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Recipe: Nasi Lemak

Wrapped and eaten out of banana leaves this readily transportable meal was often eaten on beaches in the Far East as part of a picnic. We have fried whole herring, a close match to the small ikan kuning that was traditionally used but if you cannot find fresh whole herring you can substitue with tinned anchovies.


9 small herrings (use whole fish) or 50g tinned anchovies
340g long grain rice
400ml Mai Siam Coconut Milk
110ml Water
1/2 white onion slice thickly
1 stalk of lemon grass (bruised)
3 eggs
1 jar of Cooks Sambal Olek
1 cucumber (thick slices)
60g peanuts
Salt; Vegetable oil to fry fish

Cooking Method

Serves 3

Rice: Wash and drain the rice and place rice in a lidded pot together with the thickly sliced onions, lemon grass, coconut milk, water and salt. Bring to the boil and immediately lower the heat a little. 

Stir once. Continue cooking until rice starts to dry, when this happens turn down to lowest possible and cover pot, using a diffuser if possible. Rice should take another 10 minutes or so to cook but DO NOT lift the lid to allow the steam to escape.

Quickly check that the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and allow rice to continue cooking in its own steam.


Fish: Clean the fish and dry on kitchen paper, sprinkle with a little salt. Heat oil in a wok and cook fish in batches, drain well. If you are using tinned anchovies, drain well and pat dry with a kitchen paper.


Accompaniments: bring a large pan of water to the boil and then add the eggs. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove and place into a bowl of ice water immediately. Once cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and cut in half.


To serve: Serve coconut rice with fish, boiled eggs, peanuts, cucumber slices and sambal olek.