Nasi Lemak (Vegan)

A vegan version of the Malaysian national dish, Nasi Lemak. Fragrant coconut rice, spicy & briny sambal, roasted peanuts, and fresh cucumbers come together to create a flavor explosion.

Nasi Lemak (“creamy rice”) is traditionally served and/or cooked with anchovies, dried shrimps, squid, and hard boiled eggs. To vegan-ize the dish, I’m borrowing that funky, seafood-y flavor from a couple of plant-based ingredients, namely doubanjiang (fermented spicy bean paste), miso paste, nori (dried seaweed), and kombu dashi.


The result? Truly a flavor explosion. You get the spicy & seafood-y tang from the sambal, floral fragrance from the coconut rice, nuttiness from the roasted peanuts, caramelized sweetness from the crispy shallots, and coolness from the fresh cucumbers. Not to mention the fried tofu, which is a meaty, fulfilling source of protein that completes this hearty plate.


Nasi Lemak (Vegan)

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by George L. Course: LunchCuisine: MalaysianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

40

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

A vegan version of the Malaysian national dish, Nasi Lemak. Fragrant coconut rice, spicy & briny sambal, roasted peanuts, and fresh cucumbers come together to create a flavor explosion.

Ingredients

  • Coconut Rice
  • 1.5 cups rice

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • 2 cups water

  • 5 pandan leaves, tied into a knot

  • 1 lemongrass stalk

  • 3 whole cloves garlic (optional)

  • Vegan Sambal
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 20 dried chilis (up to 25, if you’d like)

  • 1/4 cup hot water (for soaking)

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste

  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru, or red chili flakes

  • 1 sheet nori (dried seaweed), roughly torn

  • 1 tablespoon doubanjiang

  • 2 teaspoons light brown miso

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Toppings
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts

  • 100 grams fried tofu, cubed

  • 1 piece fried tofu pouch (prepared as this recipe)

  • crispy fried shallots (prepared as this recipe)

Directions

  • Prepare the Coconut Rice. Rinse rise as per usual and drain well. Add rice into rice cooker (or large saucepan), followed by coconut milk, water, pandan leaves, lemongrass stalk, and garlic cloves. Cook the rice covered until all liquid evaporates and all the grains are tender & fluffy.
  • Prepare the Vegan Sambal. First, soak dried chilis in boiling hot water for 10 minutes. Drain the chilis and remove the seeds (keep a few seeds for flavor & extra spice). Add chilis and all the sambal ingredients *EXCEPT for vegetable oil* into a food processor, and process until smooth. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the paste and fry until fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning to finish.
  • Prepare Toppings. Assemble a plate with roasted peanuts, crispy shallots, thinly sliced cucumber, your choice of egg replacer (I used abura-age that’s lightly simmered and seasoned with black salt), and your choice of protein (I used fried tofu cubes). Serve on banana leaf for the most authentic presentation (if you have any).

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Claudia
Claudia
16 days ago

Hi George! Thank you v much for veganising one of my favourite dishes on the planet. It looks amazing, cannot wait to cook this 🙂