CF 56/60 Nasi Lemak with Kang Kung (water spinach)

  • Prep Time : 20m
  • Cook Time : 20m
  • Ready In : 40m


1 cup long grain rice

1 (400ml) can of coconut milk

100ml water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 bunch Kang Kung (water spinach)

20g dried shrimps

100g hot sambal relish (see variation)

2 tablespoons oil

salt & pepper for seasoning (optional)


Wash the rice and drain then place into the rice cooker with the milk,  salt,  sugar and water.  Other than cooking in the rice cooker the old fashioned way of boiling ‘absorbent’ method would be the preferred choice for this particular rice dish because it gives the right result. Once cooked in the rice cooker stir the rice then check to see if the rice grains need extra cooking, if so, you may need to add another 100ml of hot water to cook further while the rice is resting on warm setting for 10 minutes or so.  Absorbent method will take roughly 20 minutes from when it came to boil then cover and simmer. Use your own judgement for the texture of rice and if you require more or less liquid for cooking.

In the meantime clean the Kang Kung and chop it roughly or simply break it into smaller size. Discard the bottom part of the stems that look and feel woody. In a pan on moderate heat add the oil then stir fry the shrimps till crispy but not burnt. Keep an eye when frying, it could burn easily and before it starts to go darker than golden brown add the sambal and kang kung and stir to combine well.  Seasoning of salt and pepper is only required if your sambal product does not have much flavour or salt content otherwise it should contain enough of everything that a traditional sambal would contain to flavour the Kang Kung. Cook with the lid on for roughly 5 minutes then check for seasoning and serve with the rice. You can serve it either on top of the rice or to the side of it in a bowl or on a plate. See my sample pics. The traditional dish of  ‘Nasi Lemak’ will be served with Kang Kung (various way to spell in Malaysia)  also there will be peanuts, egg (either fried or hard boiled), fried anchovies, cucumber wedges and nowadays with a dry curry of some sort!

Variations and My Story

Having grown up with this dish I could easily elaborate further to how and what exactly Nasi Lemak should entail. Google this dish and you should have a basic idea to what this means to Malaysian’s during breakfast time! Recently it was non-inspiring to me to see a recent episode of Channel 7’s MKR (My Kitchen Rules) cooking show. I created this recipe for educational purpose to rid the shows poor knowledge of this dish using Kang Kung. To me a cooking show is all about education because of it’s wide age gap audience base! I take my cooking and the knowledge of it seriously and I believe the MKR producers and judges should too, after all they are well traveled to recognise when a contestant is presenting in this case a Choy Sum dish instead of the actual Kang Kung which now is widely available also called ‘Ong Choy’. Hopefully viewers of MKR have better knowledge over the contestants and the judges in this case to give credit to this dish.

Sambal used here is my own signature dish of ‘Hot Sambal Relish’ which contains all component necessary for this dish. Most bought sambal are simply chili, salt, sugar and vinegar as well as the Sambal Oelek variety. To get the recipe correct you need to use a quality sambal that contains more than what’s described or simply blend the many smabal ingredients and cook to concentrate it before using for your dishes, hard work and I do know it. So when cooking with sambal check for the balance taste in bought Sambal. Look out for my balanced sambal product on sale in the near future on this site.

When I first thought cooking in Adelaide over 25 years ago the ‘Kang Kung’ was a rarity even in our local China Town! After many years later it became more readily available than seasonal as in earlier days of my migration to Adelaide. Heads use to turn when talking about many unknown vegetables during my classes than comparing to what most know now. Even our humble Choy Sum and Bok Choy was so rare then. It is great to have so much to choose from these days as well as the baby varieties and cooking shows of late have added to these knowledge and we the public are better for it. Hope you enjoy my take on Malaysia’s national dish Nasi Lemak but I will be adding a twist to this when I return from Malaysia after my documentary so look out for it! Enjoy!

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