Nasi Kunyit Regular & quick version & Simple Rendang

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400g glutinous rice
3 pieces dried tamarind skin (asam gelugor)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 salt
500ml coconut water (get it from the coconut seller when he breaks up the coconut)
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
2 pandan leaves, knotted
100ml thick coconut milk
Salt to taste


Wash and soak rice in water (just enough to cover the rice) mixed with turmeric powder and salt for four to five hours. Drain well then soak the rice in coconut water for one to two more hours. (This gives the glutinous rice a more subtle taste.)Drain well the soaked rice then place in a steamer with peppercorns and pandan leaves and steam for 15 minutes.Remove the steamer and add 1/3 of the thick coconut milk to the rice. Mix well then steam for 15 minutes. Fluff up the rice then add another 1/3 of thick coconut milk; steam for 15 minutes again. Remove from heat and fluff up rice.Add salt to the last 1/3 portion of the coconut milk. Stir well to mix then add to the rice. Steam for five minutes then remove rice from steamer and set aside to cool before serving with curry chicken.

And Quick Nasi Kunyit Version

Nasi kunyit and rendang are traditional festive dishes which are fairly labour-intensive. (The glutinous rice needs overnight soaking in turmeric extract before being steamed, the rendang must simmer gently for an hour or two.) For impatient cooks with little time, I’ve developed a couple of easy shortcuts which I think, produce results nearly as good as the original version. - by Rohani Jelani

500 g glutinous rice
620 ml coconut milk (diluted from ½ coconut)
1 ½ level tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ level tsp salt
3 pandan leaves, tied into a knot
Banana leaves for wrapping

1. Wash rice until water runs clear. Drain and pour in the coconut milk. Add turmeric, salt and pandan leaves.

2. Cook in the rice cooker.

3. Cut banana leaves into squares 16 cm by 13 cm. Wipe leaves with a damp paper napkin. Allow rice to cool slightly. Place 2 tablespoons of rice in the centre of each banana leaf (on the non-glossy side) and wrap “nasi lemak” style, exposing a little of the rice in the centre.

4. Present the rice packets on a platter or tray, serving the rendang in a bowl in the centre. If liked, garnish with a few orchid blooms or ginger flowers.

Simple Rendang

6 fresh red chillies
10 bird chillies (add only if you prefer a hotter rendang)
10 shallots, peeled
5 cloves garlic
2 cm piece ginger
2 stalks lemon grass
1 level tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp oil
Thick coconut milk from 1 coconut
1 kg chicken, skinned and cut into 4 cm pieces
1 – 2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tbsp sugar
2 –3 kaffir lime leaves, torn up
½ turmeric leaf, torn up
½ tbsp lime juice

1. Thickly slice chillies, shallots, garlic, ginger and lemon grass. Grind to a fine paste in electric blender/food processor with just enough water for blades to work. Stir in the ground turmeric.

2. Heat oil in a roomy wok and add ground ingredients. Cook over low heat until liquid is reduced and oil begins to separate. Pour in the coconut milk and continue cooking over medium heat until mixture is thick.

3. Add chicken, salt and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until gravy is thick – about 20 minutes. Add the kaffir lime and turmeric leaves and continue cooking to desired consistency, stirring now and then to prevent the base from burning. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how “dry” you like your rendang (some people prefer a thick sauce, others like it cooked until the mixture is dark brown – it’s a matter of personal taste).

4. Stir in lime juice,and taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary and take pan off the heat.

Ruj: Kuali


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