Nasi Kerabu happens to be my most favorite rice dish ever. I have this ex-colleague of mine name Jeff who used to live in Kampung Baru and I will get him to tapau (take out) for me every week. I've always wanted to make nasi kerabu but when I look at the long list of ingredients and the amount of afford putting into making a dish I tend to forgo it. Being overseas doesn’t help either as it can be quite difficult for me to get some of the ingredients but because of this MFF event I don't mind spending a few hours in the kitchen to cooked this meal as it is all worth it. The meal turns out great.
One of the key ingredients in Nasi Kerabu is the fish, specifically Mackerel. I was so confident I could head down to the Asian supermarket and buy some Mackerel, little did I know there is no such thing as a simple Mackeral here in the USA! I was confronted with Atlantic Mackeral, Pacific Mackerel, Indian Mackerel etc. I had no idea which one to buy as none looked familiar to me as they were huge..almost as long as my arm, I kid you not! The fish that I'm familiar with that normally accompanies my Nasi kerabu were all cute looking and petite. That’s just the first problem I faced. The second problem was that I could not find any budu (salted / fermented anchovy sauce). Nasi kerabu without budu is like Nasi Lemak without the Sambal or teh Tarik without the froth. You can do it but it's just not the same. These all changed when my good friend gave me half a bottle of budu brought all the way back from Terengganu. I just had to make this Nasi Kerabu by hook or by crook. No more excuses!
Not many people know that Nasi Kerabu comes in a few colors other than blue although blue is the most popular color. Variations can be white (normal white rice), yellow (turmeric and cekur / sand ginger) which is called Nasi Kerabu Tumis and grey (from Mengkudu leaves / noni / Morinda Citrifolia ) which is known as Nasi Kerabu Hitam although blue is also known by the same name. In reality, there are so many different combinations of accompaniments and styles of cooking that it is quite impossible to list them all here. If you are interested, remember 'Google' is your best friend.
Ingredients for the Rice:
Adapted from Betty Saw's Cookbook
420 gm ( 2 1/2 rice cup ) Rice ( I used Basmathi rice )
8 - 10 Butterfly pea flower / blue pea flower / bunga telang, soaked in hot water or a few drops of blue coloring
2 -3 kaffir lime leaves / daun limau purut - optional
1stalk lemongrass, bruised - optional
1 tsp Salt - optional (I did not add )
Wash and drain the rice. Soak the rice with the butterfly pea flower water for 10 minutes (if using) and then put in kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and salt and cook the rice as usual. If you are just using blue coloring, drop a few drops of the color and cook as usual.
Ingredients for Kerisik Sambal Ikan / Coconut Flaked Fish
2 - 3 Chubbs Mackerel / Indian Mackerel / ikan kembung, grilled and flaked
1 skinned Coconut, grated
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
Ingredients to be ground:
8 Shallots, peeled
2. 5 cm knob ginger, peeled
1/4 tsp ground White pepper
Dry fry the grated coconut until lightly brown. If the grated coconut you are using is a little bit coarser, just pound it lightly to make it finer. Cool completely. Into a mixing bowl, put flaked fish, ground ingredients and kerisik. Add salt and sugar and mix well. Transfer to a serving dish.
Ingredients Coconut Sauce / Sambal Tumis Kelapa
10 dried chillies, soaked with hot water to soften
8 Shallots, peeled
1 litre coconut milk, squeezed from 1 grated coconut with sufficient water added.
2 pcs dried sour fruit / asam gelugur / asam keping
2 stalks Lemongrass / serai, lightly bruised
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt - optional
2 - 3 tbsp Budu / Salted (fermented) anchovy sauce or to taste - optional
1. Combine dried chilies and shallots by grinding or blending in a blender. Into a pot, put coconut milk, ground chilies and shallots, dried sour fruit slices and lemongrass. Bring to a slow boil.
2. Simmer gently, stirring constantly for 10 minutes or until oil separates. However, if you are using canned coconut, the oil will not separate no matter how long you cook. In this instance, just cook until the gravy thickens.
3. Add sugar and salt or budu (whichever one you prefer), then transfer to a serving bowl.
Ingredients for Turmeric Battered Fried Fish / Ikan Goreng Tepung
8 small / medium Chubb mackeral / Indian Mackeral / Kembung
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Tamarind pulp / asam jawa + 2 tbsp Water, strained
1 cup rice flour / tepung beras
125 ml Water
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
a pinch of Salt
1. Rub fish with salt and tamarind juice. Leave for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare batter. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
2. Dip seasoned fish into batter and fry in hot oil for 2 - 3 minutes on each side. When cooked through and light golden, drain fish and transfer to a serving dish.
Ingredients for Roasted Turmeric Beef / Daging Bakar
300 gm of any tender cut Beef ( I used Sirlion )
2 tsp salt or to taste ( saltier nicer )
2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Oil
1. Coat the beef with salt and turmeric (if you have the time, marinate for a few hours). Preheat oven at 400 degree F (grill function).
2. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Rub a wire grid with some oil. Rub beef pieces with oil and place onto the oiled grid.
3. Grill for 40 minutes or until the surface looks dry, turning once every ten minutes. Leave beef to cool down and slice thinly to serve.
Other Suggested Accompaniments:
Solok Lada – recipe coming up soon
Turmeric fried chicken
Fish crackers / keropok ikan
Garnishing (use as many or as few as preferred)
1 cucumber, shredded
3 cabbage leaves, finely sliced (I used this)
a handful of bean sprouts / taugeh
6 long beans / snake beans, finely sliced (I used this)
4 - 5 four angle bean / winged bean / kacang botol
5 - 6 sprigs Polygonum leaves / daun kesum, finely sliced (I used this)
3 kaffir lime leaves / daun limau purut, finely sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced (I used this)
1 torch ginger buds / bunga kantan, finely sliced (I used this -frozen)
1 onion, finely sliced
a handful of daun penna
10 young Cashew nuts leaves / pucuk gajus, finely sliced
Put some rice onto individual serving plates, then pile on desired amounts of Coconut Flaked Fish, Coconut sauce and garnishing ingredients. Mix well with rice. Serve with side dishes / accompaniment.
I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kelantan Month hosted by My Kitchen Snippets