Kitchen Tips

How to Make Nasi Kandar In 5 Simple Steps

If you are a big fan of Malaysian rice dishes, then Nasi Kandar is something you can’t miss, a popular Malaysian dish, which originates from Penang. It’s a simple dish of plain steamed rice which is mildly flavoured and served with a variety of curries and side dishes.

The origin of Nasi Kandar

Nasi Kandar, is known to be an Indian Muslim dish, that can be traced to the streets of colonial Malaysia.


Image Courtesy: LWYang used under the Creative Commons Licence

The word Nasi kandar literally means Rice on shoulder, the hawkers would balance a kandar pole on their shoulder with two huge containers of rice meals and hence the name has remained and today the word Nasi Kandar is seen on most Tamil Muslim or “Malaysian Mamak” restaurants and Indian-Muslim food stall.

During the late 19th century, labourers who used work at the port of Penang survived on nasi kandar for their lunch. At that time, Penang was already an established international port at the north of strait of Malacca.

Alluring flavours

The alluring aromas of fragrant curries, vegetables, fried fish, beef and chicken is inexplicable when paired with Nasi Kandar.

A traditional Nasi Kandar hawker would put down his yoke and set up a hawker stall to cater to people on the street-side and that’s how it became popular in Malaysia especially among the street hawkers in Penang.

Nasi kandar is often served with chicken, beef, beef spleen, cubed beef, lamb, fish roe, fried prawns or fried squid along with a vegetable dish made of brinjal, okra or bitter gourd. A mixture of curry sauces is poured on the rice.


Image Courtesy: Alpha used under the Creative Commons Licence

How to make Chicken Nasi Kandar in 5 simple steps:

What you need:

1/2 kg chicken cut into pieces, a pinch of turmeric powder and Oil( as needed) for deep frying.

You will also need:

2 tomatoes quartered, 1pandan leaf, 1-2 sprigs of curry leaves, 1 inch of cinnamon stick, 3 anise star, 3 cardamoms, 2 onions, thinlysliced, 1/2 cup dark soya sauce, 1/4 cup tomato sauce/ puree, 2 tbsp palm sugar, 1/2 cup oil and a pack of beef curry powder.

You need to grind:

4 cloves of garlic, onion, ginger, poppy seeds ( khus khus) and curry powder.

How to make Nasi Kandar In 5 simple steps:

  1. Clean the chicken and coat it with turmeric and salt ( this will ensure that all the micro-germs are disinfected naturally).Leave the marinade for 30 miniutes and deep fry the chicken till cooked and golden brown.
  2. Heat up oil and saute the onions until they turn brown, add the laksa leaf, curry leaves, cinnamon, anise star and cardamom and fry until fragrant.
  3. Add in the ground curry paste and constantly stir until the mixture is well incorporated. Add some water and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Now add the soya sauce, tomato sauce/ puree, sugar, and salt to taste.
  5. Letthe gravy thicken for a while and then you add in the fried chicken. Simmer until it condenses, add the tomato and garnish it with coriander leaves.

Enjoy the Nasi Kandar with hot steaming rice.

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