Nasi kuning is an Indonesian yellow rice dish often served at parties or special occasions. The yellow color, from turmeric, symbolizes gold, and the dish is meant to bring good things. You know, prosperity, health – like that.
I’ve always loved flavored rice, especially when it’s on the dry side – more stained by seasonings than swimming in them. Yellow rice is a perfect example of this. Attaining that fluffy yet savory texture can be tricky. It’s much easier, though, when you use brown rice, which brings me to the other point of this post: getting more brown rice into husband, Steve, and son, Matthew.
Brown rice has been manna from heaven for me when it comes to creating rice dishes that don’t clump up or get sticky. Yes, you have to deal with a sturdier texture, but you’ll get used to that. Also, that firmer tooth works very well in pilafs – better than white rice, if you ask me – because it allows the rice to stand up to the nuts and raisins and whatever else you throw at it.
If you use Jasmine brown rice, you’ll find it eats closer to white than many others, though right now I’m trying to work through a 20 pound bag of plain old Cali brown I got on sale.
For me this all boils down to being able to disguise brown rice in various ways. Myself, I like the texture, but I grew up in a European household where we ate things that required teeth.
One day I thought I would try to make a form of Indonesian yellow rice with some of that 20 pound bag – that it would be a big hit with the boys. For my first go I figured I’d just develop an easy wok recipe – which is what I’m presenting here.
Indonesian-style Yellow Rice (Nasi Kuning)
Makes a big batch for dinner or lots of sides
3 tablespoons Canola oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 batch nasi kuning paste (below)
3 cups Jasmine brown rice
1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
Up to 1 quart stock
Salt, if needed
Lime wedges, to serve
1). In a wok or other heavy-gauge, slope-sided cooking vessel, heat oil over medium heat.
2). Add onion and stir-fry/sweat for 1 minute.
3). Add nasi kuning paste and stir-fry for 1 minute.
4). Add rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
5). Add coconut milk and gently stir fry over medium-low flame until it is almost all absorbed by the rice.
6). Add 3 cups of the stock and a little salt, if need be, stir, cover and allow to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, checking often, adding more stock as needed. Alternate covering and uncovering rice during the cooking process, as needed, depending upon progress and quantity of liquid.
7). Allow to sit – uncovered – for 5 minutes before serving.
8). Serve with lime wedges.
Nasi Kuning Paste*
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
The bottom 1/3 or so of 1 cleaned (tough outer leaves removed) stalk of lemongrass, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1). Grind everything together. A bullet blender or prep food processor work well for this.
*May use a lesser quantity of jarred paste, but it’s not as good and tends to be salty and oddly strong