Nasi Lemak is a popular rice dish which can be served all day long. It is usually comes with simple fried fish, omelette, fried peanuts/anchovies and the sambal chilli paste/sambal ikan bilis! But in Singapore Chinese cooked stall, you can see that there are varieties of other side dishes like fried chicken, hotdogs, fish cake,luncheon meat, stir-fry cabbage/long beans....But I still prefer the simple Malay style, just omelette, fried peanuts and huge dollop of sambal ikan bilis will do! Looks intimidating to come out with this platter of Nasi Lemak? It is actually very simple and uncomplicated as the sambal ikan bills and fried peanuts can be prepared in advance and kept for several days. On the day itself, I just need to prepare the steamed coconut milk rice, fried the fish and egg. In no time a plate of irresistible Nasi Lemak is ready to be served!
1st step....making of sambal ikan bills which can be made in advance and chill in fridge till serve
Preparing the coconut milk rice....submerge the washed rice in coconut milk, water, garlic, shallots, ginger, salt and of course pandan leaves! Steam till rice is cooked and liquid absorbed.
Sambal Ikan Bilis (Anchovies)
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste (dissolved in 1 cup water)
- 1 cup dried anchovies
- 10 dried red chilli, briefly soaked in water to soften
- 2" belachan (prawn paste)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 8 shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar, or to taste
- Wash the dried anchovies and drain away the water. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan. Pan fry the anchovies until they are lightly brown and crisp. Set aside.
- Remove the seeds from the dried chills. Place the chilli, shallots, garlic, prawn paste into a food processor. Blend into a fine paste.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan and sauté the chilli paste till fragrant for about 5 mins.
- Add in sliced onion and fry till onion is softened.
- Stir in 3/4 cup of the tamarind juice. Add salt and sugar to taste. Simmer over low heat until the gravy thickens.
- Stir in fried anchovies. If mixture is too dry, stir in remaining tamarind juice. Add in more sugar to taste if necessary.
- Remove and set aside. Cool completely before chilling in fridge if necessary.
Coconut Milk Steamed Rice
- 2 cups rice
- 200ml coconut milk
- 250ml water
- 2 slices ginger, lightly crushed
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- dash of black pepper
- salt to taste
- 3 pandan leaves, knotted
- Wash, rinse and drain the rice. Combine all the ingredients evenly in the rice cooker, if using. Cook as usual.
- Alternatively : Place the rice ingredients over a preheated steamer and steam over medium high heat for 15 mins till rice is cooked through and liquid absorbed.
- Rest rest for 15 mins. Remove pandan leaves and fluff up the rice. Serve with sambal ikan bills, turmeric ikan kembong, fried peanuts and omelette.
Simple side dishes...Turmeric Ikan Kembong. Clean the fish thoroughly and season with some turmeric powder and salt, then pan-fry till crisp and golden brown on each sides.
Homemde Fried Peanuts and Anchovies...just rinse the dried peanuts and anchovies and drain well. Place on kitchen paper to dry them up. Deep fry individually till crispy and lightly brown. Toss them together evenly with some salt. Cool and store in air-tight container.