That $25 Nasi Lemak

There is a lot surrounding hawker cuisine as Singapore aims to become a cuisine listed on the UNESCO intangible heritage list. The fact of the matter is that hawker food is part of the Singaporean culture but not everyone wants to take on their parents stalls and hence, famous stalls are now closing and becoming a distant memory. However, fear not as bright young things are setting up small restaurants and alternative hawker stalls as an ode to Singaporean cuisine. This is definitely the way forward.

Although I am not Singaporean I do admire the sense of diversity this little island holds. Such a plethora of cuisines available at any time of the day.

Once upon a time I was in a little TV show and had the honour of spending a day with the people at Nasi Lemak Kukus which have now unfortunately ceased operation.

My version of Nasi Lemak is not traditional in any sense but has the elements of coconut rice, fried chicken, otah, fried egg and ikan bilas. It was sold for $25 and also had a palate cleanser.

So…. here is the recipe and if you dare to try it, let me know how you go, just be prepared for the short novel below!



The Ingredients

400g Japanese cucumber

10g pandan leaves

40g calamansi juice (160g of calamansi)

*microplane 2 for the rinds in the anchovy crumb

45g icing sugar

20g pandan syrup*

1. Peel and de seed the cucumber

2. Blend the pandan with calamansi juice. Strain

3. Place in a plastic container. Freeze for 1 hour

4. Mix with a fork every 30 minutes until solid

5. Serve with a pandan strip and a calamansi chip


pandan leaves – cut into thin strips (35)

8 calamansi chips (these will be dehydrated over 2 days)

When frozen, place in 35 glass jars ready for service.

Top with calamansi when taken out of the fridge.

*Pandan Syrup – Makes about 55g

5g pandan leaves

55g white sugar

105g water

1. Blend the pandan with water

2. Add sugar and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to about 200g

3. Cool slightly and fine strain

4. Reserve the pandan scraps to dehydrate and blitz for the powder


The Ingredients

30g dried anchovies (fried)

30g grounded peanuts

2 calamansi skin, microplaned

30g anchovy puffed black rice

1. Fry the anchovies and allow to drain

2. Blend until coarse breadcrumb consistency

3. Mix with nuts and calamansi zest

4. Set aside for service


30g black rice

10g dried anchovies/ikan bilas

530mL water

1g sea salt

1. Boil water, salt and anchovies. Reduce to half

2. Allow to soak for 1 hour and allow to cool

3. Cook black rice with anchovy water on the stove

4. Allow to cool

5. Dehydrate for 1 day

6. Fry until puffed

*this will be made in advance, the soaked anchovies will be used in the chicken otah.


The Ingredients

120g white onion, finely chopped

10g peeled garlic, finely chopped

360g aborio, risotto rice

36g extra virgin olive oil

60g butter

1800g water

240g coconut cream

25g pandan leaves

15g chicken stock cubes

Sea salt

1. In a large saucepan, combine the water, coconut cream and pandan.

2. Bring to boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes

3. Strain and pour into a large jug

4. Finely chop garlic and onion

5. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan

6. Cook onion until soft and fragrant

7. Add garlic

8. Add rice and coat thoroughly

9. Slowly add coconut milk bit by bit until the rice is aldente.

10. Keep for service in a pot, warm.

11. For service will need to spoon into a small saucepan to reheat

12. Plate with metal ring and dust with pandan powder*

Pandan Powder

Using the strained pandan from the cucumber pandan kacang, place in a dehydrater fo 1-2 days

Blend thoroughly to a fine powder

Place In a metal cocoa shaker for service


The Ingredients

25g belacan

140g fresh red chillies

64g dried red chillies (chilli paste)

95g peeled shallots

32g peeled garlic

12g prawn powder

10g peeled galangal

160g water

65g vegetable oil

12g palm sugar

3.5g calamansi juice

Apple cider vinegar (to taste)

Xantham gum

1. Roughly chop chillies, shallots, garlic and galangal

2. Finely blend all ingredients excluding calamansi, sugar and vinegar

3. Heat oil in a large saucepan

4. Throw in all ingredients and reduce. Add extra water if needed

5. Cook for 1-1.5 hours

6. Add sugar and cook for another hour.

7. Strain and add calamansi, vinegar xantham gum

8. Place in metal bowl ready for service


Cover chillies with hot water

Soak for 30 minutes or until they are soft

Drain and blend

Place in a small bowl and put aside


10 eggs

Place in water bath at 64’C

Cook for 45 minutes

Hold at 40’C

*cook just before service and test



1.2kg chicken thigh, bone out, skin off

*each thigh should weigh about 150g each.

Vegetable oil – for frying

1. Trim chicken and set aside trimmings to blend

2. Flatten out chicken thigh

3. Season with salt and pepper

Otah - Spice

10g belacan, toasted

12g lemongrass

10gg peeled galangal

10g fresh turmeric

8g peeled garlic

20g peeled shallots

32g fresh red chillies

40g water


1g kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

1 x egg

2g rice flour

1.2g sea salt

2g white sugar

40g coconut cream

1. Whisk together and set aside

26g extra rice flour

Combine in a large bowl


80g soaked anchovies, water drained

Chicken trimmings

Blend with a bit of the anchovy water and set aside

1. Finely blend spice ingredients

2. Add to the custard mix

3. Whisk ingredients together

4. Add this liquid to the anchovy/chicken paste to form a paste

5. Place paste along chicken thigh. Roll in cling film and seal tightly

6. Poach for 15-20 minutes in boiling water. Set aside. Cool slghtly

7. Reserve the rest of the liquid for batter

8. Add rice flour to form a fluid batter. Dip in batter and fry.

9. Dip chicken into batter and lightly coat. Fry until golden

10. Keep at room temperature for service

11. Slice in 1 cm slices for plating


Throw a bit of sambal on the plate

Place coconut risotto slightly off centre on the plate using a small bowl mold.

Make a little well on top and crack the egg into it

Place sliced ballotine pieces on the plate (4-5)

Garnish with fresh cucumber ribbons

Top the egg with the ikan bilas crumb

Dust with pandan powder (dehydrated pandan leaves from the palate cleanser)