Nasi Kuning or Nasi Kunyit is an aromatic rice dish flavoured with turmeric, lemongrass and pandan leaves. Cooked on special occasions, it can be served just as is to be accompanied by various sides or in its more elaborate form, it’s served up as a tall cone and surrounded by various curries and condiments. This latter version, called Nasi Tumpeng, is especially popular during Malay and Indonesian engagement ceremonies and at weddings.
Portions – I’ve given the ingredients as serving 4-6 because it really does depend on how much rice you eat and if anyone is going to have seconds. In our house, this amount will only serve 4.
Rice – there are 2, no 3 schools of thought with the type of rice used. Some say only pudding rice, others says long grain (Jasmine or Basmati), then there is the a bit of both camp! I personally love using pudding rice for this because of the sticky texture you get from the rice (like sticky rice), which I am a huge fan of. I shall leave the decision up to you, a little experimentation is called for, n’est-ce pas?
Coconut milk – I can only get the canned ones, I’m lucky to be able to get one with just coconut milk and water, nothing else! This can has 400 ml of milk and I top the total amount of liquid with water. You can always play around with the coconut milk, needless to say, the more you use, the richer the rice. When deciding this, please bear in mind the richness of the dishes you’ll be serving it with.
Herbs – pandan leaves (screwpine leaves/kewra) are traditionally used for this, and I like to add some lime leaves too. If you can’t get either, go with a bay leaf, don’t forget that we also have the lemongrass in here to add depth.
Nasi = Rice
Kuning = Yellow
Kunyit = Turmeric
INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)
400 ml coconut milk
300 ml water
2 lemongrass, bruised
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 pandan leaves, tied into a knot
3 lime leaves, torn slightly
1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear-ish.
2. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan over low medium heat, give it a stir and bring to a simmer. Leave to cook, uncovered until the liquid all but evaporates.
3. Give it a stir at this point, to discourage the coconut milk from catching. Usually, I don’t stir rice once it’s on the heat but when cooking with coconut milk, it’s a necessary step.
4. Turn the heat right down, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for another 10 minutes.
5. Turn the heat off and leave to sit for another 10 minutes. Fluff up the rice and serve with various curries and condiments.
Here are some examples: