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Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu is one of the famous Malay dish mainly in the east coast region like Kelantan and Terengganu. Nasi Kerabu is a type of herbs rice or we called it nasi ulam in Malay, and the rice is tinted with the blue colouring from the blue pea flower plants ( bunga telang.

When my good buddy Gertrude from My Kitchen Snippets  buzzed me in Facebook and invited me to join her MFF – Kelantan Month Event, the first dish that came across my mind is Nasi Kerabu. I hardly travel to the east coast and in my entire working life, I’ve only been to Kelantan and Terengganu once and that was many many years ago. I remembered I put up a night there and the place is so uninteresting and boring and that was about 10 years ago. I believed today Kota Bahru has changed a lot. I must make a trip there again.  The next morning, my sales personnel came over to pick me up for breakfast before we proceed for trade visit in a very very rural area in Kota Bahru. My sales personnel brought me for Nasi Kerabu breakfast. That is where I learn how to earn Nasi Kerabu and fall in love with it. LOL.


It is quite hard to find a stall that sells Nasi Kerabu near my place. Hardly anyone sell it  around my neighborhood. I wanted to cook my own Nasi Kerabu for many times since I’ve planted quite a number of herbs needed for Nasi Kerabu. Every time when I wanted to cook, I got lazy. Last two weekends, I am clearing my garden and plucked quite a lot of daum kesom, daun limau purut, daun kadok, daun ketumbar and bunga telang from my potted plants in my garden. To throw it away, it will be such a waste and hence I decided to cook Nasi Kerabu for breakfast the next Sunday morning.

Nasi Kerabu a

Nasi Kerabu, the blue colour tinted rice is eaten with all kinds of ulam ( herbs salad ), kerisik ikan, fried ikan kembong, ayam percik, solok lada, grilled beef, salted egg and keropok ikan. Then it is added with the sambal tumis with coconut milk, sambal chilli belacan or budu. Budu is a kind of fermented anchovy sauce which was widely used in east coast region. For Nasi Kerabu, it has to go with the kerisik ikan and sambal tumis. Without these two ingredients, Nasi Kerabu will not complete.

My Nasi Kerabu is pretty simple. I didn’t cook any fish or chicken side dish. Mine is just the herbs salad, with the sambal tumis , sambal chili belacan and kerisik ikan plus keropok. I am fine with this simple Nasi Kerabu for breakfast. My daughter love it too but not my son and hubby. Hubby hate the smell of daum kesom and bunga kantan.

Nasi Kerabu b

Here is my simple Nasi Kerabu.

Ingredients for Blue Tinted Rice :
2 cups of brown rice, washed and drained
3 pcs daun limau purut / kaffir lime leaves
20 pcs blue pea flower
Water for cooking the rice

Method :
1. Soaked the blue pea flower in a cup of hot boiling water in order to get the blue colouring. Remove the flower buds.
2. Soaked the brown rice in the blue colouring over night in order to get the blue colouring tinted on the rice. Drained.
3. In a rice cooker, cook the brown rice as normal by adding a few pieces of kaffir lime leaves into it.

Ingredients for Sambal Tumis Santan :
10 shallots
3 cloves garlic
2 big onions
15 pcs dried chillies, soaked in hot water till soft. Remove the seeds.
1 knob ginger
1 stalks lemon grass
1 pc asam keping
2 tbsp sugar
Coconut milk from 1 coconut ( I bought the ready squeezed coconut milk from the wet market ) & add 1 cup of water into it.
Salt to taste

Method :
1. Blend shallots, garlic, big onions, dried chillies & ginger in a blender.
2. In a pot, add in the blended ingredients, lemon grass, asam keping and coconut milk.
3. Simmer in low fire till the oil separated and gravy thickens.
4. Add in sugar and season with salt to taste. Set aside in a serving bowl.

Ingredients for Sambal Belacan :
4 red chillies, remove the seeds
3 red chili padi
Some lime juice
1 small knob toasted belacan

Method :
1. Pound red chillies , chili padi and belacan till fine.
2. Mix with some lime juice and set aside.
Ingredients for Kerisik Ikan :
1 Kembong fish, steamed and flaked ( I used pan fried salmon, which is left over from my dinner )
1/2 grated coconut
4 shallots, pounded till fine
4 cloves garlic, pounded till fine
Salt & sugar

Method :
1. In a pan, fry the grated coconut till brown in colour.
2. Add in the flaky fish meat, and pounded shallots and garlic. Season with salt and sugar to taste.
3. I gave it a pulse in my Thermomix machine in order to get a finer kerisik ikan.

Ingredient for Herbs Salad :
Daun Kesom
Daun Kadok
Daun Ketumbar
Bunga Kantan
Four Angled Beans
Long Beans

Method :
1. Cut the above herbs and salad  finely.
2. In a big bowl, mixed the herbs with beansprouts and set aside.

Garnishing :
Keropok Ikan

Nasi Kerabu c

To assemble the dish :
In a plate, put a bowl of blue rice. Add about 1 tbsp  or more of kerisik ikan and the desired amount of herbs salad. Then add in a tablespoon of sambal tumis sauce and a tsp of sambal belacan. Then top it up with few pieces of keropok ikan.

Nasi Kerabu d

To eat :
Mix everything and time to enjoy the Nasi Kerabu. Adoiiii…. sedapnya.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets.

1 Comment »

  1. Gertrude says:

    Thank you Sue for your support and participation. Gosh, went I read the recipe and your describtion again of this dish, I telan my air liur ha ha… I think I beh tahan already. I want to make this dish again coming weekend but simpler version. Cannot cook like before. Too much work. After doing it no selera to makan ha ha…too tired.

    April 16th, 2013 at

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