Nasi kuning – Indonesian turmeric rice with spicy green beans

Nasi kuning is a delicious fragrant rice dish from Indonesia. Basmati rice is cooked in coconut milk and flavoured with lemongrass and turmeric, giving it a gorgeous golden yellow colour. In this recipe, Shu serves it with a quick and spicy green bean stir-fry.

First published in 2020

Nasi kuning is rice that’s cooked with coconut milk and turmeric. The wonderful flavours of those ingredients infuse each grain, and the turmeric also turns the rice a beautiful yellow colour. Unsurprisingly, this auspicious ‘golden’ rice is popular on Southeast Asian tables during family reunions, birthdays, weddings… celebrations of all sorts really. The fragrant yellow rice is often accompanied with an assortment of spicy dishes, from curries to sambal-spiked shrimp. Here I’ve opted for a quick stir-fry of green beans with chilli and shrimp paste. Served with roast peanuts and prawn crackers, the dish packs a punch yet comes together in no time at all.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Nasi kuning (turmeric rice)

Stir-fried green beans with chilli shrimp paste

To serve

Method

1
Rinse the rice well until the water runs relatively clear
2
If using a rice cooker, put all the ingredients for the rice in a rice cooker and let it do its magic. If cooking on the hob, bring the rice and all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then cover and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Let the rice cook, undisturbed, for about 10–15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Turn the heat off, give the rice a stir, and put the lid back on, letting it finish cooking by steaming in the pan’s residual heat for another 5 minutes
3
Meanwhile, trim the green beans and halve into finger-length pieces. Finely chop the garlic and chillies (keeping them separate from each other)
4
Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking hot, then add the groundnut oil. Add the garlic and fermented shrimp paste and stir-fry until fragrant, which will only take a few seconds
5
Push the garlic to the side of the wok, add the green beans and stir-fry for about 3–5 minutes, until they turn bright green but are still crisp. Add the chillies and give everything a final toss together
6
Serve hot immediately with the turmeric rice, prawn crackers and roast peanuts

Shu grew up in Singapore and continues her nation's obsession with food in London, where she writes about food that's seasonal, British, yet Singaporean at the same time.

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