We Malaysians love a good plate of nasi lemak. Steaming hot santan rice, crispy fried ikan bilis, salted roasted peanuts, lots of chilled cucumber slices, a good dollop of sweet oniony sambal and a beautiful piece of golden fried chicken. YUMM! That's my benchmark of a good nasi lemak.
Two of my favourite places for nasi lemak is Village Park (who has not heard of them?!) and Ali Muthu Ah Hock in Oasis Square. We frequent the latter regularly due to its proximity to our house, and also the restaurant is pretty conducive for family meals. I've replicated their yummy fried chicken here and came up with a version 2 of my original sambal recipe - this one has added dried shrimp, baby anchovies and onions to give it more oomph. Chili wise, I prefer to keep it down so my son can eat, so feel free to amp up the quantity if you like it with a real fiery kick.
Use good quality ingredients and forget about going healthy. If you are going to enjoy this childhood favourite aka de-facto national dish, you might as well go all the way eh?!
Nasi Lemak the Full Glory
For the rice
- 2 cups of rice
- 200ml freshly squeezed coconut milk
- 150ml water
- Pinch of salt
- 3 small shallots, peeled and halved
- 3 pandan leaves (rinsed, and tied into a knot)
- 300g rose shallots, peeled, sliced
- 10 dried red chillies, de-seeded
- 2 big onion, peeled, sliced
- 10g ginger, peeled, sliced
- 20g galangal, peeled, sliced
- 30g garlic, peeled
- 20g belacan
- 4 stalk lemongrass, white parts only, sliced
- 1/2 C water
- 1/3 C dried baby anchovies, roughly chopped
- 1/3 C dried shrimp, roughly chopped
- 1/2 C oil
- 1/3 C water
- 2 tbspn tamarind paste
- 140g palm sugar / brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the fried chicken
- 4 medium size chicken legs
- 1 inch fresh turmeric
- 1 medium size onion
- 2 stalks of lemon grass, white parts and about 3 inches of the light green parts
- 50g of young ginger to make 2 tbspn of grated ginger, and squeeze out 3 tbspn ginger juice
- 1 tsp salt
- Salted roasted peanuts
- Fried anchovies
- Chilled cucumber slices
- Half boiled eggs
1. To make the marinade for the chicken, blend the turmeric, onion, lemon grass and grated ginger into a paste. Add the ginger juice and salt and use it to marinade the chicken overnight or at least 4 hours.
2. For the sambal, blend all the ingredients (in italics) into a paste.
3. To cook the rice, rinse the rice and drain. Add the coconut milk, salt, knotted pandan leaves into the rice and cook using the normal rice cooker way. Fluff and keep on Warm setting.
4. Lightly fry the chopped baby anchovies and dried shrimp until golden and crispy. Set aside.
5. Heat the oil and fry the paste on gentle heat for about 30 minutes until the oil starts to separate from the paste. Add the water, sugar, salt, tamarind paste, and the lightly fried anchovies and dried shrimp. Continue to simmer on gentle heat for another 10 minutes and season to taste. Remove to cool. Set aside the portion for serving and keep the rest in clean jars in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Alternatively, freeze them for up to 6 months.
6. Heat enough oil to deep fry the chicken. Press all the marinade paste onto the chicken skin and deep fry until golden brown and crispy. Remove to cool.
7. To serve, assemble the warm coconut rice with the chicken, sambal, roasted peanuts, crispy anchovies and chilled cucumber slices.