Friday, 19 September 2008

Malaysia's National Dish - Nasi Lemak

Without a doubt, Malaysia's National Dish would be Nasi Lemak. This would translate literally into "Fatty Rice". Lemak means 'fat' but in this context it actually refers to the 'richness' of the rice as it is cooked in coconut milk this giving it a special flavour.

Nasi Lemak is usually a breakfast meal although now it has also become an all-day, anytime kind of dish. In my younger days, after a heavy night of partying (read drinking) with my friends, we would all adjourn to the all night roadside stalls for a welcome plate of Nasi Lemak.

There are various types of Nasi Lemak with the most basic being rice cooked in coconut milk and a knotted screwpine leave for added fragrance, fried Ikan Bilis (small anchovies), cucumber slices, , roasted peanuts and half a hard boiled egg. This will be serve with a lovely sambal (hot spicy chili paste).

Sometimes, different meats such as chicken, squid, beef and even prawns are added to make a more substantial dish. Some hotels and restaurants serve Nasi Lemak as well nowadays but of course those have some meat and vegetables added and the servings are much larger. The best kind of Nasi Lemak though is the kind sold at roadside stalls where it is more often than not wrapped in banana leaf and then covered in newspaper or brown paper. Of course this must be eaten with the obligatory plastic spoon!

I'm going to leave the rest of this post as a photo essay of a trip we took recently to the Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur where the kids had a lot of fun and where we all enjoyed Nasi Lemak for brunch!

Open the package to reveal the rice and sambal inside. Note that the sambal is also placed on a banana leaf for more flavour!

Egg, Anchovies and nuts all mixed with the sambal

Another angle of the delicious Nasi Lemak

Can you feel his anticipation??

I"m hungry Mummy! I can't wait!

Nasi Lemak can be a little spicy on the taste buds... Nothing a good glug of water wont fix!

All finished....

Enough with the photos Dads! I want to go play!

And while we are on the topic of Malaysia, this is our National Flower - Bunga Raya or more commonly known as the Hibiscus.


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

You have captured the essense of the dish, your family and Malaysia in your photos Dharm...well done:D

Thistlemoon said...

That looks out of this world delicious Dharm! I love all the flavors packed into that banana leaf! I really need to recreate this at home! Got a recipe?

The kids are just too cute as always!

Looks like you had a wonderful day!

Nikki @ NikSnacks said...

I want a recipe, too! It sounds like there are so many variations. I want to make this now! LOL And..knotted screwpine leaves? Another ingredient I have to research.

Actually, let me just research some plane tickets to Kuala Lampur. That'll settle that!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh I love the photos and the fat rice. I even have sambal!

Alicia Foodycat said...

That does look like the perfect hangover food! I love the flavour pandanus gives to rice, but it is pretty hard to get here.

jasmine said...

This looks absolutely delicious. Great pictures.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I remember tasting this for the first time on my first day in Malaysia, years ago. It's been a favorite ever since.

giz said...

I feel like I've missed out on a culinary adventure. I'll have to make up for lost time. I've never even so much as tried Malaysian food but definitely going to try it.

Cynthia said...

Your children are so adorable, I just want to hug them :)

Since I first saw that dish on a few Malaysian food blogs, I have dreamed of one day eating it.

Elle said...

Reminds me of the lunch we had in Pohnpei...rice (not cooked with coconut unfortunately), some grilled fish and a hard boiled egg, plus a little hot sauce. Yours looks even better with the nuts and anchovies...hearty flavors! Your children are so gorgeous...please keep sharing photos of them.

CECIL said...

Nasi lemak is one of my favorites! :) Oh, I feel like hopping to the plane and just visited Indonesia and Malaysia again. Beautiful photos too!

Ed Rooney said...

Ed Rooney said. . .
I just had Nasi Lemak for lunch around the corner at a Malaysia restaurant here in New York City's Little Italy.

Mas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mas said...

I was going through your blog while at TOC..Really made me super duper hungry..Saw Sarah drinking water due to hotness. Try drinking milk next time, it cool off the chemical substance in chilli. ;)
BTW, I can cook sambal very well.hehehehe


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