Brown “Nasi” Lemak

The word “lemak” in Nasi Lemak means fat / creamy; both of which are probably what one would avoid when preparing for a wedding. Having grown up in Southeast Asia, I absolutely love all things coconut, and the creamy coconut-ty rice in Nasi Lemak is probably my favourite type of rice (next to chicken rice).

And so here’s my healthier take on the widely popular Malaysian dish. The Nasi Lemak connoisseurs must be cursing at me now, and yelling “blasphemy” for trying to put a spin on their beloved dish. And while I agree it’s no match for the real deal, I still thoroughly enjoyed this!


In this recipe, I’ve baked most of the ingredients instead of deep frying them, swapped the usual chicken drumstick for chicken breast, and swapped the white rice for brown rice. You may also notice that Nasi Lemaks served in Malaysia would typically come with a boiled egg, especially the ones sold on the road side. Of course, there is always the option to then add on a fried egg if you like. However, most Nasi Lemak stores in Singapore hawker centres tend to serve it with a fried egg, which is also what I grew up with.


Healthified Nasi Lemak

makes 2 dishes

Brown Rice Lemak

  • 1 cup of brown rice (soak for 20 min)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 3/4 cup low-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 2 pandan leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Drain rice of water. Add all incredients and cook in a rice cooker.
  2. Remove lemongrass stalk and pandan leaves when cooked and set aside


  • 7 red chillis
  • 3 dried chillis
  • 1 tsp toasted belacan
  • 5 shallots
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup tamarind juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  1. Blend red chillis, dried chillis, belacan and shallots
  2. Head up 4 tbsp oil, fry onion slices for a minute, add blended ingredients and cook till oil disappears.
  3. Add temarind juice, sugar and salt to taste


  • 300g chicken breast
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 shallots (crushed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • anchovies
  • 2 eggs
  • peanuts
  • cucumber (sliced diagonally)
  1. Mix turmeric powder, salt, shallots and garlic together
  2. Marinate chicken with spice blend in the fridge for 2 hours
  3. Lay on the baking tray and drizzle with oil. On another corner of the baking tray, also add anchovies, peanuts. Bake in oven for 15 minutes at 180 degrees
  4. Assemble the dish together



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