Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Kitchen Life Hack - Deep Fried Anchovies and Nasi Lemak Kukus

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My son has been on this "I could eat nasi lemak everyday" phase for the last few months.  So as a good mother, I promised him I would cook nasi lemak a little more frequently. 

Now is as good a time to put to the test this kitchen life hack that I read somewhere - that you could use the microwave to deep fry the ikan bilis and they would come out perfectly crispy.  No splatter, no mess.  Sounds like the next best idea after sliced bread.

So I gave it a try - and IT WORKS! Takes all of 5 minutes for 100g gram of ikan bilis.  Oil usage is probably half of what's needed for deep frying in a wok.  Cleanup is minimal - just a wipe of the microwave plate and the cover.  The ikan bilis turned out beautifully crispy. 

The key to perfectly crispy ikan bilis is - DO NOT wash the ikan bilis that you bought from the shop/wet market/pasar malam etc etc. 

Yes yes, I know what you are thinking now.  Stop thinking and just tell yourself you don't eat this all the time; just once in a blue moon :)PP.  If you wash the ikan bilis, it will be very difficult to dry it into that completely moisture free condition, unless perhaps you use a dehydrator. 

Deep fried ikan bilis - the microwave way.

  • 100g good quality dried ikan bilis
  • 1/3 cup of oil

  1. Spread out the ikan bilis into a thin layer in a heat proof dish - I use a corningware dish.  Best to cook this in two batches.
  2. Pour the oil over the ikan bilis and toss gently, ensuring that all the ikan bilis are properly coated with oil.
  3. Put into the microwave, cover it and microwave on high heat for 4-5 minutes, until you can smell the aroma and the oil is gently sizzling.  Use a pair of chopstick to test a piece of ikan bilis for crispiness.  Be very careful - the entire dish is extremely hot.
  4. Pour the entire contents over a strainer sitting on top of a bowl.
  5. Pour the ikan bilis over some kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil. 
  6. Repeat this with batch 2 using the same oil. 
  7. Once the ikan bilis is cooled, store in an airtight container and consume within 1 week for maximum freshness.

Thanks to my friend Beatrice who gave me handy tips on how to cook nasi lemak kukus, I decided to gave that a go too.  Basmati rice is the best rice to use as the rice grains don't stick together yet turns out beautifully fluffy.  Here's a simple way to cook a wonderfully aromatic pot of fluffy nasi lemak kukus using the rice cooker.

  • 2 cups of basmati rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of santan (I use prepack ayam brand santan - it is creamy and flavourful)
  • 3 pieces of pandan leaves, rinsed and each tied into a knot
  • 1 tsp of salt


  1. Pour the rice into a non-stick pot and add in the water, santan and pandan leaves.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn off the fire and let the rice fully absorb the liquid.  This will take about 15-20min.
  3. Transfer the semi cooked rice into a rice cooker with a steamer on top.  Fill the bottom cooker with sufficient water and steam the rice until fragrant and fully cooked. 

1 comment:

  1. Esther, I could eat nasi lemak everyday too hee..hee... I am very interested to fry ikan bilis in the microwave. I've done it in the wok and ended up either almost burning the ikan bilis or it was not crispy enough.


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