Nasi Lemak Bungkus, Malaysia’s most popular breakfast now with sambal udang (prawn sambal). It is a gastronomical delight you don’t want to miss.
I think I can safely say that Nasi Lemak Bungkus is Malaysia’s most popular breakfast and few, if any will challenge that claim. It certainly is a favorite at our house. It is Paul’s absolute favorite breakfast and so I prepare it each year for him on Father’s Day. The boys have also come to enjoy it very much. Needless to say, I love it too.
While Nasi Lemak can be enjoyed with Chicken Curry, Beef Rendang, Fish Curry, and the likes, Paul prefers the basic Nasi Lemak Bungkus best. The only exception is another kind of sambal. Surely, apart from the nasi lemak sambal itself there is none more tasty than Sambal Udang. This fiery and piquant side dish complements nasi lemak like no other.
You bet Paul enjoyed his Father’s Day breakfast and so did we all! 🙂
Nasi Lemak Bungkus is best wrapped with a layer of banana leaves which imparts its fragrance to the rice. Also wrap the rice while it is still warm and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. If you have leftovers, simply store in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave the next morning. IMHO, I think it tastes even better the next day. Give it a try and let me know if you agree.
For this recipe, I have purposely left the fried ikan bilis on its own so that it remains crispy. If you prefer to add it to the sambal, please check out this other Nasi Lemak Bungkus recipe on my other blog, Roti n Rice. It is a matter of preference but both versions taste just as delicious.
Nasi Lemak Bungkus, Malaysia's most popular breakfast now with sambal udang (prawn sambal). It is a gastronomical delight you don't want to miss.
- 2½ cups long grain rice (equivalent to 3⅓ rice cooker cup) (500g)
- 3 pandan leaves (knotted)
- 1 inch ginger (peeled and crushed)
- ½ tsp salt
- 3¼ cups coconut milk (780ml)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil (60ml) + some for frying ikan bilis
- 4 oz ikan bilis (dried anchovies), trimmed and peeled (115g)
- 1 cucumber (thinly sliced)
- 6 hard boiled eggs (sliced)
- 1 cup roasted peanuts or Spanish peanuts
- 12 pieces 10-inch x 8-inch banana leaves
- 12 pieces of 12-in x 7-inch brown paper
- 30 g asam jawa (tamarind paste)**, rinsed
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (60ml)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 dried chilies
- 6 red chilies
- 6 shallots or 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1 serai / lemongrass (white part only), sliced
- ¾ inch cube belacan (toasted)
- ⅓ cup water (80ml)
Wash and drain rice 4 to 5 times in rice cooker insert. Drain. Add pandan leaves, ginger, and coconut milk. Dry exterior of rice cooker insert. Place insert into rice cooker and press the start button.
When rice is cooked and ready to be used, unplug the rice cooker and allow rice to sit for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a pair of chopsticks or a fork before packing.
Rinse and soak ikan bilis for 15 minutes. Drain and blot dry with paper towels.
Heat about an inch of oil in a medium saucepan. Add ikan bilis and fry until golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Break dried chilies in half and shake off seeds. Soak in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain.
Blend all spice paste ingredients with ⅓ cup (80ml) water until smooth.
Place asam jawa in a small metal strainer over a bowl. Pour 1 cup (240ml) hot water over asam jawa. Stir and press down asam jawa with a spoon to dissolve.
Heat ¼ cup (60ml) vegetable oil in a medium pot. Add ground spice paste and stir fry for 5 minutes until fragrant.
Pour strained tamarind juice into the pot. Stir to combine. Place lid on the pot and allow sauce to come to a boil. When it comes to a boil, add sugar and salt. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
Occasionally, open the lid and stir. Once sauce thickens and color darkens, turn off stove. Transfer sambal to a serving bowl.
Place a piece of brown paper on your work surface. Then place a piece of banana leaf on top of the brown paper. Banana leaf should be slightly wider but shorter than brown paper.
Scoop and compact rice into a small bowl. Over turn rice bowl onto the banana leaf. Pile half an egg, a few slices of cucumber, some peanuts, fried ikan bilis, sambal, and sambal udang on top of rice.
Bring both the long edges of banana leaf and newsprint to meet in the center with the one edge overlapping slightly on one end. Criss-cross the flaps in the center by placing bottom flap on the top on the opposite end. Fold both ends under to form a pyramid shape package.
Let package of rice sit for 10 minutes before serving so that rice will absorb some of the banana leaf fragrance.
For an even more authentic feel, I managed to buy some warung (Malay coffee shop) style metal spoons often used in Malaysia when serving Nasi Lemak Bungkus. They are just the perfect size but more importantly, Paul was delighted! 😉