Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Nasi Lemak with Chicken Curry Kapitan (Coconut Rice with Captain's Chicken Curry)

I've been procrastinating. There I said it. Ok...now getting on with it. Lol!

For a brunch that @flavoursofspain, @Bowman80Mark and @Rainbow_h20 was coming for, I figured let's make the traditional brunch dish that Malaysian divulge in - NASI LEMAK. Of course, there was a fistful of other delectable dishes on the menu but this practically summarises the epitome of yummy food all in one plate.

Nasi Lemak or Coconut Rice is practically an institution in its own right I should say in Malaysia. From Nasi Lemak Bungkus (Packed Coconut Rice) to Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng (Coconut Rice with Fried Chicken), one can find a variation of this dish at almost every street corner, road side stall, upmarket restaurant and hotel brasserie. What makes mine so special? Lol...just that it is home cooked and paired with nyonya / peranakan curry dish called Chicken Curry Kapitan or loosely translated Captain's Chicken Curry. So here's the long list of ingredients needed for every component of the dish:

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) 
2 cups normal long grain rice or basmati rice
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
2 long strands of pandan / screwpine leaves tied into a knot
2 lemongrass stalks flattened at the base
4 cm ginger - roughly the size of two fingers - skin removed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt

Chicken Curry Kapitan (Captain's Chicken Curry)
For the paste (to be pounded or processed) 
around 2 tbsp bunga kantan / torch ginger flower - coarsely sliced (none? you can leave it out)
4 cloves of garlic
about 10 small shallots or 3 medium sized bulb shallots usually used in French cooking - coarsely chopped
4 cm fresh galangal - coarsely chopped
4 cm ginger - coarsely chopped
2 cm fresh turmeric root - flattened
4 fresh red chillies - de-seeded
5 to 10 dried chillies - soaked in hot water and de-seeded if you want to
4 fresh bird's eye chillies - de-seeded
2 tbsp belacan granules - already toasted
2 stalks lemon grass - coarsely chopped

about 1kg of chicken pieces tossed in turmeric powder and left overnight for marination
1 cup coconut milk
Juice of 1 lemon
1 to 2 tbsp kaffir lime leaves - julienned / thinly sliced
3 to 4 glugs of sunflower oil

For the Sambal Ikan Bilis (Anchovy Sambal)
For the paste (to be pounded or processed)
4 cloves of garlic
4 cm ginger - skin removed and coarsely chopped
1 big shallots or 5 small shallots - skin removed and coarsely chopped
1 red onion - sliced into rings
1 tbsp belacan granules - already toasted
2 red chillies - de-seeded
5 dried chillies - soaked in hot water and de-seeded
1/2 cup of tamarind juice made from 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste soaked in hot water
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

About 200gms dried anchovies - beheaded and stomach contents removed 
3 to 4 glugs of sunflower oil

Cucumber - thinly sliced
4 hard boiled eggs - sliced into quarters
Peanuts - fried with some oil
About 150gms dried baby anchovies - fried in oil 

  1. Firstly marinate your chicken with the turmeric powder and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Alternatively an hour or two is sufficient. 
  2. Then make your curry paste by blending all the paste ingredients together and set to one side. Followed by making the sambal paste as well and set to one side. 
  3. On a shallow frying pan, heat up oil til hot enough to fry up dried anchovies. Ladle up fried anchovies and set aside. 
  4. In a smaller pot, use oil from anchovies and cook up the sambal paste. Stir until chilli oil appears on the surface then add in the onion rings. Cover the rings in the paste, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer with a stir every now and then. Boil some water for your hard boiled eggs with your eggs in it and then when it comes to a boil, let it sit for 3 minutes before turning off the heat. Leave the eggs in the water. 
  5. Now in a bigger pot, heat up the oil and add in the curry paste. Stir constantly until fragrant and add in the chicken. Cover the chicken with the paste before adding in the coconut milk, lime juice and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer, stirring here and there to avoid the bottom of the pot from burning. This would probably take about 40 minutes.
  6. Finish off the sambal with the tamarind juice, brown sugar and salt. Bring it to a boil again, test it for taste and then remove from heat. Set aside.
  7. Next prepare the rice by giving the rice a quick rinse under cold water and drain. Then add in the water, coconut milk, pandan leaves, ginger, lemongrass and salt. Shake it a little so that the salt and coconut milk is evenly spread out in the rice and cook. I used a rice cooker but on a stove that would normally take less than 20 minutes. Do not open the lid as that would definitely disturb the cooking process. Once you see no more liquid bubbling at the surface and your rice actually looking fluffy, the rice is ready. Remove it from the stove and set aside.
  8. Check on your curry to see whether chicken is cooked properly. There will be layer of yellow looking oil - comes from infusing turmeric with oil from the coconut milk and the sunflower oil. Add some salt if need be and stir again before turning off the heat.
  9. Then in the same shallow pan, add some oil to fry up the baby anchovies first before tossing in the peanuts. Add some salt, toss a little more until anchovies and peanuts look crispy / golden brown then remove from the heat and pour onto a bowl. Prepare your hard boiled eggs by shelling it and slicing it into quarters. Then slice up your cucumbers thinly.
  10. Finally reheat your sambal again, and toss in the fried anchovies. Make it is fully incorporated. When sambal is hot enough and anchovies covered, take it off the heat.
  11. Now to assemble, a couple spoonfuls of coconut rice in the centre of plate, sliced cucumbers on the side with a quarter of a hard boiled egg, then spoon some sambal to the side, a big scoop of chicken curry kapitan and finally toss in the peanuts and anchovies mix. Voila! Nasi Lemak for you.
Have a peanut allergy? Simple...there is no need for it. It just adds crunch to the rice. Everyone left happy with a belly filled to the brim!

Want to savour this? Then look out for a planned brunch by me with dates soon to be announced.

Dreaming up the next traditional dish to be savoured,
The Innovative Baker


  1. That is heck a lot of effort for dinner after coming home from work, I am much in awe! When I do nasi lemak at home, it's almost always just the rice, sambal, ikan bilis and peanuts, egg, cucumbers, i.e. bare basic. curry and sides only if there's leftover from the day before or sth!

  2. Hahahaha...trust me... I know how you feel...It ain't easy but it certainly paid off!!! But more brunchy than anything...

    Am looking forward to your yummy Supperclub with Goz...

  3. When you say the dried anchovies -"beheaded and stomach contents removed" - I've never seen that in a recipe before, to disembowel a dried fish! Is it silly of me to ask how it's done?!

    1. Hi Intolerant Cooks: dried anchovies come with their heads intact as well as the stomachs still intact. So you'd need to physically peel them in half after peeling the heads off. Since you asked, I shall draw up a blogpost on this!


Tweet your favourites!


Related Posts with Thumbnails