Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

Hello Everyone! I’m back tonight with a recipe for you guys. So I did a little bit of reading on what Nasi Lemak actually translates to – I knew “Nasi” (pronounced nah-see) meant rice, but I was not sure what “Lemak” (pronounced leh-mahk) meant. Lemak apparently, if directly translated means “fat” and therefore Nasi Lemak means “fat rice”, but in the cooking context, lemak means enriched, and in this case, rice enriched with coconut milk.

The truth is, no one really know where the dish originated from as coconut rice is common in many other South-east Asian cultures such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Apparently there is an old folklore story from a village just south of the country’s state, Kuala Lumpur, where a village girl accidentally spilled a cup of coconut milk in a pot of rice while she was helping her mother cook. Though her mother was enraged, she ended up liking the taste of the rice with coconut milk, and hence the birth of Nasi Lemak.

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

Traditionally, the two elements that make up this dish are the rice of course, and the spicy sambal (a chilli-based sauce) that either has anchovies or prawns in it accompanying the rice. Sliced cucumbers, half a hard-boiled egg, and roasted peanuts are also essential condiments found in this dish. Nowadays, many variations of accompaniments are served with the dish, such as chicken, beef or prawn curry, and even fried chicken. It is then wrapped and packed in a banana tree leaf as this gives an added fragrance. Restaurants nowadays serve up a modernised version on a plate with all the trimmings.

Back home in Brunei, Nasi Lemak was practically on every menu in every restaurant. They were sold in almost every stall at the Gadong Pasar Malam (Night Market) and even on the side of the streets if I’m not mistaken. All ranging between $1.00 to $3.00, probably a little bit more in restaurant, but surely no more than $5.00. I remember I went to Mamak in Chinatown somewhere in the middle of last year to meet up with Sam’s friends (now my friends too) from the Netherlands. I had a sudden crave for Roti Kosong and Nasi Lemak, but it was so difficult to order it. I think I may have complained about this place before in terms of price comparisons to back home, and I am about to do it again. Their Nasi Lemak here was $9.00, and if you wanted a curry or fried chicken to go with it, it was another $3.00 extra, $4.00 if you wanted seafood. After that, never getting Nasi Lemak here ever again. Thus I decided to give homemade Nasi Lemak a go! Now, I may have steered away from ‘traditional’ by using pre-made sambal, but it tasted pretty good!

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) Ingredients

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) Ingredients

Here is where you can get quite creative yourself. As I’ve mentioned before, the rice and the sambal is essential. The other components are basically up to you. I paired my Nasi Lemak with Sambal Kangkung, which is basically water spinach stir fried in the chilli-based sauce with garlic and onions, and a piece of fried chicken. You can whip up your own curry with your choice of meat or vegetables to accompany this dish.

Ayam Goreng Ingredients

Kang Kong Belacan Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the coconut rice

  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 pandan (screwpine) leaves, tie them into a knot as shown above
  • 1 small can (170ml) coconut milk

For the fried chicken

  • 4 pcs chicken thigh cutlets, skin-on, washed and cleaned
  • 1/2 vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash of ground black pepper

For the sambal kangkung

  • 1 bunch kangkung, washed, leaves separated from the stems, and stems cut into short lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp sambal belacan
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • Handfull of small-sized ikan bilis (dried anchovies), fried
  • Handfull of peanuts, roasted
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Banana leaf

METHOD

  1. First things first, combine all the marinade ingredients for the fried chicken in a large bowl. Mix the chicken around until well coated in the batter. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside to marinade for 1 hour.
  2. Coconut Rice: Just like making steamed rice, rinse your rice and drain. Add the coconut milk, a pinch of salt, and water. Add the pandan leaves into the rice and cook your rice. Once done, transfer to a serving dish lined with a banana leaf together with the other condiments.
  3. Fried Chicken: Preheat oven to 180C. Heat up oil in a large frying pan an working in batches, shallow dry the chicken until skin is crispy and golden (about 4-5 minutes per side). Remove from the heat and place on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Place the wings in the oven for a further 8-10 minutes to finish off in the oven.
  4. Sambal Kangkung: Heat oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic and 1 of the sliced bird’s eye chilli and sauté until golden brown. Add in the onions and sauté until soft. Bring the heat down to low and then add in the sambal belacan, cooking the belacan over high heat will cause it to spit all over the stovetop and we don’t want to have a messy cooking area. Cover if needed. Sauté the belacan until fragrant.
  5. Add the the kangkung leaves, stems and a little bit of water to dilute the belacan you think can’t handle the heat. Cover until the leaves start to wilt. Toss around the belacan to coat the leaves and stems evenly (kangkung literally takes only a minute to cook). Serve together with your coconut rice and fried chicken, and top with fresh red chillies.

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pork Spare Ribs Sinigang

Pork Spare Ribs Sinigang

Hello everyone! So I realised that I haven’t actually posted any Filipino recipes since starting this blog. For those of you who don’t know, a big part of my diet consists of delicious homemade Filipino food cooked by my Mama while growing up. Her food was always the best. And today I want to share with you a nice sour soup that’ll definitely warm up your insides during a cold winter. Well, growing up in the tropics didn’t stop us from having a nice bowl of this soup! I’m actually quite proud to be Filipino because there is nothing that I love more than Filipino food.

Sinigang is characterised by its sour and savoury flavour that is traditionally tamarind based. There are other base variations where the soup obtains its sourness from such as guava, calamansi, bilimbi, or unripe mango. Seasoning powder or bouillon cubes based on tamarind is also used in place of natural fruits. This dish can be made with any type of meat ranging from fish, pork, beef, shrimp, or chicken, stewed with tamarinds, tomatoes, and onions as its base. The dish is then accompanied with various vegetables such as okra, gabi (baby taro), daikon (white radish), kangkung (water spinach), snake beans, and eggplant. Often, chillies or peppers would be added to the dish in order to enhance the taste while adding a little spice.

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 15 MINS SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg pork spare ribs
  • 2 small spanish red onions, quartered
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium sized daikon, peeled and sliced
  • 5 small baby taro, peeled
  • 1 bunch kangkung, washed, leaves separated from the stems, and stems cut into short lengths
  • 1 tbsp tamarind soup base
  • Ground salt
  • Fish sauce (optional)

METHOD

  1. Add the pork ribs into a large pot with water filled to about halfway. Boil the ribs on high heat for 30 minutes, then add the chillies, onions, tomatoes, and season with salt. Boil for another 30 minutes.
  2. Add the baby taro and let to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the daikon in. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove 2 of the baby taro and push them through a sieve. Return to the soup to thicken the base and make it richer (this is optional).
  3. Add the tamarind soup base, if you want your soup a little less sour, add in a teaspoon at a time to adjust to your liking (I love my sinigang soup really sour!). Add a few drops of fish sauce if the soup is tasting a bit bland.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the kangkung in. Serve immediately with rice.

Pork Spare Ribs Sinigang

Filipino is not a very famous cuisine as that of its Thai and Vietnamese neighbours. I only know of one Filipino restaurant here in Sydney, and only 1 grocer in Chatswood that sells all things Filipino. Otherwise there are only a small selection of Asian grocers that carry Filipino ingredients like mang tomas sauce, bagoong, tamarind soup base, etc. There’s more to Filipino food than the mind-boggling balut (duck embryo) as we are blessed with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks. Also, with more than 7,000 islands and a colourful history, we have some delicious dishes of our own.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kangkung Belacan

Kangkung Belacan

My mom used to make this dish all the time back home. Honestly, I’ve never made it for myself ever since being here in Sydney, except for today. On occasions though when I’d be eating out with friends in various Asian-Malaysian restaurants, I would come across this on their menu and MY GOODNESS were they overpriced! Like I get the whole profit making thing but honestly, it’s like more than a 500-600% profit for this simple dish! Mamak in Chinatown for example is priced at $14.00 while Delima Restaurant is priced at $17.95. I know Delima adds prawns to their kangkung, but seriously. Overall, if I totalled how much I spent for this dish, it would total to about $3.00 inclusive of all the ingredients, and naturally it’d be even cheaper back home. Here a bunch of kangkung averages to about $1.50 depending where you get it from, while back home you paid 99c for five bunches.

Kangkung, also known as ‘water spinach’, is a vegetable commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisines, mainly Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore where it is usually stir-fried in a chilli sauce. Kangkung is also evident in other Asian cuisines and I do recommend that you check out how else it can be used by going to wikipedia (I know, the whole conception of wikipedia not being a reliable source, but trust me). Belacan, or sambal belacan, basically consists of fresh red hot chillies, roasted Malaysian shrimp paste and lime, made into a paste or sauce to be used either as a condiment, or as an ingredient in cooking.

So for today’s recipe as titled: Kangkung Belacan (stir-fried water spinach with chillies and shrimp paste).

Kangkung Belacan

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp sambal belacan*
  • 1 bunch kangkung, washed, leaves separated from the stems, and stems cut into short lengths
  • Handfull of small-sized ikan bilis (dried anchovies)

*I used a store bought paste, but you can always follow a recipe make your own.

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Add the ikan bilis and fry until crisp. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the garlic and 1 of the sliced bird’s eye chilli and sauté until golden brown. Add in the onions and sauté until soft. Bring the heat down to low and then add in the sambal belacan, cooking the belacan over high heat will cause it to spit all over the stovetop and we don’t want to have a messy cooking area. Cover if needed. Sauté the belacan until fragrant.
  3. Add the the kangkung leaves, stems and a little bit of water to dilute the belacan you think can’t handle the heat. Cover until the leaves start to wilt. Toss around the belacan to coat the leaves and stems evenly (kangkung literally takes only a minute to cook).
  4. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the fried ikan bilis and fresh red chillies. Serve with hot rice.

Kangkung Belacan

BON APPÉTIT!

– Ally xx

myTaste.com