I'm so thrilled that I finally can get back to blogging again! Today's post features Nasi Kuning (Indonesian Yellow and Fragrant Rice). Nasi Kuning uses turmeric root extract to color the rice. Yes, turmeric - the poors’ version of Saffron :). Nasi Kuning is a common rice dish often served during the nation's celebrative festivals, holidays, or occassions - especially in the Island of Java. This rice dish is commonly transformed into Nasi Tumpeng, a cone-shaped dish accompanied by various Indonesian side dishes such as ayam goreng (fried chicken), perkedel kentang (potato fritter), urap-urap (Javanese blanched vegetable salad with aromatic grated coconut dressing), dadar rawis (sliced thin egg omelet), crispy tempeh, and some garnishes like sliced cucumber, flowers made of cayenne pepper and celery. Other than for celebratory banquet, Indonesian nowadays can enjoy Nasi Kuning for breakfast or homemade menu since it is now commonly sold in the morning traditional markets or we can make it at home simply by the help of a rice cooker.
(Indonesian Yellow & Fragrant Rice)
1000 grams rice, washed and drained
1500 ml of coconut milk
4-5 cm of Turmeric root, grated and get the extract
2 Pandan Leaves (Screwpine Leaves), knotted
2 Salam Leaves (Indonesian Bay Leaves)
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves
2 stalks Lemongrass, bruised
1 teaspoon of salt
1. Soak the rice grains in water for 2 hours, drain.
2. Steam the soaked rice grains for about 45 minutes or until half-cooked. Remove from heat.
3. In a heavy saucepan, boil coconut milk, turmeric extract, Pandan leaves, lemongrass, Salam leaves, and Kaffir Lime leaves over moderate heat. Stir frequently.
4. Reduce the heat then add in the half-cooked rice grains and salt into the saucepan. Stir well, cover (my grandma loves to cover it with banana leaves) , and simmer for some more minutes until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
5. Remove from heat and transfer the rice into a steamer.
6. Re-steam the rice for about 1.5 hours or until done.
• Indonesians love to use fresh Turmeric roots instead of turmeric powder. If you can’t find the fresh one, you can substitute it with 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder. Be sure to use mature Turmeric root to get the beautiful yellow color. But, be careful not to use excessive turmeric extract to get the desired yellow color, I’m just afraid that you will also get “so-turmeric-tasted” Nasi Kuning :)
• If you want to take the shortcut method by cooking it in the rice cooker, you just need to put everything into the rice cooker pot. But, don’t forget to put the appropriate amount of liquid for the rice amount that you use.
• My grandmother and people in my hometown love to cover the rice with banana leaves before re-steaming it. It also gives aromatic and earthy fragrance to the rice. But, you can use tea towel or another dish towel if you cannot manage to get one.
• Try to use fresh ingredients since the delicate and earthy aroma is irreplaceable!