Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) and Crispy Anchovies

On our last day of vacation, I made nasi lemak for lunch. It would have been a time-consuming dish to put together if I had to make the sambal from scratch but thankfully, we had managed to find jarred nasi lemak sambal (Tean’s Gourmet) a few months back and of course, I stocked up. 😬 The coconut rice itself is extremely easy to make. I believe I have finally perfected the recipe (at least to my taste 😁🍚😋) and would not change a single thing moving forward. Paired with the sambal, crispy anchovies, roasted peanuts, a hard-boiled egg, cucumbers, and fried wings (I used the very convenient frozen Foster Farms Crispy Wings), it was a delicious end to our 4th of July holiday weekend/vacation. ❤️

Make the coconut rice:
2 tablespoons oil
3 slices ginger
1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 cups jasmine rice, rinsed
1 (13.66 fluid oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cans water (just use the coconut milk can)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 pandan leaves, sliced through the middle and tied into a bundle (if you can find them)

In a heavy-based 3 or 3½ quart saucepan, cook ginger, shallot, and garlic in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until aromatics are slightly golden brown and fragrant. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, water, and salt and stir to mix. Add pandan leaves if using. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked and tender (about 40 minutes). Remove saucepan from the heat source and let the rice rest, covered for at least 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

Make crispy anchovies in an air fryer:
1 (3.5 oz) package dried anchovies
1 tablespoon oil

Remove anchovy head and entrails (I use a toothpick to scrape out the entrails or sometimes, I just use my hands for the bigger pieces). Most anchovies in a package are consistent in size but not the latest package I bought – for the bigger pieces, I split them in half horizontally and for the smaller ones, I kept them whole. Place anchovies in a bowl, rinse a couple of times with water, and pat dry with paper towel. I use the Air Fryer function on my air fryer, which preheats to 400F. Add oil to anchovies in the bowl, stir well to make sure anchovies are coated with oil. Place in air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring or shaking every 2 minutes. Once done, remove to a plate and cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Note: They didn’t get as crispy as I would like – will try to improve the recipe next time.

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