September 19, 2021
FriedChillies
Kitchen Capers

Nasi Kerabu at Home

Nasi kerabu is one of those meals that seems quite fussy to make. It might have all sorts of condiments and side dishes but actually all of them are quite simple to make. Try it at home and savour the flavours and textures of this east coast staple…

” Fragrant and full of texture! “

Nasi kerabu is a fragrant rice meal eaten mostly in the east coast. Here in the west side you often find it during Ramadhan but unless you have a Kelantanese friend who doesn’t mind cooking for you, it’s not as commonly found as the more popular east coast import of nasi dagang.

Basically it’s rice eaten with ulam, serunding kelapa and sambal budu. Often there is telur masin and keropok on the side. Dishes eaten with it are such as solok cili, daging salai or ayam percik but it can easily remain vegetarian, just take out the budu from the sambal.

Get all those flavours and textures mixed into the rice

Now the key to great nasi kerabu is the sum of all things. You need to fold everything in, even the keropok which you break and mix it all up. Eaten separately it can almost be called a Malay version of a banana leaf rice. You have your vegetable and herbed salad (ulam), meat on the side and keropok instead of papadom.

Solok Lada
8 large green chillies
1 cup coconut Milk

Blitz into a paste:
1 whole ikan kembung (mackerel) boiled and deboned
2 cups grated coconut
4 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp black pepper
Salt and sugar to tase

Method:
Slice chillies lengthwise to make a pocket, remove all seeds and soak in water for 10 minutes.
Fill chillies with blitzed ingredients.
In a deep frying pan, arrange the stuffed chillies flat.
Simmer in a cup of coconut milk for about 10 minutes.

Use freshly pressed coconut, it will really add punch to your solok lada

Usually the solok lada you get at the shops is quite dry. This one is moist and a little rich because of the santan that we simmer it in.

Kerabu
¼ cabbage, sliced thinly
4 long beans, chopped
1 torch ginger, sliced thinly
A handful Vietnamese mint, roughly chopped
A handful bean sprouts
1 cucumber, sliced

This is the stuff that’s good for you…

If you are a fan of kerabu, double it. You can also add any other ulams or leaves you might fancy like mint or ulam raja.

Serunding Kelapa
2 Tbs palm sugar
1 Tbs tamarind paste, mixed with a bit of water and strained
1 whole coconut, grated
2 Tbs oil
Salt to taste

To pound:
6 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh tumeric
½ inch ginger
2 bird’s eye chillies
2 Tbs dried shrimps

Method:
Heat oil and sautee all pounded ingredients until fragrant and brown
Add in palm sugar and let it melt
Pour in tamarind juice.
Throw in grated coconut. Stir evenly and let it cook till it’s dry and golden brown.

This serunding reminds me a little of a pulut panggang filling. It’s a little sweet and gets a lovely saltiness from the dried shrimps.

Ayam Percik
6 large chicken thighs
3-4 cups coconut milk
2 tsp tamarind juice
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

To blend:
10 dried chillies, soaked
4 stalks lemongrass
2 inches galangal
½ inch fresh turmeric
4 cloves garlic
16 shallots
½ inch belacan, toasted
4 candlenuts

Method:
Marinate chicken with blended ingredients for an hour. Preheat oven to 180C on grill setting.
Heat pan over medium flame without oil. Fry chicken for 3 minutes to tighten up skin.
Place chicken on oven tray.
Pour coconut milk, tamarind juice, sugar and salt in pan mixing with the marinade left in the wok.
Coat chicken with this mixture and put it in the oven, turn it down to 160C. Grill for 40 minutes, change to top grill during the last 5 minutes.
Reduce the sauce in pan and pour it over the chicken once it’s done.

Method:
Marinate chicken with blended ingredients for an hour. Preheat oven to 180C on grill setting.
Heat pan over medium flame without oil. Fry chicken for 3 minutes to tighten up skin.
Place chicken on oven tray.
Pour coconut milk, tamarind juice, sugar and salt in pan mixing with the marinade left in the wok.
Coat chicken with this mixture and put it in the oven, turn it down to 160C. Grill for 40 minutes, change to top grill during the last 5 minutes.
Reduce the sauce in pan and pour it over the chicken once it’s done.

Right about now, your kitchen should be smelling heavenly…

I find nasi kerabu a little too dry when eaten with daging salai. So a succulent ayam percik slow-grilled in the oven the best dish to go with it.

Blue Rice

The colour comes from bunga telang (morning glory). Simply soak 2 morning glories in 4 ½ cups of water and strain. Cook about 3 cups of rice in this water with 1 pandan leaf and 1 torn up kaffir lime leaf. Don’t worry if you don’t have morning glory, you can use a bit blue colouring and just cook it up with lime and pandan leaves.

Sambal Budu

This is where you’ll get the kick in your nasi kerabu

4 shallots
1 clove garlic
½ inch turmeric
20-25 bird’s eye chillies
8 Tbs budu
4 kalamansi limes, squeezed

Method:
Pound shallots, garlic, turmeric and chillies. Mix in budu and lime juice.
Let it rest for 10 minutes

It goes without saying that you need to get the best budu you can. If you are unable to find budu, pound in a handful of anchovies or an inch of smoked belacan.

I love my nasi kerabu with keropok sardin

Don’t forget the telur masin (salted egg). You can buy these at the market and just boil it up. This does really add another extra layer to your nasi kerabu.

Now all you have to do it mix it all up and enjoy!

Recipe by: Sjaiful Anuar

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