"Nasi lemak" means "rich rice" in English, which refers to the coconut cream that gives it its sinfully delicious flavor.
Served with fried fish or chicken wings, otah (grilled fish paste), fried ikan bilis (local anchovies) and peanuts, eggs, cucumber slices, and sambal (spicy chilli paste), this dish is the perfect combination of Asian flavors
Paper lantern chiles should be chopped into 12" pieces with the majority of the seeds being thrown away. Put in a small basin, then cover with boiling water. Let to soften for 30 minutes, then drain.
In the meantime, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring oil and peanuts to a gentle simmer; cook, adjusting heat as necessary, until peanuts are golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer nuts to paper towels to drain using a slotted spoon; reserve for serving. Anchovies should be added to the oil right away and cooked for 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Once cooling, transfer to new paper towels. Put aside 1/4 cup of oil.
In a food processor, blend shallots, garlic, and 1/4 cup fried anchovies (save remaining anchovies for serving) until a pastey consistency is achieved. Transfer to a medium bowl. No need to clean the food processor; simply add the paper lantern and Holland chiles. Pulse until completely smooth and no discernible bits of dry chili are left. Put the chile purée in a little basin.
In a medium skillet, heat the reserved oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot mixture and stir-fry for about two minutes, or until it has slightly darkened in color and is fragrant. Add the chile purée and stir continuously for about 3 minutes until it begins to adhere to the bottom of the pan. Low-heat setting. Add sugar, tamarind concentrate, and 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring frequently, for 25–35 minutes or until sambal is much darker in color and thickened.
Sambal ikan bilis can be prepared a week in advance. Cool, then cover and chill.
Pour cold water over the rice in a medium pot, then stir the rice with your hands to remove some of the starch. Repeat the process twice more after draining. At this point, the water ought to be just a little bit hazy. Re-add the washed rice to the pan, then add 212 cups of cold water and salt. Gather the pandan leaves (If using) and tie them in a knot before adding them to the pan. Rice should be simmering over a medium-high heat. Cook for 18 minutes with lid on and low heat. Take off the lid, then add the coconut milk. Cover, turn off the heat, and allow it stand for five minutes.
In the interim, heat some water in a small pan to a boil. Place eggs into water with care. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove to ice water to cool. Cut eggs in half lengthwise after peeling.
In a medium bowl, mix the sambal ikan bilis, reserved fried peanuts, and reserved fried anchovies. Toss to combine. Fill a 12-oz. bowl with a heaping 1/2 cup of the sambal mixture. Add 1 12 cups of rice on top, then compact the bowl with a rubber spatula. Fill the bowl all the way to the brim. Over the rice bowl, place a little larger bowl upside-down. Lift off smaller bowl and invert so that the larger bowl is now on the bottom. The larger bowl should contain a domed-shaped portion of the rice and anchovy mixture in the middle of it. 8 cucumber slices should be arranged around the rice dome, gently overlapping them to form a semicircle. Add two egg halves and a mild soy sauce seasoning to the side of the rice that doesn't have any cucumber slices. Season yolks lightly with soy sauce. Repeat with remaining rice, sambal mixture, cucumbers, and eggs to make 3 more bowls.