As I was sitting down to start a list of fusion places, I could not think of a place that I would mention and I decided to create something of my own. I recalled my mum’s tip on adding coconut oil into rice to make coconut rice! I was inspired to make Ikan Bakar (spicy grilled fish, popular in Malaysia and Singapore) with salmon. That’s how Salmon Nasi Lemak was born.
I first made this out of convenience and only added coconut oil into rice. The cooked rice smelled alot like the coconut rice from nasi lemak, with the coconut fragrance infused in the rice it tasted like a milder version of the nasi. I realised there is potential in creating a healthier nasi lemak by eliminating the coconut milk (saturated fat!) from the rice. I tweaked the rice on the second attempt and added pandan leaves, ginger and garlic to oomph up the rice. So, I guess I can call it low fat nasi lemak afterall
I have also simplified the dish further by using store bought chili. As Nigella Lawson has once said, there is no shame in using store bought if you are rushed for time.
This dish is so easy to prepare and it looks like is bought from “that famous nasi lemak place” when put together. Let’s now channel your inner Malaysian and have fun preparing the dish.
The Rice (nasi)
- Tie up 5 pandan leaves
- Slice about 5 cm thick of ginger
- Unpeel 4 garlic cloves
- Wash 2 cups of rice
- Add pandan leaves, ginger, garlic cloves and 5 tablespoons of coconut oil into rice
- Cook rice
The peanuts and anchovies (kacang and ikan bilis)
- Dry roast peanuts, until it turned slightly brown and the skin starts peeling off. Put peanuts aside.
- Add oil into pan
- When oil is hot, add ikan bilis (anchovies) and fry until is crispy.
- Add sambal chili into anchovies and stir fry it for a minute, until the ikan bilis is evenly coated. Putikan bilis aside.
The long beans
- Chop up the long beans to shorter strips
- Heat up 2 tablespoon of oil
- Add long beans into oil and stir fry
- Add half a glass of water and close the lid of the pan for about 5 minutes or when the long beans soften
- Open lid and put the long beans aside
Salmon – the hero
- Rub tamarind and chili paste all over salmon
- Wrap salmon with aluminium foil tightly. (The aluminum foil keeps the moisture in)
- Place in a baking tray
- Bake at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the salmon turns pink (salmon cooks quicker than chicken)
Then assemble the ingredients together on a plate! Ta-da!
- Deep fried ikan billis without chili sambal or for healthier option, simply boil the long beans
- Instead of using sambal chili, be adventurous and try a different curry paste. There are ones that are made for fish curry, those would be interesting to try. There are also paste made specially for ikan bakar (barbecue fish)