Experiences - Asia

7 Authentic Malay Rice Dishes Worth Trying

We know that the Malay cuisine is a melting pot of cultures and incorporates an eclectic approach from different cuisines. However, it has its own distinct flavour and unique dishes.

Rice is a staple food in Malay cuisine and it is served with a host of accompaniments.

The dishes are different and unique according to the geographical areas in Malaysia. For example the regions of Terengganu and Kelantan are famous for Nasi dagang, Nasi kerabu and Keropok lekor, while Malacca is popular for its spicy Asam Pedas and Brunei for its unique Ambuyat dish.

We bring to you 7 authentic Malay rice dishes that you must savour while in Malaysia.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak with Sweet Sambal Recipe

The national favourite of Malaysia, Nasi lemak is an authentic Malay dish.  It literally means rich and creamy rice in the Malay language. The name is derived from the cooking process where the rice is soaked in coconut cream and steamed with pandan leaves. It is served with sambal, roasted peanuts, ikan bilis and cucumber along with boiled eggs. It is one of the famous street foods all over Malaysia.


Lemang Malay Rice Dishes

Image Courtesy: zolmuhd used under the Creative Commons Licence

Lemang is one of the traditional Malay dishes that is popular in the Iban Dayak community tribe of Borneo. It is made using glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and cooked in a hollow bamboo stick.  It is generally prepared on special occasions like the Iban harvest festival  known as the Hari Gawai and eaten with chicken curry. The cooking process is known as panosh.

Nasi Kerabu


Image Courtesy: CCFoodTravel.com used under the Creative Commons Licence

Popular in the Kelantan and Terengganu, Nasi Kerabu is an authentic Malay rice dish which is blue in colour mixed with various herbs generally eaten with fish or fried chicken and fresh salads and pickle on the side. The blue color of rice is from the petals of butterfly-pea flowers (kembang telang) which is  used in cooking it. It is also accompanied with Keropok.

Nasi Dagang


Image Courtesy: Lara Wannabe used under the Creative Commons Licence

It is known as the Nasi Lemak of the east Malaysian Peninsula. The rice is cooked in coconut milk served with fish curry, shaved coconut, boiled eggs and vegetable pickles. The most famous Nasi dagang of Terengganu comes from Kampung Ladan. It is also be considered as a festive dish that is prepared during  Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Nasi Campur


Image Courtesy: romaryka used under the Creative Commons Licence

Nasi Campur refers to a plate of white rice usually served with ulam( herbs) and Sambal Belacan accompanied by portions of meat, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and fried-shrimp krupuk. A variation of this rice dish also includes adding a lot of herbs which is known as Nasi ulam, served with assorted vehgetables, fish and eggs. It is also eaten as a salad. There’s also a  Japanese dish which shares the same name called Chanpuru and is famous in Okinawa.

Nasi Minyak


Image Courtesy: fitri agung used under the Creative Commons Licence

Made usually during Malay weddings, this rice dish is flavoured with whole dried spices and ghee, served with rendang. Minyak means oily and as the name suggests the dish is rich and buttery. A variation of nasi minyak is called nasi hujan panas, which varies in colour.

Nasi Paprik


Image Courtesy: Colin Charles used under the Creative Commons Licence

Also known as Nasi pad prik is a Malay fried rice made with sauteed chilli paste and has a Thai origin. It is famous in the northern parts of Malaysia which is closer to Southern Thailand.

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