Nasi Minyak/ Savoury Rice

September 06, 2011

In my previous post, I mentioned that Ayam Masak Merah is a special dish for Malay weddings... and I shall continue with another 'Wedding Dish' ~ Nasi Minyak or Savoury Rice to compliment Ayam Masak Merah.

In villages or kampongs... Malay weddings are celebrated as a community activity. Relatives and neighbours would get together to help out in the preparations, cooking, serving as well as cleaning up after the big event.

Men are assign with back-breaking task such as chopping fire woods, put up tents, arrange tables and chairs while ladies help out in peeling onions, removing rice husks from the rice grains, clean and cut-up chickens and kilos of beef, boil hundreds of eggs, make litres of syrup.

Some would be in-charge of decorating the dais for the happy couple to sit and be blessed by elders and guests, and some would be in- charge with decorating the 'bridal' suite...
Big woks and pots are put to good use. Frying and sautéing would be done on the eve.. with major cooking are done early in the morning on the wedding day.

My nieces in their traditional wedding attire...

Left ~ the beautifully decorated dais for the happy couple. Right ~ the bridal suite...

A typical Malay wedding banquet in small villages...
Left ~ a beautiful diamond ring for the bride.
Right ~ traditional Malay musical instrument known as 'Kompang' to welcome the bride and groom 

As a kid, I loved to tag along my mom to weddings. I remembered Mom would put on her best Baju Kurung (traditional Malay attire for ladies), adorned in her finest jewellery. Then we would make our way to the wedding...
I would sit with my mom at the table... waiting anxiously to eat. The 'Mentara' or waiters/ waitresses would placed the dish... one by one... 

I would go 'eyeing' each dish... a typical wedding feast would have Beef Korma, Ayam Masak Merah, fresh salad of cut-up pineapples, cucumber, onions and chillies, Beef Dhal Curry or Dalca... and finally plates of Nasi Minyak or Savoury Rice would be placed in front of me...  
 Nasi Minyak/ Savoury Rice

The aroma of Nasi Minyak wafting through the air was so irresistable....
The sweet aroma of ghee... creamy savoury taste of the rice would make my tummy go wild. But I had to exercise self-control and refrained from reaching out... must not start eating before the adults... and if I 'accidently' did... I would get a good 'secret' pinch on my thigh....

Bunga Telur signifies Fertility... guests wishing the newly-wed ~ a happy marriage and be blessed with offsprings
Finally... when everyone done feasting and chatting... the host would  present us with their token of appreciation by handing out 'BungaTelur' ~ a nicely presented hard boiled egg wrapped in a beautiful sachet filled with 'Bunga Rampai' (Bunga Rampai is made out of semi dried finely sliced screwpine leaves mix with rose petals and few drops of rose water.. its the Eastern 'Pot-Pourri').

I would go home, happy and contented that I had my fill of wedding feast... and proudly carrying home my fragrant Bunga Telur...

My thanks to my nieces and nephews for the wedding photos...
Nasi Minyak/ Savoury Rice Recipe (for 4-5) 
2 inch ginger julienne
2 tablespoon ghee
1 can evaporated milk (375ml)
1 screwpine leaves knotted
2 cups of rice (500ml)
1 cup of water (additional 1/4 cup if required)
3 cardamons
4 shallots - thinly sliced
a pinch of saffron
Bouquet garni
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 star anise
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
  1. Wrap fennel seeds, star anise, cloves and cinnamon in muslin cloth. Secure with cooking string.
  2. Wash and drain rice.
  3. Place the rice in Rice Cooker with the knotted screwpine leaves and Bouquet Garni.
  4. Heat up pan and  melt the ghee.
  5. Saute cardamon and shallots until fragrant.
  6. Add in julienne ginger.
  7. Add evaporated milk, water and season with salt.
  8. Gently pour the mixture in the rice cooker. 
  9. Add saffron on few spots on the 'about to cook' rice (approximate10 minutes before the rice is done) for the 'yellow' tinge.
  10. Gently fluff up the rice.
  11. Serve.


  1. such a beautiful post! I enjoy all the wedding and food photos! xoxo

  2. Thanks for sharing the Malay wedding ceremony and tradition. I always look forward to the kenduri when I attend my Malay friends weddings. Nasi Minyak, perfect side dish for curries....

  3. Nasi minyak.... yum yum my favorite.

  4. Hmmm I can smell the flavour in the air :)

    Recalled my extended family wore baju kurung when I visited Medan :)

    Anyway, after reading the recipe, it's a family of nasi minyak in Medan and Aceh. What do you call for ghee in Malaysia? We call it minyak samin.

  5. Wow, I'd love to witness such a wedding! Thanks so much for sharing those pictures and impressions with us...

    A great rice dish! Delightfully fragrant.



  6. What a beautiful wedding!
    I don't think I have ever prepared the rice this way. Must give it a try. Looks so tasty!s

  7. I miss the kenduri back home! So much to eat and see!

  8. Anh
    Thank you Anh... glad you enjoy the photos :D

    Happy to share :D


    Its nice to know that we have similar culture when it comes to food :D


    I dont have it often too :D

    and so meriah ;P

  9. this looks sensational! youre such a good cook! im so glad i came across your blog because theres not many blogs out there that shares truly authentic malay recipes like yours. malay food really does taste better hoemade. ive always really loved it but never really knew how to make them growing up so only got my dose of malay food from restaurants =( thanks for this! =)

  10. This post certainly brought back memories. The last time I attnded a wedding like the one pictured was when I was a kid. Your nasi minyak looks fantastic...drooling!

  11. I have my curiousity with that minyak rice as it appears so palatable. I'm gonna try it this weekend.

  12. beautiful post Lisa love the colourful wedding pictures of your family
    we make similar rice with coconut milk

  13. Winston
    Thank you... :D

    the last wedding I attended was my brother's... :)

    Happy trying...:)

    We have another version with coconut milk .... usually serve for breakfast. :D

  14. Hi Lisa! Wow, this is the traditional wedding! Thanks for sharing and educating us about the wedding. Your nieces are gorgeous. I love their matching color attire. And I'm surprised by the flowers. SO MANY, even in bedroom! The Nasi Minyak looks delicious. I love rice and I know this is really addicting to eat with the chicken too... I look forward to visit Malaysia one day.

  15. This is a beautiful recipe, simple and healthy and would be great to accompany spicy curries too!

  16. I loved reading about the wedding traditions..really lovely post this rice with star anise ...would make it with already bookmarked tomato chicken from your blog :)

  17. Nami
    Traditional wedding with a touch of modern era ... hence the flowers. I hope that one day you will be able to experience Malaysia and its hospitality :D

    oh definitely ... goes very well with some spicy dish.. :D

    awww... thanks Tanvi

  18. Hello,
    I just ended up on your blog through a French food blog and I love it!! I'm a huge fan of Malaysia and Malaysian food ;-) and I was desperate to find easy recipes I could do myself. I miss this food so much! I just suscribed and I'll hope you'll keep on feeding it on a regular basis!
    A French girl in Paris, missing hot and cheering food in a cold sunny winter day!

  19. Anon
    Thank you ...
    will try my best to blog about Malaysian food :D