The Malaysian Grand Prix – Nasi Lemak

So the second race of the year took place at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia.  The race was at 9am British Time so it was another early start, although luckily not quite as early as Australia had been.  This time I thought I’d go for a breakfast dish as that was more appropriate, although a Malaysian breakfast is quite different to a British one.

There could be no more appropriate a choice of dish than Nasi Lemak which is considered to be the national dish of Malaysia.  Nasi Lemak translates as fatty rice and is sold in banana leaves for breakfast.  Despite much scouring of my local Asian stores I couldn’t find any banana leaves, although I did find the dried anchovies (ikan bilis) and shrimp paste (belacan) that I needed.

The rice can be served with a variety of accompaniments, but I decided to keep it simple and go for just two of the more traditional ones. These were sambal, a spicy sauce with the dried anchovies in it, and a sliced, hard-boiled egg

I started things off with the simplest task, boiling my eggs.  While these were on I made my spicy paste.  I toned this down slightly from the recipe I found online as I thought that 5 chillies were a little much for my tender taste buds.  Instead I went for 2 small dried piri piri chillies, 2 small shallots, a clove of garlic, half a teaspoon of shrimp paste, a small amount of salt and half a tablespoon of sugar.

I pounded the ingredients together in a pestle and mortar to make a very sticky grey paste.  The sauce appears a deep red in the pictures I have seen so I guess my reduction of the chilli quantity affected the colour quite significantly.

The ingredients for my Sembal paste

With the paste made I moved onto the rice.  I gently fried a teaspoon of ginger paste and a shallot in some peanut oil. Then I added a cup of rice and mixing everything together.  After this, I added a cup of coconut milk and a cup of water, put a lid on the pan and left it to simmer gently.

I then moved back to my sambal topping.  I started off by frying a handful of dried anchovies in more peanut oil until they were brown and crispy.  I then removed them from the pan and set them aside before adding my paste to the pan.  The aroma as the spices cooked was great and filled the room; it was very fragrant with a hint of chilli.  When the mix had cooked through for a few minutes I returned the anchovies to the pan.

Cooking the Paste

All the ingredients seemed quite disparate and didn’t really form into a sauce, so I added a squirt of tomato puree and a little water to bind everything together. This resulted in something much similar to the pictures I had seen.  With the sauce made, I quickly de-shelled the eggs and checked on the rice. This was just about done, so I served the whole meal up.

All Served up

The spicy paste was very hot, but there was only a small amount in comparison to the creamy rice, so the result was fairly mild. I hadn’t been sure about the combination of eggs and coconut rice, but I think it worked rather well. The dish was actually very nice as a breakfast option. It tasted like I’d imagine the inspiration to kedgeree to be like. I wasn’t overly keen on the crispy anchovies, they were a little unusual to me at that time in the morning. However, my partner really went for them, eating mine as well as his own.

The race itself: This could have been another boring race, with Vettel leading start to finish. However, everyone behind him managed to liven things up plenty. There was an awful lot of over-taking, not all down to the DRS snf some hair-raising moments with Alonso’s attempts at over-taking Hamilton. There was also Vitaly’s Petrov’s spectacular attempt to become the next Russian on the moon by launching himself over a drainage ditch. Who needs rain to make a race interesting?

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3 Responses to “The Malaysian Grand Prix – Nasi Lemak”

  1. Jill@MadAboutMacarons Says:

    Looks and sounds absolutely delicious. Had this on honeymoon in Malaysia and tasted it first on the plane as breakfast. Admittedly, better for breakfast when jet-lagged when you’re not used to crispy anchovies early morning 😉

  2. Lucy Says:

    What a labour of love, doing all this BEFORE breakfast! I love Malaysian food but luckily there are have lots of fabulous Malaysian restaurants in the city where I live so I don’t have to do it myself! This does look worth a try though…

  3. Corina Says:

    I’d love to try this. I can’t see myself making it for breakfast though – maybe I’d manage it in time for a Saturday lunch.

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