Nasi Lemak Recipe

Nasi Lemak

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  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
247 Calories
2g Fat
53g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 4
Amount per serving
Calories 247
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 5g
Calcium 38mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Nasi lemak is a meal that consists of rice cooked in coconut milk served with sambal and garnishes that often include hard-boiled eggs, pickled vegetables, and crispy fried anchovies. Nasi lemak is considered a national dish of Malaysia, but various versions are also found in some regions of Indonesia and the southern Philippines.

The rice in nasi lemak is cooked in much the same way as rice is cooked in water except that the water is substituted with coconut milk. The richness in flavor is complemented by the fragrance imparted by pandan leaves and, sometimes, lemongrass and makrut lime leaf.

Long-grain rice is ideal for this dish as the starch content is low and the grains will not clump together.


  • 2 cups basmati or any long-grain rice
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white portion only)
  • 1/2 makrut lime leaf (optional)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • Garnishes: sambal, hard-boiled egg halves, sliced cucumber, crispy fried anchovies, peanuts

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse the rice and drain.

  2. Tie the pandan leaf into a knot.

  3. Lightly pound the lemongrass stalk.

  4. Drop the pandan leaf, lemongrass, and makrut lime leaf, if using, into the pot (alternately you can use a rice cooker). Pour in the rice followed by the coconut milk, bring to a boil, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes

  5. Halfway through cooking, remove the lid and stir the rice briefly with a fork. Continue cooking until done.

  6. To serve, place a mound of coconut rice at the center of a plate. Top with a heaping tablespoon of sambal. Arrange the garnishes around the rice and serve.