This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from a qualifying purchase without extra cost to you. Check our disclosure policy for more info.
Nasi Uduk is one of the most well-known street foods in Jakarta. Traditionally, it is enjoyed for happy occasions such as birthday celebrations, graduation, etc. But it is also often a choice for breakfast.
This rice dish is similar to Nasi Lemak from Malaysia. It is rice cooked in fragrant coconut milk.
Just like any food recipe, there are numerous recipes of Nasi Uduk. But I find that my mom’s way of cooking gives the best result.
Yes, I may be biased. So, please try and tell me what you think about it.
This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission through qualifying purchases. Please read our disclosure for further info.
Because this recipe has been tried and tested endless times throughout the years. And every time my mom made it for others, she always received compliments. Because her Nasi Uduk tastes even better than the well-known Nasi Uduk Kebon Sirih in Jakarta. And the best thing about it is that her recipe is super simple.
The key is in the proportion of each ingredient.
So, here I’m sharing her secret with you.
And to make your venture in trying this recipe even better, I include a few different methods of how to cook the rice. Because I understand that everyone has different situations.
For example, you may not have a rice cooker and that you only have a steamer. Or, you may not have both a rice cooker or a steamer.
So, below you’ll find the method that best fits your circumstances.
You only need rice, coconut milk, salt, lemongrass, and Indonesian Salam leaf.
As for the rice, basically, you can use pretty much any type of rice. But, the real Jakartan Nasi Uduk doesn’t use the variety of rice that is high in starch like Jasmine rice.
So the rice is not sticky like long grain rice or Thai Jasmine rice. In fact, it is like Basmati rice or easy-cook rice type that when you cook, the grains don’t stick to each other.
Therefore, I personally suggest you use either Basmati rice or easy cook rice.
You can keep your Jasmine rice for making Nasi Kuning (yellow rice).
Now, depending on where you are, you may find it hard to get Salam Leaf. Because I do. Therefore I always have to buy it online.
If you can not find any Salam leaf, I suggest you substitute it with 3-4 curry leaves. I find curry leaf has the closest similarities in its fragrance to Salam leaf.
I understand that some people would replace it with bay leaves. But to me, the fragrance of bay leaf is more for Mediterranean food, not for South-East Asian food.
How to make nasi uduk
The simplest way to make this rice dish is by using a rice cooker. If you prefer to do so, you can just put the pre-soaked rice, coconut milk, lemongrass, Salam leaf and salt in the rice cooker. Then set the rice cooker according to its manual to cook the rice.
Although this may sound easy and very practical, I personally don’t really do it. Because the texture of the rice is not the same. The rice will go soft for my liking, and somehow it doesn’t taste the same.
But of course, you can always do this easy way.
Now, if you want to try the traditional and authentic way that does not use a rice cooker, then here is how.
Firstly, soak the washed and rinsed rice in plenty of water for at least an hour if you use Basmati rice. Soak longer (min 2 hours) if you use long grain rice.
Secondly, you boil and simmer the coconut milk, water, lemongrass and Salam leaf until the coconut milk looks shiny and slightly oily. It takes me about 25-30 minutes to do it.
Thirdly, steam the pre-soaked rice in a steamer for about 15 minutes until it is half cooked. You can try a few grains to taste. They should be a bit bitey firm.
Fourthly, cook the steamed rice in the coconut milk. Add more water and put some salt in. Cook further until all the liquid evaporates. Then turn the heat to lowest and put the lid on the pan. Let it cook and steam.
Note, you can also put the rice back in the steamer after all the coconut milk and the water evaporates. This is the real traditional way, and it is best when you use long grain rice.
The way to enjoy
Mostly, people will eat this rice cooked in coconut milk with sprinkles of egg omelette slices, some prawn crackers, some cucumber slices, and a spoon or two of spicy peanuts sauce (sambal kacang).
Try my quickest way to make sambal kacang: put 50 gr of roasted peanuts, 2 tablespoons of sriracha sauce, and ¼ cup (60 ml) of water in a blender. Give it a blitz until the nuts blended but not too smooth.
But often, Nasi Uduk is also enjoyed with a side dish like crispy Tempeh in soy sauce, or spiced fried chicken (Ayam Goreng Bumbu), or fried chicken livers.
Thank you for reading the post. I hope you are now planning to try this Nasi Uduk recipe. When you do, please share what you think about it in the comments below.
Before you move on, don’t forget to check out my other Jakarta street food recipes that you may love.
- Gado-gado Jakarta.
- Lontong Sayur Betawi.
- Pangsit Ayam – Indonesian chicken wontons.
- Ketoprak Jakarta.
- Asinan Jakarta – crispy salad with spicy peanuts and tamarind sauce.
- Sate Ayam – Indonesian chicken satay.
- Sate Kambing – Indonesian lamb satay.
Thank you and all the best.