Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang

Mar 25, 2012

Today, is the birthday of my beloved husband. Other than birthday cake, I have decided earlier to cook this recipe as part of the food to celebrate his birthday today. This recipe is quite special and one of my favourites. Nasi Dagang is a Malaysian and Southern Thai dish consisting of rice steamed in coconut milk, either fish or chicken nasi dagang’s curry and extra ingredients such as fried shaved coconut, hard-boiled eggs and vegetable pickles. Nasi Dagang literally means “Trading Rice”. It is a well-known breakfast food in the states on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, such as Terengganu and Kelantan and Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat in Southern Thailand. Refferring to the Wikipedia, the most famous Nasi dagang of Terengganu comes from Kampung Ladang, an area within the Kuala Terengganu district. Nasi Dagang can also be considered as a festive dish in Kelantan and Terengganu because it is prepared at home for the morning of Eid ul-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, to be eaten as a breakfast before or after the Eid prayers in the mosque.

Apart from the basic combination of rice and nasi dagang’s curry, Nasi Dagang usually comes with its different components which can be combined to suit the diner’s taste. From a simple serving of the steamed rice and mackerel curry usually found at roadside stalls, the complete home-made version may include a sliced hard-boiled egg, fried coconut, vegetable pickle and sambal.


The combination of fenugreek seeds and coconut milk gives Nasi Dagang its unique flavour and fragrance. The rice may first be soaked in water for several hours to soften it. It is then mixed with thick coconut milk, sliced shallots, lemon grass and fenugreek seeds. The rice is steamed until cooked. It may also be steamed twice, where more coconut milk is added when it is half-cooked. Then the rice is steamed again until cooked. This method ensures a more creamy finish to the rice.

‘Gulai Ikan’ or ‘Fish curry’:

This accompanying dish is only specially prepared for nasi dagang and is sometimes locally called ‘gulai darat’. ‘Curry’ is actually a misnomer as the fish is not cooked using Indian curry powder but in coconut milk mixed with traditional Malay spices such as lemon grass, galangal, chilli paste and turmeric.

Tuna is the standard choice of fish but other fish can be used as well, such as tenggiri[disambiguation needed ] and salmon. Prawns are also used sometimes, however the ‘gulai’ is prepared slightly differently.


Coconut is freshly shaved, mixed with sliced shallots and fried until golden brown.

Hard-boiled eggs:

Hard boiled eggs are cut into four or eight slices.

Vegetable pickle:

The vegetable is pickled in rice vinegar and sugar. The vegetables commonly used are cucumber, chilli, onions and carrots.


Chilli sambal can sometimes be included.


The Terengganu version uses the normal white rice, while the Kelantan variety uses a type of rice locally called ‘beras nasi dagang’, which is a type of wild rice that has a light purple colour and a little glutinous. The Terengganu version is also much simpler, eaten only with the fish curry (sometimes with belimbing buluh ‘averrhoa bilimbi’ added) and pickles. If you interested to give a try with this recipe, please find below the complete recipe.

Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang Recipe
Cooks in   
  • 1. The Rice:
  • Nasi Dagang Rice or
  • (1 cup glutinous rice
  • 3 cup Brasmati)
  • 1 can 400 ml coconut milk
  • 10 shallots
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek (halba)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon gula
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2. The Gulai:
  • 1-½ kg Spanish Mackerel or large Mackerel
  • 1 1/2 can 400 ml coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoon Gula Melaka
  • 5 fresh red & 5 green chillies
  • 6 birds eye chillies (optional)
  • 14 Belimbing Buluh or 5 tomatoes
  • 1 cup Cooking oil
  • 4 tablespoon Rempah Nasi Dagang OR (Spice Paste: 8 shallots or 1 onion, 1 inch fresh turmeric (1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder), 1 inch galangal (lengkuas)
  • 2 tablespoon chili paste or Sambal Olek
  • Acar Timun or Nasi Dagang pickles:
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1. The rice:
  • Wash the Nasi dagang rice at least 3 times with tap water.
  • If you do not have readymade Nasi dagang: Add in glutinous rice, Brasmati and soaked them for 6 hours. Later, washed them properly and drained out the water. Set aside.
  • By using a steamer, steam the readymade or already mixed rice for 20 minutes or 3/4 cooked.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add in the coconut milk then steam the rice again for another 15 - 20 minutes (cooked).
  • When the rice already nicely cooked, transfer in a bowl.
  • Add in the thinly sliced red shallots, ginger (thinly sliced), fenugreek, sugar, salt and rice.
  • Mixed them well and taste the salt and continue to steam for another 5 - 10 minutes. Leave them aside.
  • 2. Gulai Ikan or Nasi Dagang Fish curry:
  • Clean and wash the fish with tamarind water (air asam Jawa).
  • Add them in a cooking pot.
  • Pour in some water just about covering the fish.
  • Add in salt and tamarind (asam Jawa).
  • Boiled the fish with medium heat until the water dried.
  • If you do not have the readymade nasid agang spices.
  • Combine ingredients for spice paste in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a wok.
  • Fry the Readymade Gulai Nasi dagang or blended spice pastes until fragrant.
  • Add in the coconut milk, Gula Merah (Muscavado suga), chilli paste (sambal olek), fresh chillies or birds eye chillies (optional if you like it hot), Asam Belimbing or tomatoes. S
  • Stir and scoop them well. You can add in a little bit of water if the soup to thick. Cook them until thicken.
  • Taste the salt, sugar and tamarind. Make sure the three taste are equally blended and balanced perfectly. It should not be too sour or too salty or too sweet.
  • 3. Acar Timun or Nasi Dagang pickles:
  • Cut cucumber and carrots in half length and to 3.5 cm juliennes.
  • Thinly sliced onion (onion rings shape)
  • Thinly sliced chillies
  • Add in all the ingredients including salt, sugar and lime juice together in a bowl. Stir and mix then well. Taste the sugar, sourness and salt to taste.
  • However, make sure the taste of these three are well balanced. It should be zingy, sharp but sweet and salty enough at the same time :D
  • Dish all out and serves the Nasi Dagang together with the Gulai and Acar Timun to be eaten together.

Notes: If you are not sure where to buy some of the essential ingredients, please do not hesitate to visit and buy from our online store. Please, do let me know through the contact form any other ingredients needed  if they are not listed at the store and I will try to accommodate them as well. Thank you.


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  2. Eduardo /

    great website my friends, this is an awesome post, keep them ideas coming up…good luck.

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  6. Francesco /

    This was prepared for my birthday and is one of my favourite recipes, I could eat every day……………………, Thank you. Love from your hubby.

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