Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nasi Lemak

This looks really really good. Drop by Lincolnite and check out this post. The pictures are beautiful and the food looks delicious. I'll be doing some research for recipes and try to make some of these dishes. For sure some nasi lemak, the Malay national dish. Coconut milk cooked rice with chicken, peanuts, anchovies and hot sauce. Mmmm! I love the smiley face in the tomato slice.

Thanks Mr. T for letting me use one of your pictures!

1 comment:

Mr. T said...

Hey thanks for the link and the photo. You know it didn't even occur to me that the tomato slice had a smiley face on it until I read this post!

I will be curious to know how you tackle Nasi Lemak. Not unlike Thai food, Malay food can be very difficult to make in the American kitchen both because ingredients and cooking equipment may be hard to come by and its just difficult to make in general unless one invests a lot of time and research into it. I believe the key to a good Nasi Lemak is effectively making the rice and also the sambal. Both are critical. I wouldn't sweat the smaller things like the anchovies or eggs.

This particular photo by the way is of Nasi Lemak I took at a rather large new chain set of restaurants called secret recipe (, and this is a highly sexed-up version of the dish. Most "real" Nasi Lemak one finds in the street stalls of Kuala Lumpur or Penang are about a third of the size of this dish, and consist of mainly the rice, with a few anchovy sprinklings and a dab of sambal on the top. If you are able to pull this one off, I will be impressed and you should too because its hard to make and a relatively unknown dish (here in the states that is), but a very good one.

In my opinion, I actually prefer a lot of the Malay dishes to Thai or Indian ones, some of which tend to be uni-dimensional in their flavor profiles or just violently hot. Malay dishes tend to have a deeper range of flavors and I believe that is because of cinnamon and star anise, in addition to the chilies and garlic and shrimp or fish paste.

If you would like to learn more about Malay food, I HIGHLY suggest subscribing to the RSS for Rasa Malaysia if you haven't yet ( Rasa lives in the US and is very successful at making home-style Malaysian dishes in the American kitchen (as well as other Asian dishes, particularly Chinese). I've communicated with her on several occasions and she is very helpful and her photography is excellent. She has an encyclopediac knowledge of Malaysian cuisine, and her family even runs a food tourism service in her native Penang.

She is now quite successful in a number of ways (has a cookbook deal, visibility in the New York Times and other publications, etc.) and she did it the hard way...i.e. just starting with a blog, a nice camera, and a passion for food. Good luck Chris!