Nasi Lemak Recipe With lemongrass chicken!

nasi lemak is malaysia's most famous food

If you love Malaysian food, you're going to love this nasi lemak recipe! Nasi lemak is Malaysia's most famous food, and literally means “coconut rice”.

It's always served with Malaysian sambal (which there are hundreds of varieties), a hard boiled egg, fried peanuts and dried anchovies. But it is often served with many other Malaysian dishes too, like beef rendang or spicy eggplant and more! In this recipe we're making it with lemongrass chicken! If you live somewhere tropical, you can get a banana leaf for eating on which will add extra fragrance! And eat with your hand too!

It's very delicious and we're lucky that my friend Mark from Simply Enak shared his recipe with us (his Grandma taught him!). Check out his instagram for more amazing Malaysian food posts and recipes!

This nasi lemak recipe is easy and fun to make!



First, you can watch the video to get an idea of how of the workflow on how make Nasi Lemak (and go follow Mark too!):

There are 4 main parts:

  1. The nasi lemak (coconut milk infused rice)
  2. The sambal
  3. The lemongrass chicken
  4. The sides (fried dried anchovies AKA ikan, fried peanuts, boiled egg, and cucumber)

You can check out Mark’s video too which is very detailed along each step:

1 The Nasi Lemak

The nasi lemak (coconut infused rice) is very easy to make. These are the nasi lemak ingredients:

  1. Rice (Thai rice is nice)
  2. Coconut milk
  3. Thumb of ginger
  4. Salt
  5. Pandan leaf

How to make nasi lemak:

Mark taught us his Grandma’s way of doing it. In a rice cooker, combine 2 cup rice with 1 cup water and 1 cup coconut milk. You can add a little extra splash of coconut milk. Add in one thumb’s worth of ginger (smash it with your palm), 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and one pandan leaf tied in a knot. Close the rice cooker and press start like you would normally make rice. It’s that easy! Now for the sides!

2 The Sambal

Malaysian sambal is an essential part of any nasi lemak. Here are the Malaysian sambal ingredients:

  1.  10 dried chili (soak for 30 minutes)
  2.  2 big fresh chili merah (not birds eye, too spicy)
  3. About 10 peeled shallots (more if you want less spicy)
  4. 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  5. Handfull of ikan bilis (dried anchovy), rinsed and dried before frying.
  6. Salt (teaspoon)
  7. Sugar (1 or 2 teaspoon to taste)
  8. curry leaves
  9. One tablespoon belacan shrimp paste

Before frying the sambal, there is some prep to do:

  1. Place shallots in food processor and remove to bowl.
  2. Place both dried chili and fresh chili in processor until fine. Mark says the finer the better.
  3. Shallow fry the ikan bilis in a wok with 6 to 8 tablespoons of oil. Save half of the anchovy for the sambal and half to be served directly beside the rice eaten crispy.
  4. Place one tablespoon of tamarind paste in a small bowl with water and mix with hands. Strain the solids out and keep the water.

Now we’re ready to fry the sambal!

Cooking the Sambal Ikan Bilis

  1. Using the same oil that is in the wok/pan, add in the blended shallot and fry over medium heat until it is fragrant and translucent looking. At this point, you can also add in pandan leaf (1 will do)
  2. Add in about 2 tablespoon of the chili boh. Taste prior to adding to ensure that you can control the heat level.
  3. Mix well and continue to fry over med-low heat. Continue to fry and stir until the oil breaks apart from the paste
  4. Add in one tablespoon shrimp paste belacan. Fry it until it dissolves, (4 or 5 minutes).
  5. Add in the fried ikan bilis and continue to stir for good 30 seconds.
  6. Add in half of the tamarind juice and mix. Next, add in half a cup of water. Bring it up to a boil.
  7. Season the dish with salt (1/2 teaspoon) and sugar (1 teaspoon)
  8. Last but not least, add in curry leaf.
  9. Sambal Ikan Bilis – Done

3 The Lemongrass Chicken

This Malaysian lemongrass chicken is delicious and easy to make! Marinate the chicken before you make the sambal and sit for 30 minutes. Here’s Mark’s instructions:


  1. Chicken Breast (can use 4 or 5 and butterfly them)
  2. Light soya sauce
  3. 6 stalks of lemongrass (just the bottom thick part)
  4. Sugar
  5. Black or white pepper

Marinate :

  1. Roughly Chop 6 stick of lemongrass
  2. Add them into a blender and blend it with some oil
  3. Removed the blended lemongrass into a mixing bowl
  4. Add the chicken into the bowl
  5. Add 4 tablespoon of light soya sauce, 1 table spoon of sugar, a generous amount of pepper. Mix well and let the chicken marinate for a good 30 minutes.

Cooking the chicken :

  1. In a pan, heat up some oil (canola oil is fine) hot!
  2. Pan sear the chicken (skinside first). Sear the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side so it gets brown.
  3. Chicken lemongrass – Done

4 The Sides

The sides are a very important part of making nasi lemak! You need these!

 Here they are:

  1. 3 hard boiled eggs
  2. Peanuts
  3. Cucumber

Hard boil egg

  1. Put 3 eggs into a pot filled with water
  2. Add a thin slice of lemon into the pot. This helps with the peeling of the shell.
  3. Bring it up to a boil until egg is cooked.


  1. Toast some peanuts in a pan with just a little bit of oil.
  2. Sprinkle some salt over the peanut when it is about done.


  1. Slice the cucumber however you like it.

Thank you to Mark from Simply Enak for providing us with this recipe! Go follow his instagram for more amazing Malaysian food and recipes!


  1. We grow pandan and haven’t cooked with it yet – we’re going to this weekend, when we make Nasi Lemak! I LOVE sambal and never made it myself – I’m going to use what I have to make it this – using tamarind powder instead of paste, etc. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing the recipes and helping us to enjoy this delicious food, safely at home!

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