Nasi Kerabu (Herbed Rice)

    1 hour 40 mins

    A delicious Kelantanese specialty and usually served with choices of sides such as Kelantan Ayam Percik, Sambal Kelapa, Solok Lada and Ikan Goreng Tepung.


    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    16 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 6 - 8 cups cooked rice
    • For the kerabu
    • 3 mackerel, grilled and flaked
    • 8 shallots
    • 2 cm ginger
    • 250g grated coconut to make kerisik
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
    • For the sauce
    • 4 cups (1l) coconut milk
    • 10 dried chillies, soak in hot water discard seeds
    • 8 shallots
    • 2 slices asam keping
    • 2 stalks lemongrass, crushed slightly
    • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • For the garnish
    • 1 cucumber, cut in matchstick slices
    • 6 sprigs polygonum leaves, sliced finely
    • 6 long beans, sliced finely
    • 2 lemongrass bulbs, sliced finely
    • 6 sprigs basil leaves, sliced finely
    • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) budu, a pungent Kelantanese fish sauce
    • 5 bird's eye chilies, sliced
    • 1 lime, sliced in segments

    Prep:40min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr40min 

    1. For the kerabu: To make the kerisik, toast the grated coconut in a dry pan, over low heat making sure to stir constantly until it turns golden brown. Set aside to cool.
    2. Blend the ginger and shallots together until fine. Add the flaked fish, blended ingredients, and kerisik in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and sugar and place in a serving dish.
    3. For the sauce: Grind the chillies and shallots together until fine. Put the blended spices with coconut milk, asam keping and lemongrass in a pot and bring to a slow boil. Add salt and sugar to taste and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Put in a serving bowl.
    4. For the garnishing: Arrange all the sliced ingredients onto a serving platter. In a separate bowl put the budu and sliced bird chillies with lime wedges on the side.
    5. To serve Nasi Kerabu: Put rice on a plate and pile on a handful of the kerabu, several pinches of the herb and vegetable garnishes, top with a little sauce and mix everything together with the rice. For added flavour, add a teaspoon of the budu sauce to the rice. Serve rice with accompanying side dishes such as Ayam Percik.


    Budu can be too pungent for some people's taste. You can also substitute fish sauce with sliced chillies instead.


    Traditional colour of the rice in Nasi Kerabu is blue! Yes, blue and this is acquired from the juice of a flower - bunga talang or blue pea flower.

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    I have made this twice and it was really excellent. Would thoroughly recommend it as authentic and my parents loved it. Very unusual dish, difficult to get outside of Kelantan even in Malaysia. I served it with ikan bakar. very time consuming to make with all the accompaniments and grated fresh coconut is not easy to get (dessicated WILL NOT do). But not particularly difficult if you take the time.  -  25 Mar 2012