LJ Entry – “Confesssions of a Roundeye Cook”

What it’s supposed to look like – ^^

I admit. I like to try different foods. Mostly, I like to try different foods in restaurants. I’ll find a dish I like, then look up a recipe for it, then try to make it myself. Chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie, butternut porridge (with sweet rice balls), bibimbap, fried rice, etc., etc.  Well, for the first time, I was inspired to make a dish I had never tried, could not find a restaurant for, nor had any ingredients I would normally have (besides rice).

The dish? Nasi Lemak, a Malaysian staple that can be found in various forms throughout the country and for breakfast or supper.The ingredients? Coconut milk, white rice, dried fish, chili paste, shallots, garlic, prawn paste, and tamarind juice.It took much searching, reminiscent of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, searching asian markets, mexican markets, and organic food markets, to amass most of the stuff needed. I did miss out on a few (can someone tell me where pandan leaves can be found in the United States of America??)

Once I started the dish, it was surprisingly easy, mostly cooked using the same deep-dish frying pan. Coconut milk replaced water in my rice cooker, making a brilliant white, slightly sweet rice. Just about everything ended up in pan in various stages. I then attempted to plate it based on my muse’s description, in my good Japanese rice set.

From this:

To this:

The sharp spiciness of the chilis hit your tongue a split second after the coconut flavor. An occasional crunch told me that a fried anchovy had made it to the mix. All in all, it was something I had never tasted before: exotic in both texture and flavor.

My mouth still burns a bit, but it was well worth the process.

Now if I can only find a Malaysian restaurant to try it for real!

About Shukmeister

I have a great fondness for chocolate chip cookie dough, 80's science fiction movies, and thunderstorms.

Posted on February 10, 2012, in Is It Cooking? and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Well done, shukie! It looks good. We tend to have the sambal to the side of the rice. Usu rice served on a plate for nasi lemak. Same with the rest of condiments. Side of dish. That way, you can vary the taste and spiciness of each mouthful. Sometimes we have the egg as sunny side up. But hard boiled is fine. And usually just sliced cucumber. The fancier nasi lemak may cone with all sorts of sambal prawns or sometimes beef rendang or fried chicken or sambal cuttlefish and /or all of the above if you are greedy!

    But the basic one is egg, anchovies, peanuts, sambal and cucumber ( it cools the spiciness)

    Enz

    • Thanks for the followup! I confess to knowing nothing about the dish until I started. At the time, I live-cooked it on OT. 🙂 I’ve experimented with several thing since then (like dukkboki), but you never forget your first mess….err…meal. 🙂

  2. I’m super impressed with you! You are one adventurous lady! Btw, I’ve seen pandan (screwpine leaves) in a can but I dare not use it. I have pandan essence. If you want, DM me over the tweeter and I’ll send you a bottle.

    • Thanks! I wonder if they have the stuff at the local grocery. We have an Asian, a Korean, a Vietnamese, and a Phillipino store, but no Malaysian / Indonesian one, so if I know it exists, I might find it locally. If not, I might take you up on your kind offer!

      Shuk

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