Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Celebration In True Nyonya's Style - Nasi Kunyit (Yellow Glutinous Rice Cooked in Turmeric and Coconut Milk)

You might be wondering, what makes this humble looking rice dish celebratory? Is it the bright vivid colour? Or is it the deceptively easy way of preparing it? When I was young, whenever there was any happy occasion such as the first month after a child's birth, this will be prepared and made for the event. Along with this will be some hard boiled eggs that has been dyed with red colouring to make it looked gloriously bright. Red is an auspicious colour for the Chinese after all. So in my memories, this has always been associated with a celebration of some kind.

Glutinous rice is different to a normal long grain rice as it contains a lot more starch. Due to this, it becomes incredibly sticky when cooked. The rice will need to be rinse in lots of water first to get rid of any excess starch content so that they are not overly mushy when cooked. It is then soaked in water containing turmeric overnight. This is what gives it a luminous yellow hue. The glutinous rice is then steamed over boiling water to cook it. Nasi Kunyit is perfect with a curry dish such as Beef Rendang. I served it with my Babi Assam a couple of days ago and it was equally good.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

300g glutinous rice
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
200ml coconut milk


Rinse the rice in lots of water, then drain. Repeat this until the water runs clear. Fill with just enough water to cover the rice. Add the turmeric and stir to mix well, then set aside overnight.
When ready to cook, fill a wok or a large pan with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Drain the water from the rice and tip the rice into a bamboo steamer pre-lined with banana leaves. Use a parchment paper if this is not available. 
Using a spatula or a spoon, spread the rice evenly. Place the steamer over the wok or pan, cover with a lid and steam for 20 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes are up, add the coconut milk and salt into a separate pan and empty the rice into the pan. Stir to mix well, cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes, until the rice absorbed all the coconut milk.
Return the rice to the steamer and steam for another 5 minutes before serving.

Babi Assam (Braised Pork Cheeks in a Tangy Tamarind Sauce) 
with Nasi Kunyit


  1. it is a very clear and simple recipe,i like it. i will try to cook it.thank you.

  2. Thanks and do let me know how you get on with it. :)



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