A staple in our wide range of breakfast foods, nasi lemak is a perfectly balanced dish that is both nourishing and filling. There’s no better way to start your day, or end it for that matter, with a hearty plate of nasi lemak.
There are probably thousands of different restaurants you could get nasi lemak at, each with their unique recipe, but if you’re thinking of trying to make your own at home, then this article is for you! Here is a breakdown of the ingredients you’ll be needing to create this delicious dish on your own.
For the Coconut Rice
The most essential part of the dish, the nominal Nasi Lemak, is simple enough in terms of ingredients. The rice, salt, coconut milk and pandan leaves are the basic ingredients. The coconut milk will bring creaminess and richness to the rice, while the pandan adds a fresh fragrance to the whole mixture.
From there, it’s all up to your personal preference — basmati or short grain, fluffy and light or soft and squishy, boiled in a rice cooker or steamed (“kukus”), you are the master of your bowl! Depending on the variation you’d like to make, you can incorporate other elements, such as butterfly pea flower for a Thai-style twist or lemongrass, ginger and garlic for added aroma and spice.
For the Belacan Chilli
The chilli is often cited as the ingredient that can make or break a nasi lemak dish. Everyone has their favourite type of chilli, and there is a wide variety available here in Singapore — from the bright red and spicy versions to the sweeter, darker, more jammy kinds. The recipes for chilli vary greatly, and there are so many different kinds you could get your hands on. Some prefer their sambal to be full of onions for the sweet crunch, while another common version is sambal ikan bilis. This anchovy sambal adds onions, dried anchovies, garlic, shallots and tamarind juice to the classic blend of chillies, belacan, salt and sugar. The possibilities are endless!
Here at Lavender Nasi Lemak, we make our signature belacan chilli using a mix of Thai belacan, garlic, lime, Thai palm sugar and chillies — a wonderful fusion of salty, sweet, sour, and spice, which is a trademark of Thai cuisine.
For the Side Dishes
Nasi lemak side dishes are even more varied than the previous two categories of ingredients. This dish has been around for a long time and has evolved greatly over time. A classic take on the recipe will call for fried ikan selar (Yellow Tail Scad), freshly sliced cucumber (either the regular or Japanese kind will do). You can add an egg, which is traditionally hard boiled or made into an omelette, and fried ikan bilis and peanuts for extra crunch.
You can find these items ready-made in stores to save yourself the trouble of all that frying (and kitchen clean-up!). But there are also many other side dishes you could add to this fantastic dish — things like beef rendang, chicken curry, cuttlefish, otah or luncheon meat all go perfectly with the rich, fragrant rice and spicy chilli. Some fancier restaurants may even offer “premium” sides, serving this classic dish with lobster, for example!
Now to wrap it all up — go the extra mile and throw some banana leaves into your shopping basket! Nasi lemak is traditionally served all wrapped up in banana leaves, which also serve as the “plate” you can eat off when you unwrap it.
Too much hassle? Save your time and effort shopping for ingredients and toiling in the kitchen by visiting Lavender Nasi Lemak at Yishun! Our nasi lemak is inspired by Thai cuisine and made with passion by our lovely Chef Nolee. Get hearty Thai-inspired nasi lemak for you and your family delivered to your home in Singapore by placing an order online now!