Malaysian Scented Rice (Nasi Minyak)

Nasi Minyak is a dish that is always included during festive occasions in Malaysia. It is exceptionally fragrant and delicate. During wedding festivities in the country, a whole chicken is buried inside a huge platter of Nasi Minyak. This Penang version uses a potpourri of spices to create an especially vibrant dish.

Nasi Minyak Penang style scented rice

Nasi Minyak – Penang Style Scented Rice

The soaking and drying of the long grain rice produces a delicate rice dish by separating the kernels. Nasi minyak take little time and effort to complete, so plan accordingly.
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Course: Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Malaysia, Southeast Asian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking and drying rice: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • 4-quart saucepan with lid


  • 2 cups Long grained rice, rinsed then soaked in water for 1 hour. Drained and dried in colander for 1 hour.
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or 1 tbsp each butter and vegetable oil
  • 1 medium Sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced (or 6 shallots)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Ginger, peeled and shredded
  • 2 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole Cloves
  • 2 whole Star anise pods
  • cup Cashews
  • cup Golden seedless raisins
  • 3 tbsp Tomato ketchup
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 3 cups Water
  • Fried shallot flakes, optional garnish


  • Prepare Rice – When rice is at the end of its drying cycle, heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the onion slices, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add nuts, raisins and rice. Fry 2 minutes, stirring to be sure each grain of rice is covered in ghee. Stir in ketchup, water, and salt.
  • Cook Rice – Bring saucepan contents to a boil. Reduce heat to the lowest of lows, cover, and cook undisturbed for 18 minutes. Remove from heat and without lifting the cover, let rice sit undisturbed for another 10 minutes. Lift cover and fluff rice with a fork. Place a double layer of paper towel over the saucepan before putting the cover back on.
    To serve, discard star anise, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Mound in the middle of a serving bowl or platter, sprinkle shallot flakes over, and serve.


Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 41IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

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