Nothing is as versatile, popular, inclusive, diverse and hits the spot quite like nasi lemak – a dish that is special to Malaysians. It transcends boundaries especially in a multi-racial country like Malaysia.
Nasi lemak is a diverse of flavour profiles coming together. Fragrant rice enriched with coconut milk with knots of pandan leaves gives the rice that rich flavour while the spicy sambal adds a punch to it. Accompanying it are roasted peanuts and fried anchovies that adds crunch in every bite while cucumber slices cool your mouth after that spicy kick. You can opt for a hard-boiled egg or a fried egg to complete your nasi lemak. It’s the perfect breakfast to start the day, a pick-me-up for mid-day and a supper salve for those late-night cravings.
The humble nasi lemak has evolved through the years. From a simple packet wrapped in banana leaf, it has evolved to include set meal accompaniments that is laden with rendang, curry chicken, sambal sotong or prawns or fried chicken.
The flavours of nasi lemak has also changed from the predominantly Malay taste and tweaked according to the many races of Malaysia. The Chinese nasi lemak is served alongside non-halal dishes like fried luncheon meat or pork curry while the Indian version tends to lean towards the banana leaf rice and heavier on spices.
Nasi lemak is like Malaysians – a colourful combination of many components and presents multiple layers that is mixed to give that big, satisfying mouthful.