Ask any Malaysian what they deem is the nation’s signature dish and the answer will undeniably be nasi lemak. In its most basic form, nasi lemak is made up of fragrant coconut rice, enhanced by smoky, spicy sambal with onions and anchovies, with a side of peanuts and cucumbers. The true beauty of this dish is its ability to be delicious no matter what protein you choose to add to it — ayam goreng (fried chicken), rendang ayam (chicken rendang), sambal sotong (squid sambal), or ikan masak cili api (fish cooked in chili paste) — it’s still a variation of a dish all Malaysians know and love. But here are some creative ways nasi lemak has been incorporated into other dishes that you might just be curious enough to try.
In the wake of the mid-autumn festival, one unusual creation by caught our attention — the nasi lemak mooncake, by Casahana. It features a traditional lotus paste filling, with the added savoury notes of sambal and coconut milk, making for a much milder fusion version of this rice dish.