Hed Chef

Flavour brown rice with pandan for twist on traditional nasi lemak

Nasi lemak with pandan-flavoured brown rice.
Nasi lemak with pandan-flavoured brown rice.PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - This is great for house parties as you can serve it buffet-style. I used brown rice for my version of nasi lemak and added pandan juice for flavour and a shade of emerald. You will view brown rice differently when you taste the results.

I used one cup of rice to two cups of liquid. This ratio may vary with the brand you use, and it also depends on how you like the texture of your rice. I like mine fluffy with a slightly chewy bite.

I usually fry up extra chilli paste as it can be used for other dishes.

Aside from fried fish, fried egg and roasted assam chicken, you can add fried ikan bilis and fried peanuts to the nasi lemak.

Add dry raw groundnuts to hot oil and turn off the heat. Allow them to fry in the residual heat, and turn the flame back on when the heat has dissipated. Fry until golden brown and sprinkle with salt and sugar.

Nasi Lemak



150g dried and deseeded chilli
6 red finger chillies
120g shallots
3 garlic cloves
10g fresh turmeric
10g fresh ginger
1 lemon grass stalk (use 5cm of only the white root)
2 tsp belacan powder (or 3cm piece of belacan)
4 Tbs cooking oil
1 Tbs tamarind juice
½ tsp salt
3 tsp sugar


1. Boil the dried chilli until softened. Rinse and drain dry.
2. Grind the dried chilli, red finger chillies, shallots, garlic cloves, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, lemon grass stalk and belacan powder into a smooth paste.
3. Heat the cooking oil and fry the paste for 10 minutes. Add the tamarind juice and continue frying until oil surfaces.
4. Add sugar and salt to taste.
5. Remove from wok and allow to cool.
6. The excess chilli paste can be stored in an air-tight jar and kept in the fridge.

Coconut rice


8 pandan leaves 
1¾ rice cups of water
3 rice cups of long-grained brown rice
1 rice cup of coconut cream
1 rice cup of water
4 pandan leaves, knotted
Pinch of salt


1. To make the pandan juice, blend 8 pandan leaves with 1¾ rice cups of water. 
2. Strain and squeeze out the juice. You should get about 2 rice cups of pandan juice.
3. Place the brown rice, pandan juice, coconut cream, water, knotted pandan leaves and salt in a rice cooker. Stir well before cooking. 


Fried fish


10 ikan kuning
1 flat tsp salt
2 Tbs ground tumeric
1/3 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbs cornflour
Oil for deep-frying


1. Clean the fish and rub with salt.
2. Marinate with the ground turmeric and ground pepper.
3. Coat with cornflour.
4. Deep-fry until golden and crispy.

Fried egg


½ tsp cornflour
2 tbsp water
3 eggs, beaten
2 pinches of salt
3 Tbs cooking oil


1. Mix the cornflour with water and add to the beaten egg.
2. Add salt and mix well.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the egg mixture over medium-low heat.

Roasted assam chicken


4 chicken quarters, deboned and halved
1 Tbs assam jawa (tamarind pulp)
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1/3 tsp ground cumin
1/3 tsp ground coriander
1/3 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp sugar


1. Wash and dry the chicken pieces.
2. Place them in a deep dish and mix in all the other ingredients.
3. Marinate for 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
5. Place chicken on baking wire rack and baste with marinade.
6. Roast at 180 deg C for 10 minutes. Turn over, baste and roast for another 5 minutes.

Yields six servings.