Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Hello Everyone! We’re pushing on with more Bruneian favourites, and this month wouldn’t be complete without tackling the famous Nasi Katok, which in English literally means ‘knock rice’. It is a simple combination of white rice, sambal (a condiment made out of blended chillies and other spices), and a piece of fried chicken, traditionally served wrapped in a piece of waxed brown paper. A variety of secondary ingredients including but not limited to shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, vinegar, and anchovies can also be served together with the fried chicken.

Nasi Katok is as quintessentially a Bruneian version of fast food, with many vendors running around the clock 24 hours a day selling this classic favourite. The roots of the term originated from the act of katok (knocking), on the window of this small flat in the country’s capital, to buy nasi (rice); the unofficial first Nasi Katok establishment since the 1980s. Naturally, the name stuck and today the dish is among the best national dishes.

Nasi Katok is one of Brunei’s most affordable staples that is priced at only BND$1.00. That’s right, one dollar for a piece of fried chicken, sambal, and steamed white rice. Over the decades the Nasi Katok has evolved into many versions – my favourite being the fusion of chicken and buttermilk.

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Bruneians love their buttermilk chicken, so when word got out that there was a place in Brunei that combines two of the country’s most loved foods, it caused a sensation! As of the majority of the dishes found in Brunei, the origins of buttermilk chicken is actually a Malaysian dish known as Lai Yao Kei 奶油鸡, or Malaysian Butter Chicken. It is about a million miles away from what most of us imagine when we think of Butter Chicken (and I’m talking about the Indian variety).

Other than chicken being the main source of protein for the dish, other meat varieties such as pork, fish, and prawns can be found too. I decided to keep mine pescatarian friendly for this recipe and so I used salmon belly for this dish. The buttermilk sauce is infused with the aroma of fresh curry leaves, and spiked with the heat from fresh chillies. It is actually very simple to make and comes together in just minutes. Though you’d think the butter would be the star of the show here, it is actually the evaporated milk that steals the limelight!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon Ingredients



For the salmon

  • 6 pcs salmon belly strip, scaled and cleaned
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 pcs calamansi, juiced
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • All-purpose flour

For the buttermilk sauce

  • 1 can (300ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 bunch (8-10 pcs) curry leaves
  • 2 pcs red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sambal

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 small red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, quartered
  • 1 long green chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 + 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp blended red chillies
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cooking oil


  1. Salmon Belly: Add all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Lightly coat the salmon belly strips in flour and shallow fry until golden brown and crispy. Fry in batches if needed and once done, set aside. You can fry the salmon bellies just before serving so that they are hot and remain crispy.
  3. Sambal: Add the onions, garlic, green chilli, and half a cup of water into a food processor or blender. Blend until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  4. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the blended red chillies and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, add the sugar, and the remaining half cup of water. Give it a good mix and continue to cook until thickened. Once done, set aside.
  6. Buttermilk Sauce: Melt the butter to a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the red chillies together with the curry leaves and cook to infuse the flavours and aromas into the butter. Set aside a few curry leaves and chillies for decoration later.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the evaporated milk. Add the sugar and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes altogether.

At this point, you can either add the fried salmon bellies to the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes before serving, or top the bellies with the sauce. It’s completely up to you.

  1. Serve with rice and vegetables of choice, together with sambal. Enjoy!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Before I end tonight’s post, there’s something I want to share with everyone. So about two weeks ago I came across a post on Instagram regarding the price of Nasi Katok – should it be increased from BND$1.00 to BND$1.50? From a survey of almost 2000 people, 58% said that it should stay at BND$1.00. Small business owners usually sell Nasi Katok just to get through the day; it was never about profit for some. In fact, vendors would only make a profit of 20 cents per serving of Nasi Katok sold. In my honest opinion, if it’s just for a 50 cents price increase to help small businesses, I wouldn’t mind paying extra especially if I’m getting more in return. Think about it, you’re getting a serving of rice, a decent-sized piece of chicken and a spicy relish to bring it altogether. I think we can spare a little more out of our pockets to help them out.


– Ally xx

Bar Indigo - FROM THE FARM: Argentine Salmon Omelette

Bar Indigo

Hello Everyone! Today’s post won’t be a recipe, but instead I want to share with you this gem of a place that I recently visited with my ladies for what was supposed to be a nice Sunday brunch, but instead turned out to be a late lunch. In a nutshell, my friend Yvonne wanted to try this place out and recommended it to both Jialing and I. So Jialing and I planned our trip since we live in the same area, just a suburb away. We decided that we would get into the city at around 10am and meet Yvonne there to arrive at Double Bay by 10:30am and hoping to start eating by 11am. Yvonne then said it was too early and told us to come into the city around 11am, and I was like, what?!

Ally: But the whole point of brunch is that it is in between breakfast and lunch! Brunch for me is like 10am… 11am is already pushing it because it’s close to noon which is lunch for me!
Yvonne: When I said brunch, I actually meant lunch!

God bless her haha! Anyway, so we then decided to push it to meet up at 11am in the city, to be at Double Bay by 11:30am and have ‘lunch’ by noon. As usual, Jialing and I got to the city just 2 minutes past 11 and Yvonne was still at home. So we waited around for another 20 minutes for her and finally got on the bus to Double Bay. At this point I was super hungry also because I didn’t have anything to eat beforehand. We got to Double Bay at roughly around noon and when we got to Bar Indigo, man was it busy! We still had to wait for a table, another half hour. As we waited, we went through the menu and it was sounding so delicious – and a bit torturous being very hungry and all as we watched dishes go by. Finally we sat down and ordered and I can say that the wait was all worth it! The food was absolutely amazing (but then again I find EVERYTHING amazing, especially when I’m super hungry).

The food did not disappoint at all. The portions were massive! Actually their plates were massive as well that it could barely sit on the table we sat at! Also, their plates – loved them. I have a new sense of appreciation for plates ever since taking up an intro to ceramics class last semester – which by the way I got an overall High Distinction for (you know, those Lovelily plates I posted about probably weeks ago, yes those)!

The one thing I love about going out with my girls is that we all decide one one dish that we like most, and once the food arrives, we split our dishes into three, and share – which I think is the best thing to do if you want to be able to try more than one dish, especially if it’s your first visit. Simply amazing! I say this in particular because I do have other friends who don’t like to share dishes – that is if it is a dish that is not meant to be shared.

Bar Indigo - FROM THE FARM: Argentine Salmon Omelette
FROM THE FARM: Argentine Salmon Omelette
Oven-roasted salmon, bell peppers, spring onion, flame-grilled corn & coriander salsa, sweet potato, fresh aversana mozzarella & chimichurri sauce ($19.90)

This was the dish that I ordered, and for one very particular reason as well which was the description. It just screamed my name! Salmon, eggs, and chimichurri?! Why not!

Bar Indigo - FROM THE GARDEN: Grilled Lamb Salad
FROM THE GARDEN: Grilled Lamb Salad
Crispy flat bread, sweet yoghurt, baby carrots & couscous ($29.90)

A dish that Yvonne ordered. The description isn’t as fancy as the others only because I completely forgot to take a photo of the menu description for this! And it wasn’t on their website as well because they changed their menu I think for the season. Nonetheless, that lamb was cooked to perfection and the flavour combinations went really well together. Loved the presentation as well (you can’t really see it in the photograph above, but those crispy flatbreads standing tall from the plate looked so majestic)!

Bar Indigo - INDIGO LUNCH FAVOURITES: Free Range Victor Churchill Duck Sausage Risotto
INDIGO LUNCH FAVOURITES: Free Range Victor Churchill Duck Sausage Risotto
Chicken stock, thyme leaves, spring onion, white truffle oil, garlic, chives, mascarpone, sliced asparagus, parsley, aged parmesan & asparagus crisp ($28.90)

And finally the dish Jialing ordered (or more like I recommended since the description appealed a lot to me as well). The risotto was really rich and creamy, packed with lots of flavour and just… SO yummy. And those duck sausages, just WOW.

After our lunch, we still had space for a yummy warm dessert (since it was freezing cold out). It was probably one of the best decisions we made together as a group only because I know for a fact that we usually go for a walk first after a meal to clear our bloated tummies, and then get dessert elsewhere, but this time around we decided to go for some fluffy pancakes because they looked oh-so-good on various Instagram accounts.

Bar Indigo - INDIGO BREAKFAST FAVOURITES: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
Maple syrup, caramel-glazed bananas & vanilla whipped mascarpone ($18.90)

The winner for me, hands down. I actually wanted these pancakes to begin with but I thought starting the day (in terms of the first meal of the day) with sweet pancakes just didn’t quite fit with me, needed something savoury. JUST LOOK AT ALL THAT FLUFF!

One of my favourite spots indefinitely. Great food, great company. The bill scared me a little bit, but otherwise affordable, just not a place to eat at every single week – for me that is. Be sure to check this place out if you haven’t already done so! Cheers!

Bar Indigo
15 Cross Street
Double Bay, New South Wales
Australia, 2028

– Ally xx