Monday, May 15, 2017

Nasi Lemak Kunyit Recipe

Nasi Lemak, or coconut rice, is a Malaysian staple and favourite, or rather Malaysian staple favourite, and it won't be even wrong to say favourite staple. And of course, we at home, love nasi lemak. Even more the kids especially when in Klang we used to get this awesome fried chicken together with it at the Shanmuga restaurant. It is definitely a must-have, must-eat, must-savour.

For the whole of my life I have never made nasi lemak at home, simply because it is easily available everywhere, any time. However, recently as I have been at home, cooking almost daily, I decided I should try making nasi lemak at home, giving some variety to the home menu. The same time I can prepare different types of sambal and curry to go with it.

I must admit though, the first time I was really nervous about not getting it right. Rightly so, the first time I had used only thick coconut milk and the outcome was not that pleasant. As I went on, I learnt the tricks and ingredients that help give a more fragrant coconut rice.

Over the last weekend, I was watching this cooking show, and they made this coconut rice, but with a sautee of turmeric with onion and ginger. I was delighted to watch them cook, and couldn't wait to try it on my own.

Over the last few months I have grown this new obsession with fresh turmeric since hubby has been taking them in his morning smoothies. It's been an experience of a kind discovering how much more fragrant and vibrant natural colour you get with turmeric in the recipe. And now I do not leave home (cook) without it.

So how do you make turmeric coconut rice, or nasi lemak kunyit?

It is pretty much the standard nasi lemak recipe. Some people cook rice in coconut milk, pandan leaves and ginger slices. Some people prefer to sautee the spices before cooking the rice. I do the latter.

Firstly take like 3-4cm of turmeric, and 4-5cm of ginger, and give it a nice grind or crushing (I am totally lost for words here) on the mortar and pestle. You could use a food processor if you like. Grind it slightly less than fine. Sautee chopped onion with the grinded turmeric and ginger, it can take about 10-15 minutes to give a nice fragrance. In the meantime, measure and wash your rice. Once the sautee is ready, pour in washed rice (minus water) and give it a nice stir to coat the grains of rice with the oil, flavour and colour. In about 10 minutes time, you can turn off the heat and transfer everything into the rice cooker. Add coconut milk diluted with water. Also add some fenugreek seeds, season with salt and cook like normal.

I decided to do away with pandan leaves, because I want the turmeric to be the master of the rice, The result, extremely fragrant and appetizing nasi lemak, not to mention the vibrant natural colour. Some recipes I checked online used turmeric powder, in which case you would need to give it adequate time on the flame to get off the raw powder taste. I must say, fresh turmeric just works best.

For us mothers, sometimes we are concerned over dietary factors of every meal we put on the table. I must admit I was always a tad bit skeptical making nasi lemak due to the lack of fiber content. The boys would just gobble the coconut rice without complaining. Now with nasi lemak kunyit, together with loads of raw cucumber, I think it works just perfect for taste and diet wise. Next round I am gonna use more turmeric and see how it turns out, because I can do with more natural vibrant yellow!

Happy trying!

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