Nasi Kuning (Indonesian Yellow & Fragrant Rice) Recipe

by - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

 Nasi Kuning

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.

Let's Make Nasi Kuning!

Nasi Kuning has savory and earthy aroma since it is cooked in coconut milk along with aromatic leaf herbs such as Daun Salam (Indonesian Bay Leaf), Daun Pandan (Screwpine Leaf), Daun Jeruk (Kaffir Lime Leaf), and another aromatic ingredient like Sereh/Serai (Lemongrass). Albeit Nasi Kuning gains a nation-wide popularity, we, in fact, have a number of different versions on the recipe. Take Javanese Nasi Kuning or Manado Style Nasi Kuning for the examples, though they share the similar name, they call for different leaf herbs used in the recipes.

Backyard Treasure ^^

Authentic and traditional Nasi Kuning takes a quite long time in the cooking process, but once we get it done and ready to enjoy, it feels so worthy. For a practical purpose, I often take a shortcut in cooking Nasi Kuning. I cook it by rice cooker as it cuts the cooking process time a lot. But believe me, the shortcut way can’t never achieve the delicate and original taste we result by cooking it traditionally. But at least, the faster way can heal my crave for Nasi Kuning when I get it in a sudden :). The recipe I present below uses the traditional method and is taken from my recipe book collection :).

Nasi Kuning
(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!

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  1. I have just discovered your bento site, this is so cute! And I love the recipe you have used here, especially with the flavours of all of the different leaves :) I'm going to have a look at some of your other posts now ^.^

  2. I love Nasi Kuning and thank you very much for sharing :) I definitely love to try this because I've planted these ingredients at home except turmeric.

  3. The pictures are gorgeous and the rice looks amazing! Love the bright yellow color! Yumm :c:

  4. @Xinmei: Thanks a lot Xinmei for your visit here ^^. Hope you can have a great time enjoying my blog. Don't you wanna give a try for this recipe? But I hope that you can find all of those spices hehehehehe :D

  5. @Anncoo: Many thanks Ann, yes I'm happy to share it ^^. Oh really? You plan all of the ingredients? Ha, so excited to know that, your garden/backyard must be a lot of fun :D. I think it's not a hard thing to find fresh turmeric in Singapore, am I right? :D

  6. @StephD: Thanks a lot Stephanie ^^. When you visit Indonesia don't forget to come over to my house and I'll happily make you one :D

  7. Coconut flavored rice is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing.

  8. @Baker Street: My favorite too ^^. It's my great pleasure to share the recipe and many thanks for visiting my blog. Btw, could you help me erasing one of my entries? *puppy eyes: begging you ^^

  9. welcome to our #ricelove bloghop!! i love the flavors you've chosen here!!! the tumeric root looks just like ginger. this is like curry rice with delicious flavors!

  10. Aww! Thank you so much, Tata! ;D
    Really really appreciated this beautiful post of Nasi Kuning! :h:
    When I first saw this rice in your other post, it already attracted me so much and now that I know what ingredients are involved, I really MUST try it bcoz I love coconut milk rice (nasi lemak)! :c:
    Thank you once again for sharing this great recipe, Tata! I'll let you know how it turns out when I try this! ;)

  11. @Junia: Bundle of thanks, Junia! ^^
    I'm so happy joining this event, this is so much fun to be able to discover many GREAT foodie blogs out there :D. Yeah, this savory rice is also great to be enjoyed with curry ^^

  12. @huyen_anhi: Many thanks, huyen_anhi :D
    Yes, it is... I love to enjoy it with fried chicken (or crispy fried chicken) and sliced thin egg omelet ^^

  13. @Lyn: You're welcome Lyn ^^
    It's my great pleasure to share the recipe (believe me, I'm happy to make others happy hehe). I think I need to visit your house when you make it and we'll enjoy it together. I'll bring the side dishes, LOL :D

  14. Hey! I was going to help you put the link to the bloghop on your post but it seems you've got it sorted now :)

  15. Your recipe is terrific. I love the color of your rice and the way you have presented it. I'll haveto give your recipe a try.

  16. @Xinmei: Thanks a lot Xinmei ^^. I did a mess at first, but now everything is OKAY :D

  17. @Mary: Many thanks Mary ^^. Now it's me who is terrific to know that you'll give the recipe a try, yeaayyy to Mary :D

  18. Those pictures are soo nice and that food looks really yummy :D

  19. Of coz I believe you Tata! You're always a sweetie! :h:
    Sure, no prob and you're always welcome here! :b:
    How about on my house-warming? I'll cook this rice and you just have to bring yourself, your family & the side-dishes! :a:

  20. hi tatabonita, my first time here, these look so interesting..can smell the aroma of yellow rice when looking at your great photo.. wow and delicious too especialyy when eat hot and i like flavored rice very much.
    feel free to visit mine too, i am malaysian and happy eid fitri to you too :)

  21. @Andreea: Many thanks, do you want to give it a go? :D

  22. @Lyn: A ha ha, sounds so great! Oh how I wish we were a close neighbor :D

  23. @cookingvarieties: Thanks a lot for your visit here and very nice comment (very appreciate it :D). Yes, couldn't agree more... It's so good when it's warm even without any dishes it tastes so great :D

  24. Say, harap masukin logo event Indonesian Foodblogger challenge chapter 1 (foto pertama di album challenge 1, foto empal itu) di postingan, dan jgn lupa mention-in juga event ini berikut linknya ke idfb group di fb. Makasi ya say..

    Idfb admin

  25. @Andrie Anne: Sip, sudah dilaksanakan Bu admin :D. Thanks sudah diingetin Buuuu :D

  26. Hello Yunita,

    I bumped into ur blog while searching for recipes of Nasi Kuning, and your version looks very good! (I like the steaming part :P) Really want to try it. Just wondering- as u wrote: 4-5 cm of Turmeric root, grated and get the extract-->> How to get the extract? Do we just grate the turmeric and collect all the grated bits? Or is there any other way?

    Thank you very much in advance! Have a good day :)

  27. @Reddy: Hello Reddy, thank you very much :).

    Oh well, also thanks for the question. I grated the turmeric root first with traditional coconut grater (you can see the picture like this one After that, just like my grandma does, I squeezed the turmeric pasta with fingers and hand palm to get the extract, after that I added a little amount of water to the extract.

    That method surely will make your hand yellow tainted by the color of the extract hehehehehe. If you don't want it happens to you, you can cover your hand with plastic :D

    Hope it can help, happy cooking and let me know your nasi kuning ^^. Have a great day too!


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