Google Doodle celebrates nasi lemak

The Google Doodle on Jan 31, 2019, highlighted nasi lemak, a rich, fragrant and spicy dish. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE.COM

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Today's Google Doodle highlights one of Malaysia's popular dishes, nasi lemak.

Google says the rich, fragrant, and spicy dish is believed to have originated as a hearty breakfast for farmers on the Malaysian peninsula's west coast. It also notes that the dish is also popular in neighbouring Singapore and Thailand.

"Although the name translates from Malay as 'rich rice' (a reference to the coconut milk included in the recipe) there is another origin story for the name. According to legend, the daughter of a widow named Mak Kuntum accidentally spilled coconut milk into the rice pot. 'What did you cook?' Mak asked and her daughter answered 'Nasi le, Mak!' (Rice, mother!)," says Google.

It notes that there are many versions of nasi lemak, each reflecting Malaysia's multi-ethnic melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other indigenous and imported cultures.

It adds that the fundamental recipe - as featured in the video - is rice cooked with santan or coconut milk and flavoured with pandan (screwpine leaves) and galangal root, served with ikan bilis (fried anchovies), crispy peanuts (skin on), sliced cucumber, hard-boiled egg, and sambal (chilli paste) or a splash of tamarind juice, with an optional piece of fried chicken or beef rendang on the side.

The video depicts how nasi lemak and its accompaniments are made, from the boiling of rice, frying of peanuts, anchovies and chicken, and serving it with sambal or packed in banana leaf.

The doodle by illustrator Alyssa Winans also features music by composer Silas Hite. Google says nasi lemak is often sold at roadside stalls in a bungkus - wrapped in banana leaf or brown paper - and is so popular that it is also eaten for lunch and dinner, too.

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