Authentic Nasi Lemak Recipe

Get into the rich flavors of Malaysia with our Nasi Lemak recipe, blending aromatic coconut rice, spicy sambal, and a mix of toppings for a memorable meal.
A plate of authentic Nasi Lemak features white rice topped with peanuts, accompanied by sliced cucumbers, boiled egg halves, anchovies, and sauce. A bowl of additional sauce is in the background next to a fork and napkin—a must-try recipe for any food lover.

Aisha, the adventurous travel blogger from Kuala Lumpur, often finds comfort in the familiar taste of Nasi Lemak. This fragrant Malaysian rice dish, cooked in coconut milk and served with sambal, anchovies, peanuts, and boiled eggs, is a staple back home. While exploring new destinations like Istanbul, Aisha recreates Nasi Lemak to stay connected to her roots, savoring the flavors that remind her of Malaysia’s vibrant culinary heritage.

A plate of authentic Nasi Lemak surrounded by boiled eggs, cucumber slices, anchovies, nuts, and various sauces. A bowl of peanuts, a drink with a lemon slice, and a bowl of sauce on the side completes this traditional recipe.

Authentic Nasi Lemak Recipe

A man in an apron standing in a kitchen.Michael O’Connor
A fragrant Malaysian rice dish cooked in coconut milk, served with sambal, anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg, and cucumber.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Meal Type Main Course
Cuisine Malaysian
Servings 4
Calories 911 kcal
Difficulty Medium
Ingredient Cost $8
Shopping Cost$33


  • Rice cooker or pot
  • Frying pan
  • Small saucepan



  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pandan leaf optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 red chilies dried, soaked and blended
  • 1 teaspoon belacan shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • ½ cup anchovies dried
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • 4 boiled eggs halved
  • 1 cucumber sliced



  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. In a rice cooker or pot, combine rice, coconut milk, water, pandan leaf, and salt. Cook until the rice is fluffy and fragrant.
    2 cups jasmine rice, 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, 1 cup water, 1 pandan leaf, 1 teaspoon salt


  • Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté shallots and garlic until fragrant.
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 4 shallots, 2 cloves garlic
  • Add blended chilies, shrimp paste, and cook until the oil separates from the paste.
    5 red chilies, 1 teaspoon belacan
  • Stir in tamarind paste, sugar, and salt. Cook for a few more minutes until thickened. Set aside.
    2 tablespoons tamarind paste, 1 tablespoon sugar, Salt to taste


  • In a small saucepan, fry dried anchovies until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
    1/2 cup anchovies
  • Arrange boiled eggs, roasted peanuts, cucumber slices, and fried anchovies on a plate.
    1/2 cup roasted peanuts, 4 boiled eggs, 1 cucumber, 1/2 cup anchovies
  • To serve, place a mound of coconut rice on each plate and add sambal and toppings around it.


For a vegetarian version, omit the anchovies and shrimp paste and use a vegetarian sambal.
Serve with additional sides like fried chicken or rendang for a more substantial meal.


Calories: 911kcalCarbohydrates: 104gProtein: 30gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 220mgSodium: 844mgPotassium: 1.066mgFiber: 6gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 869IUVitamin C: 87mgCalcium: 177mgIron: 7mg
Keyword Coconut Rice, Malaysian Cuisine, Nasi Lemak, Traditional Recipe

Ingredient Costs: Cost of Recipe by Ingredient Measurements

Shopping Costs: Cost of Recipe with Brand New Ingredient Purchases

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