Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nasi Lemak Part 1 - Coconut Rice

I've been missing. I seem to take a hiatus from food blogging too often. But even though I don't blog, I continue to take all the photos of my cooking. So I end up with loads of food photographs but what's missing is just blogging about it.

Nevertheless, I am really excited to share my latest food adventure. Nasi Lemak.

Nasi Lemak literally translates to Coconut Rice but the rice is not the only feature. It is the sambal, the egg, the peanuts, the fried ikan bilis (anchovies), the fried chicken and down to the cucumber which makes this a truly delicious and must try Malaysian dish. Back home in Malaysia, we eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even supper so anytime of the day if you are craving for nasi lemak, you can definitely find a stall, restaurant, or even just by the roadside, someone will be selling it.

For the Nasi Lemak recipe, I am doing a 4 part series. Wow!! You must think it is extremely difficult to make. It's actually NOT but there are just so many components to make a great nasi lemak and I want to make sure that I share what I think are the critical recipes. Therefore my 4 part series will consist of :

Part 1. Coconut Rice
Part 2. Sambal Chili
Part 3. Spiced Fried Chicken
Part 4. The Finale - How traditionally it all comes together!! Nasi Lemak Bungkus (Wrapped Coconut Rice)

Coconut Rice Ingredients :
1. Jasmine Rice - 3 cups
2. Pandan Leaves (Screwpine) - 2-3 sprigs
3. Ginger - 4-5 big slices
4. Coconut Milk - 1 can (about 400ml)
5. 1 tsp salt

Simple Steps :
1. Wash the Jasmine rice and rinse at least 2-3 times. Discard the water

2. Tie the pandan leaves in a loose knot and place it in the rice. For those who are not familiar with pandan leaves it is called "Screwpine Pandanus" and typically grown in Asia. Pandan leaves have a sweet, unique flavor that is commmonly used in Southeast-Asian countries to enhance both desserts and savory dishes. In US, I usually find them at the frozen section of the Asian grocery stores.

Add in the sliced ginger too.

3. Pour in the coconut milk. I like to use a strainer to strain the coconut milk before I put it in just to make sure there are no clumps of coconut milk floating about.

4. Add another 1 cup of water in the rice. You can add more or less water depending on how much rice you are boiling. Stir the rice with the coconut milk and water so that it is well mixed. Oh yes...don't forget to sprinkle a dash of salt. It will really help to bring all the flavors out.

I use a rice cooker, it's fast and easy and frankly it is the only way I cook my rice. Whoever invented the rice cooker is a pure genius :)
Just turn on your rice cooker and let it boil till cooked. You will have a the smell of fragrant coconut rice fill your kitchen. Yums!

This is just the first step to making Nasi Lemak. Can't wait to share the rest of recipes.
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