Festive Yellow Rice (Nasi Kuning)

Serves     6-8


3 fresh or frozen whole daun pandan (pandanus or screw pine leaves – see note below)
2 thick stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed
2 cups jasmine rice
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric (not fresh)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 whole fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, crumbled


Tie each daun pandan leaf in 3–4 knots; set aside (if you can’t find pandan just skip it). Remove and discard outer leaves of lemongrass and, using a blunt object such as the smooth side of a meat mallet, bruise stalks until they are slightly shredded and flexible, then tie each in a knot; set aside.

Put rice into a 2-quart pot, cover with cold water, and gently swish around with your hand until water clouds; drain water. Repeat process 3 more times (water will run clearer but will still be slightly cloudy). Put turmeric and 1½ cups water into a small bowl; stir to combine. Add turmeric water, daun pandan, lemongrass, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and salt to taste to rice pot; stir well. Bring rice mixture to a rolling, noisy boil over high heat, stirring constantly, to prevent rice from sticking to bottom of pot. Allow to boil for 15 seconds, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more (don’t lift lid). Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes more.

Remove lid and transfer rice to a serving bowl; fluff it gently with a fork.

Recipe source: Saveur.com


Notes and Instructions

Note: The leaves of the pandan plant are long and sword-like; they give a vanilla-like taste and fragrance to curries and rice dishes. They are available fresh and frozen and are usually found next to the frozen banana leaves in Asian markets. They will usually be labeled “bai toey,” as they are known in Thailand, the country from which they are most often imported.