From The Straits Times Archives: Make a Nasi Lemak Turkey for a Singaporean Christmas

Peony Jade Restaurant's Nasi Lemak Turkey by Chef Harry.
Peony Jade Restaurant's Nasi Lemak Turkey by Chef Harry.ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN


By Harry Lew, executive chef of Peony Jade Restaurant

This recipe was first published in The Sunday Times on Dec 13, 2015.


  • By Harry Lew, executive chef of Peony Jade Restaurant
  • For the rice:

    1 fresh coconut

    200g pandan leaves, rinsed

    500ml water

    500g white rice

    50g salt

  • For the sambal:

    3 pieces thumb-size turmeric, skin removed, chopped into chunks

    200g shallots, peeled

    100g dried red chillies, stems removed and soaked in hot water until soft

    60g belacan paste

    200ml peanut oil

    200g sugar

    1 Tbs salt

  • For the turkey:

    1 turkey (about 5kg), thawed and rinsed

    3 Tbs salt

    3 Tbs white pepper

    300ml vinegar

    200ml honey

    500ml water

    300g long beans, chopped into 4cm-long pieces

    To serve:

    Cucumber slices

    Fried ikan bilis



1. For the rice: Pour coconut water out of fresh coconut into a bowl. Grate the coconut flesh and place into the coconut water.

2. Pour the grated coconut and water into a clean muslin bag and squeeze out the coconut cream. Set aside the coconut cream and the grated coconut in separate bowls.

3. Process the pandan leaves and water in a blender. Pour the pandan liquid into a clean muslin bag and squeeze out the pandan water.

4. Wash the rice, place in a rice cooker and add the coconut milk, pandan water and salt. Cook for 30 minutes.

5. For the sambal: Process the turmeric, shallots, dried chillies and belacan in a blender.

6. Heat peanut oil in wok and fry the spice paste for about 25 minutes until it becomes a rich, dark red.

7. Add sugar and salt to taste and set aside in a dish to cool.

8. For the turkey: Rub the turkey with salt and pepper, including inside the cavity. Set aside for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

9. Rub one-third of the cooled sambal onto the turkey. Set aside for one hour in the refrigerator.

10. Bring water to boil in a pot large enough to hold the turkey. Add the turkey and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.

11. Remove from the water and place onto a roasting pan, breast side up. Stuff the grated coconut from step 2 into the cavity of the bird. Rub another third of the sambal onto the turkey.

12. In a pot, bring the vinegar, honey and water to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the turkey to glaze it.

13. Leave the turkey to dry for three hours before roasting.

14. Preheat the oven to its maximum heat setting. Once it hits maximum heat, bring the temperature down to 180 deg C. Place the turkey in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes, or until the red tab attached to it pops out (the tab usually comes ready-inserted into the turkey when purchased from supermarkets). A meat thermometer inserted into a thigh should register about 180 deg C.

15. For the long beans: Fry the long beans in the remaining sambal over high heat for about five minutes.

16. When the turkey is cooked, remove from the oven and garnish with the long beans.

17. Serve the turkey with sliced cucumber, ikan bilis, peanuts and the pandan-coconut rice.

Serves 10 to 12