Ramadan Cooking: Nasi Daging
10 May 2020

Ramadan Cooking: Nasi Daging

10 May 2020

It’s Ramadan, and the Movement Control Order (MCO) is in effect resulting in the surge of home cooks, so there are tons of yummy looking recipes flying around on the Internet.

The Bestie shared this Nasi Daging (beef rice) recipe from daridapur.com, and it looked simply amazing. I’ve had nasi daging several times in the past, but there was always something missing. The rice was not flavorful enough, or the beef was too tough… basically I was never blown away by what I sampled, no matter how yummy nasi daging sounded conceptually as a dish.

The solution? Make my own! That way I can ensure the beef is done just the way I want it, and I can season the rice the way I want it.

…That being said, I still had my reservations. I’ve never handled quintessentially Malay ingredients like belacan and tamarind paste before, and thank goodness Kak’mbang was there to coach me through the process.

I’ve made some modifications from the original recipe, with more exact measurements. I added dried dates when boiling the beef, as a natural tenderizer and also to give some added flavor to the broth. I used more pandan leaves to make the rice more fragrant, and adjusted the amount of liquid for the type of rice I used. I also used beef broth in place of the water when dissolving the tamarind paste, cut the bird’s eye chilis by half and added Maggi Cukup Rasa seasoning for extra flavor in the air asam. Do not skimp on the evaporated milk; choose a trusted brand you know is good. I used Ideal.

The result? Super tender, thinly sliced beef perfectly matched with the tangy sauce, and fragrant, flavorful rice. This is how I imagined nasi daging should be.

Try it out!

Nasi Daging


  • 1 kg beef tenderloin (daging batang pinang), rinsed clean and trimmed
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 dried dates (buah kurma)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 4 cardamom pods (buah pelaga)
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 cloves (bunga cengkih)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, roughly cracked with pestle and mortar
  • 2 tablespoons kurma spice powder
  • 200 grams (1/2 can) evaporated milk
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • 3 screwpine leaves (daun pandan), washed and tied into a knot
  • 3 cups (4 rice cooker cups) long grain basmathi rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste (asam jawa)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 4 bird’s eye chili (cili padi), chopped
  • 2 red chili, chopped
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece shrimp paste (belacan), toasted, and crumbled
  • 3 to 4 sprigs laksa leaves (daun kesum), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Maggi Cukup Rasa (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup (about 1 stalk) green onions, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fried shallots, for garnish


In your pressure cooker pot, add the beef, water, 2 teaspoons salt, and dates.

Cover and cook using the “Beef/Mutton” setting, 40 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Reserve the beef stock.

If not using a pressure cooker, bring to a boil on the stove and let simmer, 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Make the rice. In your rice cooker pot or a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat the ghee and oil.

Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and black pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the kurma spices and cook, stirring, until you can see the oil separating from the spice mixture, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the evaporated milk, chicken stock cube and screwpine leaf and stir to combine.

Add the rice, and stir gently until combined.

Add 3 1/2 cups of the beef stock. Depending on the type of rice you use, you may need more or less liquid so adjust accordingly. Season to taste.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring gently.

Transfer the pot to the rice cooker if using, cover the pot and cook, until all the liquid is absorbed and evaporated, 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Make the sauce. Mix the tamarind paste with 1 cup of the reserved beef stock, discard any seeds. Use less liquid if you prefer a thicker sauce.

Add the shallots, tomato, chillies, belacan, laksa leaves and Maggi Cukup Rasa (if using), and stir to combine.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoons salt and sugar.

Thinly slice the beef.

Garnish the rice with the green onions and fried shallots.

Serve with sliced beef and the sauce, with any remaining broth as an accompanying soup. Enjoy!

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