A vegan take on the traditional Malaysian nasi lemak recipe. Using jackfruit in place of anchovies and seaweed in place of fish sauce makes for a delicious, spicy and satisfying meal.
Last month we had a wonderful holiday in Malaysia. It was the first trip to Asia we'd made with our kids and also the first trip there since I became vegan.
What is nasi lemak?
Nasi lemak is traditional Malaysian breakfast food.
It's a coconut rice dish, served with a spicy anchovy curry. I also saw it offered with chicken.
Needless to say I didn't get to try any while we were over there because I didn't find a vegan version anywhere.
When we got home I immediately made the vegan nasi lemak with tempeh from Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney (from Masterchef) and loved it. I wanted to experiment with my own version however, using jackfruit.
I've never really fallen in love with tempeh and jackfruit seemed like it might be the perfect vehicle for all those lovely spices and flavours.
And I was right - this is such a flavour sensation - I hope you try it!
This recipe uses pandan leaves and seaweed flakes. I found the former in the freezer section at my local Chinese supermarket. Seaweed flakes are available in many health food shops and supermarkets. If you can't find either of these you can make this recipe without.
In Malaysia nasi lemak is often served in a little parcel of leaves or I saw it wrapped brown paper once or twice. At home I opted to serve it on a normal plate with peanuts and sliced cucumber on the side.
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Vegan jackfruit nasi lemak recipe
For the coconut rice
- 200 g jasmine rice
- 400 ml coconut milk
- pinch salt
- 2 pandan leaves tied in a knot optional
For the paste
- 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp galangal paste or ginger
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp seaweed flakes
For the jackfruit
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 500 g tin jackfruit in water rinsed and chopped into small pieces
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- pinch salt
- handful roasted peanuts
- handful cucumber slices
To make the rice
- Place the rice, coconut milk, pandan leaves (tied in a knot) and salt in a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes with the lid on until the rice is cooked. Add a little extra water if needed.
- Leave the lid on for an extra 10 minutes so that the rice can continue to steam and soften. When cooked remove and discard the pandan leaves.
To make the paste
- While the rice is cooking put the paste ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. You can also do this stage with a pestle and mortar.
To make the jackfruit.
- Heat the oil in a wok or medium-sized frying pan.
- Add the onion and cook until soft.
- Add the paste and cook for one minute. Use a spatula to scrape it all out from the food processor.
- Add the jackfruit and remaining ingredients and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring and breaking up the jackfruit with a wooden spoon as you go.
- Serve the rice and jackfruit mixture together with sliced cucumber and peanuts on the side.
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