For the longest time, I put off making nasi lemak…..but it is one of hubster’s favourite dish and my reluctance was that, this dish itself has a basic of 6 ingredients or should I say 6 different elements on plate. You have the lemak rice (coconut rice), the sambal, deep fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard-boiled egg or fried egg and cucumbers to cool your taste buds in case the sambal is a little spicy. These elements all need different prep methods except for the cucumber which you eat it raw. Also, I hated the thought of pounding chillies. I am rather sensitive towards chillies….just a small whiff of it is enough to provoke my waterworks. So who do I refer to for some nasi lemak recipe help? Why non other than Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover of course! With a name like that, you’d know this lady would know a thing or two about nasi lemak. I first met Sonia at her lovely home during the CNY bloggers gathering. This lady has some mad skills when it comes to homemade stuff. To say her recipes are impressive is a dull understatement.
Her recipe for sambal tumis was also right up my alley because she uses the blender instead of the pestle and mortar. I dread the thought if I have to squat with my protruding belly, pounding away at chillies and shallots. But then….new found respect for those nasi lemak makciks (aunties) selling their goods by the roadside every morning. Tough work for just a small packet of rice.
The chillies still need some amount of prep which I suppose can’t be helped. That phase was torture for me, I wore gloves while de-seeding the dried chillies and kept tearing and sniffing. *sigh…all this for my man. I know he doesn’t read all my blog posts but if he’s reading this…know that I really went through sweat, tears and nasal jelly just so you can have a nice nasi lemak meal. No verbal thanks required….maybe an occasional sponsored spa day with no kids would be nice. HA!
I also don’t know why I only chose to do this while I’m preggers. The thing with sambal tumis, and this I learnt from Sonia, is that you have to cook and stir it in low heat and slowly for a long time. I stood watching the red-alert mix in the wok for more than an hour stirring occasionally because if you don’t, the bottom might get burnt and you won’t have that nice separation of the oil and the paste. At the end of all the stirring, my back was KILLING me and my feet was sore. But I would say it was worth it because the sambal tumis smelled gorgeous at the end.
My only critique was, I probably should’ve add more oil. Although Sonia gave very precise measurements in her recipe, I was eye-balling a lot of the ingredients due to laziness and probably ended up with more portion insufficient for one cup of oil.
And the other must components to go with nasi lemak; you have the roasted peanuts and deep fried ikan bilis (anchovies). I roasted the peanuts with 2 teaspoons of sunflower oil because I found that it gives them that typical glistening feature which is synonymous in nasi lemak.
My personal preference is that I would like to have more cucumbers on my nasi lemak. Although I love spicy sambal, I still need help to overcome the heat. As for the egg, you can choose to have hard-boiled eggs or fried egg.
For the rice, I stuck with the authentic and made coconut rice instead of the plain one. But if you prefer plain rice, go ahead and use it. You can choose to eat nasi lemak just as it is or you can accompany it with even more extra side dishes like what I did here. I made the fried fish that hubster loved very much to go with his nasi lemak. Some would add fried chicken, rendang, curry or some other seafood.
This may be my longest post ever so just bear with me!
Into the blender;
100g dried chilies
100g fresh red chilies
10g bird’s eye chilies
250g rose shallots
1 big onion, chopped roughly
15g galangal (blue ginger), I couldn’t
get my hands on it so I used ordinary ginger
15g toasted belacan (shrimp paste)
1/4 cup water
During cooking process;
1 cup cooking oil
40g tamarind pulp soaked in 1/4 cup
water, break it up with your hands,
strain the pulp and seeds
50g sugar or palm sugar (gula Melaka)
1 teaspoon salt
1. Use a scissor to discard the dried chilli’s stems and cut into 2-3 pieces and boil in hot water for 5 mins until they’re soft. Drain and discard the chilli seeds if you want less spicy. Discard also the stems of the normal red chillies and bird’s eye chillies.
2. Toast belacan in a dry frying pan, chopping and break it up till powdery and aromatic.
3. Blend dried chillies, fresh chillies, bird’s eye chillies, peeled shallots, garlic, big onion, ginger, galangal and toasted belacan with 1/4 cup of water to a smooth paste. Because it is packed full in the blender, you might have to press with it down with a chopstick and stir it around to get everything to blend together. Be careful you don’t blend the chopsticks in!
4. Pour chili paste into a big wok, stir fry for 5-10 mins over medium low heat until you achieve a slightly dried paste (Don’t add oil at this time to avoid oil spill).
5. Now add in the 1 cup cooking oil, continue stirring (tumis) over low heat for 30-40 mins. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE TIMING. The chili paste will turn darker and the oil will separate after long stirring.
6. Add in assam water (tamarind juice), salt and sugar. Continue stirring (tumis) for 5-10 mins more. Taste and see if the sweetness or spiciness is to your liking. Adjust where necessary.
7. Leave to cool before storing in the fridge or freeze in small containers for later use.
DEEP FRIED ANCHOVIES AND ROASTED PEANUTS RECIPE
A cup of dried anchovies (ikan bilis)
Sunflower oil for deep frying
Shelled peanuts with their skins on
2 teaspoons of sunflower oil
1. Heat sunflower oil in a wok until frying
temp. Throw in the dried anchovies and
deep fry till the anchovies has a
slightly brown colour. Dish it up
immediately. It will continue to cook
2. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Toss peanuts with
2 teaspoons sunflower oil. Roast in the oven
till the colour has turned slightly dark
tossing it around once.
COCONUT RICE RECIPE
2 cups rice, washed and rinsed
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk
Pandan leaves (screwpine leaves)
Salt to taste
1. Do as what you normally would when cooking rice. Just add the rest of the ingredients into the rice cooker and let it sit for 10 mins after cooking. Discard screwpine leaves before eating.