I cannot remember when Nasi Lemak arrived in Sibu. Probably it was introduced by the hotels which needed to cater to the tastes of West Malaysian government officers and tourists as late as 1980!! Or it was introduced by the Malaysian Army personnel who were posted to Sibu?
And only as late as 1984 did I notice several shops offering this special West Malaysian delicacy wrapped traditionally in triangular cones with brown paper. The rice is usually cold but the sambal interestingly apetitising. They came in small portions in the stalls and were only available in the morning.
During many of the food sales later in Sibu I also noticed that the creative Sibu Foochow housewives cooked their own style of nasi lemak with less chillies, to add to the long lists of delicacies available. When one wanders around a food sale one can see that women in Sibu do appreciate the cuisine of their fellow women. Many Foochow women serve curry rice and even satay. But I have not found one who can make roti canai for food sale yet. The time will definitely come I am sure.
I cannot remember when was the first time I ordered nasi lemak in Sibu. But I can still remember that I first started to cook nasi lemak in my own kitchen in 1975 when I learned more about the excellent breakfast dish from a colleague of mine in school. thanks to the Cikgu Z who shared the house with us.
Here is my own less spicy nasi lemak.
Recipe for 8 persons
A. Prepare Rice :
l packet of coconut (powder or cream form)
3 tins/cups of fragrant Thai rice (well washed)- this is for big boys
2 pandan leaves,knotted
B. Prepare other ingredients :
1. one Chinese soup bowl of fried peanuts or more
2 two Chinese soup bowls of fried ikan bilis
3. 4 eggs -hard boiled and halved
4. 2 bombay onions - quartered
5. some acar or pickles
6. slices of cucumber
C. Sauce / sambal
Grind together : 1 teaspoon of belacan,6 small onions,a knob of ginger,4 pips of garlic,1 inch of lengkuas,l piece of lemon grass, and 4 dried chillies (more if you wish)
Heat up a kuali and add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil.
Sautee the ground ingredients until cooked through.
Add two pieces of assam keping,l tablespoon of sugar (more if you like),(you can use tamarind sauce from the bottle too),some water
Simmer for about 8 minutes over low fire until the oil surfaces.
Garnish as desired.
You can try to serve your nasi lemak on banana leaves over your plates to make dish washing easier later.
Note : you can make more sambal and keep different portions of it in the freezer for later use. In the same way you can keep other ingredients in the freezer too. This is assuming that you are a busy person.