis.
Just like most pandan-flavoured cakes and desserts, a few drops of green food colouring are commonly added for appearances, giving the rice a vibrant green colour that contrasts nicely with the red sambal and the white egg — the perfect picture of a delectable dish.
Savour Butterfly Pea Rice At Lavender Nasi Lemak!
Never tried butterfly pea rice before? Get your first taste with our Thai-inspired nasi lemak and signature butterfly pea rice! The beautifully marbled rice and its slightly earthy flavour blend perfectly with the tangy, sweet and savoury Thai flavours in our special Thai-style sides. From the classic Thai mango salad, to the sweet and sour chilli fish, sambal prawn and more, spice up your nasi lemak experience and visit us at Yishun or order online for delivery today.