Narrowing Malaysian food down to one signature dish is bloody hard- as any Malaysian worth his or her salt will tell you. But I’ve been thinking about this for some time now and I do honestly believe that Malaysians do indeed have a national dish- and that national dish is nasi lemak. Each different race and state in Malaysia has its own version. In Malaysia you’ll find people having nasi lemak for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper, at road side stalls, coffee shops,restaurants and hawker centers.
In English nasi lemak translates literally to ‘fatty rice’. Probably quite apt as having nasi lemak everyday will most certainly pile on the pounds. The common base to all nasi lemaks is the fluffy rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. On the side there must always be some fried anchovies, peanuts and cucumber. What you add to the basic ingredients after this is what gives each nasi lemak its individual kick. Some like their sambal hot and spicy, some like it slightly sweeter, some like it with prawns and petai, some like it with anchovies or dried shrimp, others prefer it with anchovies on the side. There are just so many variations.
Then you need to decide how you like your egg.Hard boiled or fried? We like ours sunny side up. There’s something very satisfying about watching the yellow-orange yolk pop and run over the hot,fragrant rice and sambal. Then you have to decide what should accompany the nasi lemak and sambal. Some swear by fried chicken. If I’m doing it I like to do a nyonya fried chicken version(fragrant with belachan and curry leaves). Others think a dry or wet beef rendang is essential to hitting the spot, although on occasion I’ve served it with a sensational dry nyonya chicken curry (which uses dried shrimp and lime juice instead of coconut milk, featured below).
Best served on a banana leaf and washed down with some of Wild’s delicious ais kacang! If this is making you salivate, get on our supper club dinner list for January!Happy New year all!