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Nasi lemak is widely eaten in Malaysia and Singapore. Commonly eaten as a breakfast or supper dish in both countries, it is normally sold at hawker food centres or roadside stalls. It often comes wrapped in banana leaves, newspaper or brown paper,and it could be served on a plate. Some restaurants even serve it as a noon or evening meal, making it available for the dish to be eaten all day.
With roots in Malay culture, its name in Malay literally means “fatty rice”, but is taken in this context to mean “rich” or “creamy”. The name is derived from the cooking process whereby rice is soaked in coconut cream and then the mixture steamed. Sometimes knotted pandan leaves are thrown into the rice while steaming to give it more fragrance.
A platter of nasi lemak is usually wrapped in banana leaves, with cucumber slices, small fried anchovies, fried or roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg, and hot spicy sauce , also known as sambal to the locals. Nasi lemak can also come with a variety of other accompaniments such as chicken, cuttlefish, cockles, stir fried water convolvulus (kangkung), beef rendang (beef stewed in coconut milk and spices) or paru (beef lungs). Traditionally most of these accompaniments are spicy in nature.