Desperately…

I have been hunting for some really good, super-lemak nasi lemak in town but so far, I have yet to come across one that meets my standard. That left me with no choice but to try and cook my own. These were the ingredients I used…

Nasi lemak ingredients

…a bit of ginger, bruised, one stalk of serai (lemon grass), bruised also at the end and several leaves of pandan, knotted.

After washing 2½ cups of rice thoroughly, I added a can of santan (coconut milk) but that was not enough for the amount of rice I was cooking so I added a bit of water…

Nasi lemak ready to cook

…and threw in the aforementioned ingredients plus a pinch of salt and left it to cook. I don’t know if it’s my around-25-year-old rice cooker that was the problem but I had to stir it regularly to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. That was all right and I managed to get it done in the end.

I did not bother to cook the sambal or the other condiments to go with it. Instead, I just served it with some leftover sambal nenas (pineapple) and acar (pickle) and I fried some fish as well plus some sambal belacan that I had in the fridge

Nasi lemak 1

Unfortunately, it failed to meet my expectations. No, it just was not lemak enough. In fact, it was more or less like all those than I can get outside, nothing more and nothing less….and like all those outside, with all those things that I had to go with it…

Nasi lemak 2

…it sure made a very nice meal. Now where did I go wrong? Was it because I used canned santan instead of the freshly-squeezed one…or was it because I diluted it with water? At this point in time, I really do not know but I think I will give it another shot soon and hopefully, it will work out…somehow.

Gosh!!! It is really so very hot around here these days and one thing that we would do to cool down (inside) in such weather would be to cook some let tao th’ng (green bean soup). I think they call it bubur kacang hijau (green bean porridge) in Malay, if I am not wrong. Usually when my missus cooks it, she will drain it and everybody would enjoy it as when chilled, it does make a very nice refreshing drink…but it is such a waste of the beans which would end up being thrown away. Well, that day, I decided to do something with them. I added some water, evaporated milk and several scoops of pandan-flavoured kaya/coconut jam (Glory Brand) and brought it to boil…

Let tao dessert

Hey!!! It tasted really great especially when served cold. I must say that I enjoyed it a lot…and rest assured that when I cook some let tao th’ng again, I would surely use the beans for this very nice dessert…and maybe I would add some sago pearls as well next time.

Moving on from there, I am glad that I finally managed to use up all the not-very-nice made-in-China noodles that I bought in Miri. This time around, I fried them with sambal belacan plus some tauhu pok (fried bean curd) and tomato wedges…and garnish with spring onions…

Belcan fried noodles

…and some kacang tumbuk like what they do with Thai pineapple fried rice. I thought it was really very nice and the best thing about it was that the belacan was able to drown out the not-very-pleasant smell of the noodles and with the flavours of everything added, it sure was something I would not mind having again.

Maybe I can do the same with the (very much cheaper) dried egg noodles that we can get around here. Wanna have some? Come, come! Come on over and I’ll have that ready in a jiffy! Hehehehehehe!!!!

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31 thoughts on “Desperately…

  1. The presentations are quite nice, and I love your sense of humour. :)

    :D Many say I’m funny, some say I’m sarcastic…but funny. Ya, presentation is important – makes something more alluring.

  2. hmmm, it means to get that level of lemak you want, must put in lots and lots and lots of santan.. probably need two cans huh?? and boy, i love that green beans soup, awwww, chilled it and it’s perfect for this hot weather lately.. :)

    Yes, I loved it. Gotta cook some more – doesn’t look like the hot weather is ever going to end. :( Ya, will try two cans next time. Maybe I’ll steam the rice, see how it turns out.

  3. Your version of nasi lemak with deep fried fish looks really delicious! Too bad it is still not lemak enough for you. When was the last time you ate nasi lemak that was really lemak enough for you and where did you buy that?

    Many many years ago at Cititel, Penang. I never had nasi lemak at hotels, didn’t want to waste tummy space on that when one could got all kinds of things in their buffet spread. I was helping myself to the condiments…when somebody opened the rice pot and the lemak fragrance came out. I was sold – had nasi lemak every morning the rest of the mornings I was there.

    I found a stall here – the rice was of that same standard but the guy has moved – dunno where he is now. Still searching.

  4. For the bubur kacang hijau, why need to drain it? For those who wants to drink the water only, just leave the beans for others to eat. Or eat the beans with the water like red bean soup. So sayang to throw away the beans. You are so diligent to save the beans by “recycling” them into another type of sweet dessert soup. Well done!

    My mother cooks this with thick seaweed too and we eat them all together – supposed to be very cooling for the body. But not everyone can take the “fishy” taste of the seaweed.

    Seaweed? Oh no! No, thanks! The Foochows here eat that a lot – they cook their soups with it – the thick ones and the curly ones. Have health benefits, they say, but no, I can’t stand the smell.

    Nobody wants the beans but everybody wants to drink the soup – very nice and cooling when chilled. Besides, if you leave the beans inside, they will soak up all the soup, even when in the fridge, and when you want to drink, you will find one mushy mess, the beans all bloated and no soup. I guess other people do not keep theirs long enough – so few of us in the house – we cook one pot and keep in the fridge for days – drink/eat slowly.

    • My mother also keeps the green beans tong sui in the fridge for many days but she keeps the water and beans separately. When we eat we just mix the two together because we like to eat the beans too. Guess your wife really does not like to eat the green beans.

      Ahhhhhh!!! So that’s how it is kept. She will eat but usually there will be too much left over after the soup is gone and both she and my girl prefer just the soup, don’t mind a bit of the beans…but not just the beans. I’m the same but I don’t mind more beans, less soup.

  5. Oh. So when are you cooking again? Hehehe.

    I never cook nasi lemak from scratches other than the time in economy class back in Secondary School. I remember it required lots of hard works but the nasi lemak turned out good. Even the sambal. If only I have the recipe in the book….but I dont think I have that will in me to cook it. ^^ Easier to find and eat from outside.

    You’ve cooked it before? Come, come. Cook yours and invite me over to your house to try. I know where you live now. Hehehehehehe!!!!

  6. the mystery of the nasi lemak! my grandmother is coming up to KL next month, maybe i can ask her what was her secret to keeping the full santan flavour and fragrance intact for her recipe :)

    Please do. I sure would want to know. I think it needs freshly-squeezed santan…or more cans. The ones in tins aren’t that fragrant and has a bit of the overcooked santan smell. In Malay, they say keluar minyak…but very slightly.

  7. Your nasi lemak still looks very good to me.. Too bad still not lemak enuff for you, haha.. Too much work for me, I don’t think I will cook the rice myself.. What? Your missus will drain the beans and only save the liquid when she boils tongsui? Waste wor.. But hubby also likes only the liquid when I boil red bean tongsui, and he will scoop out all the beans.. Hmmpphhh..

    I don’t mind the beans. My missus and daughter will eat when they are in the soup – but if you leave the beans inside, they will soak up all the soup and you will have nothing left to drink – just the mushy beans to eat. I love red beans but my missus does not eat those – gives her a headache, she says…even tau sar.

    Cooking the rice for the nasi lemak is easy – not much work there (just that mine was not lemak enough) – it is preparing the rest of the stuff, the sambal and what not that is tedious.

  8. There’s always nothing can compare to one own’s cooking. You can put the amount of ingredients to your liking. And , different people have different standards too in terms of rice , spiciness ..etc.

    Tell me about it. My missus, probably inspired by my attempt to cook nasi lemak, went and made the sambal ikan bilis…and my goodness!!! It was so so so hot – can take a bit and mix with the rice and eat. Can’t just scoop and eat like that. It is very very nice though – still got in the fridge so we’ll take a bit each meal and eat with rice. Yum! Yummmm!!!!!

  9. I always believe that the secret to a good nasi lemak is the santan, and the sambal that goes with the nasi. I should try doing one too as those outside dont meet my standards often. The RM1.00 banana leaf nasi lemak sold by the roadside is usually nicer than the expensive ones in cafes.

    True, how very true! I find the sambal pretty good at many places around here – it is the rice that I have a problem with – dry, hard and hardly any santan fragrance. :(

  10. Oh, I just want the acar and fish to go with the nasi lemak. For lek tau tng, I like to put in some sweet potatoes and sago pearl. That would be wonderful for a hot crazy weather like now.

    Yes, it’s July now and they say this month, it is going to be worse. So so so hot! :(

  11. Jangan terlebih lemak selalu jaga badan brudder

    Yalor…sudah cukup lemak hor. But hey! There’s talk that coconut has a whole lot of health benefits – all that bad light – the result of the US trying to promote their own corn oil. Bluff one! They say the expensive olive oil is good – I used for cooking, the whole kitchen covered by a thin layer of it, sticky all over. Imagine that inside us. :( Everything in moderation – will be fine!

  12. It is due to be 41 celsius with the humidex here in Montreal tomorrow. I cannot handle this type of heat. :(

    Oh dear!!! That’s as hot as here right now. They say it’s in the mid-30’s…but everyone is pretty sure it is over 40. Not going to get any cooler for the whole of July, the weatherman says. :(

  13. Hmm very interesting preparation of the green bean dessert.. never heard of people draining the beans away, because to me, that’s the best part! We just eat it like red bean dessert, soup and beans and everything else! :)

    I guess you do not cook one whole big pot and keep overnight – the next day, you will find that the beans have soaked up all the soup – nothing more to drink and you will have to eat the bloated mushy beans. That’s why we drain or just leave a little bit left in the soup. Maybe we cook too much beans at one go – stronger flavour, nicer.

  14. My fren, at our age, don’t take so santan-ic lo.. enough to get the flavour, ok already.. anyway, eat merrily and happily.. sometimes healthy sometimes unhealthy… then only life is more meaningful.. hehehe…

    You have been misinformed, my friend. Go ahead and google to read up on it – like this one, for instance:

    http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-coconut-milk-2031.html

    You seldom cook, eat out so often – all the oil, fat, salt and msg – those, you need to watch out.

    For one thing, we seldom use santan in our cooking. Even for curry, we use milk…as it will not go bad so easily…but between the two, milk is worse, it seems. Even for the green bean dessert, I used evaporated milk but of course, there is santan in the kaya. No matter, everything in moderation – all will be fine.

  15. Eh so clever you to recook the beans like that. Sounds very delicious. Slurp!

    It was. I loved it – especially with extra kaya and milk…but of course, cannot eat too much lah. Have to control sikit. Hehehehehe!!!!

  16. I’ve yet to try the rice with coconut milk yet.. maybe just one of these days… today i cook chicken rice (my style) … hehehe.. and ABC soup with chicken feet.. kakaka..

    I tried chicken rice once – not successful. :( I’d just go for the good ones in town, easier. Hehehehehe!!!!!

  17. Now cannot have nasi lemak for breakfast since is fasting month. Unless I go to chinese stall which is way too expensive. Maybe I want to cook also like you but I cannot cook sambal from scratch la. Lesen KopiO

    Got Chinese ones here too, never tried – dunno good or not.

  18. Oh, nasi lemak! I thought it is just normal rice with fish.

    Ok, i just check with my malay colleagues, they told me, no need to use lemongrass. Pandan leave ginger, halba and santan. Cook the rice use minimal water, when it is half cook use chopstick to loosen the rice and add in pati santan ( pati santan must pre heat/cook on the wok first), tada, your nasi lemak is ready. hahahahhahah..sound easy hor. You try and let me know success or not.

    Halba? Fenugreek? Dunno if we still have any in the house. I got my method from somebody’s recipe shared on Facebook – only difference is she used steaming. Will try again sometime…but maybe not so soon. Missus and Melissa not so keen on nasi lemak, but will eat. :(

  19. Maybe the santan from the can is not thick enough. Why not try the santan from packet ( I like Harmuni) which is quite thick. You may need to add water but it will still be quite thick. Your noodles look fantastic. Sure makes one drool :D

    Oh? Gotta check that out. I usually use Ayam, canned – so far, all right for our purposes. Sigh!!! I’m beginning to like my own fried noodles and fried rice more than any that I can get in town. Looks like I will have to fry everytime if I feel like having any instead of going out and grumble that this and that ain’t so great! :(

  20. Hi Mr Wee. the last time i tried, i used coconut cream diluted with a little bit of water and the lemak-ness turns out ok. it will be too diluted if you dilute the coconut milk with water again. that’s my experience. hope it helps! :D

    Ok, will give it a try. I have a can of coconut cream in my pantry so I was torn between using that or coconut milk. Should have used that instead. Thanks for the tip.

  21. The green bean dessert is yummy, I love it, sometimes will mix with red beans too ;)

    Oh? Nice? We’ve never done that. In fact, we never cook red beans (I would have to eat ang tao peng outside) as it makes my missus’ head giddy. Red bean paste, tau sar, same effect. Dunno why. :(

  22. I think you’ll need to use fresh santan, canned one tends to have less fragrance.

    I guess so. Lazy to go out to buy, especially with the hot weather these days. :(

  23. Next time when you come to KL, I hope your hosts would bring you to feast at Village Park where they sell the best Nasi Lemak in West Malaysia. All the walls have photos of our PM, DPM and ex-PM eating there. I think their fried chicken and santan lemak rice is really good! BAGUS!

    I would love to go there to try…since everyone seems to be talking about it. I hope it’s the RICE that is great – and it’s not so famous because of all the very nice dishes you can pick to go with it. I am not into those – I just want good very very very lemak rice. The usual sambal and the other condiments will do for me, no need for the multitude of sins to camouflage some not-so-great rice…in which case, one might as well have plain white rice.

    Ummmm…who are my hosts? Any particular reason why you cannot take me there for the so-very-special treat?

    • Everyone eats their famed fragrant rice and delicious fried chicken. The extras are not really important to me. It would be my great pleasure to give you a treat there anytime. I am just a nobody blogger while you have always being surrounded by so many good friends like a hot celebrity in KL who line up the outings for you.

      True, true…advance booking required. So I will reserve Village Park for you. Hehehehehehe!!!

  24. Nice! A whole ikan bawal, you certainly can’t get that in nasi lemak stalls here!

    I always get mine with a drumstick (masak merah) and it costs RM 6 with a fried egg in addition to the regular stuff. I think yours looks good too, would love to try. Haha!

    Good grief! These smaller ones are around RM15 a kg here – the big ones can go up to over RM30. They’re not very heavy so for a kg, one should be able to get a few, not too expensive.

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