Nasi Kunyit is a celebratory rice dish served during weddings and special occasions. It is glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and turmeric.
In Malaysia, the Malays as well as the Chinese serve Nasi Kunyit during special occasions. This yellow rice dish is glutinous (sweet/sticky) rice cooked in coconut milk and turmeric. The color yellow signifies good fortune, wealth, and royalty.
Nasi Kunyit and Full Moon Celebration
To the Malaysian Chinese especially the Baba-Nyonyas (Peranakan), Nasi Kunyit is synonymous with a baby’s Full Moon celebration. The month old baby is formally introduced to extended family and friends during this celebration which also coincides with the end of the new mom’s confinement period. For many, this is the first time they are meeting the newborn.
During this celebration, Nasi Kunyit, red colored hard boiled eggs, and Ang Ku Kueh are served. These are often accompanied by a little Chicken Curry, Pickled Ginger, and Roast Pork Belly. I used to look forward to these celebrations as a child so that I can get a taste of this soft chewy peppercorn studded yellow rice. It was so delicious served with a little curry.
Outside of Full Moon celebrations, Nasi Kunyit is seldom cooked. I remember asking Mom why that is so. She told me that it is reserved only for special occasions. Since I was not the one doing the cooking back then, I had to take it at that. 😉
Glutinous (sweet/sticky) rice is a kind of rice grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia. It is sticky when cooked, hence its name in the sense that it is sticky. It has nothing to do with dietary gluten. In fact, there is no gluten at all in the rice and it is safe for those on a gluten free diet. This rice is often used in sweet desserts because it can be easily compressed and made into cakes. Do check out my Pulut Inti recipe which also uses this rice.
Similar Tools Used in Making This Nasi Kunyit
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Nasi Kunyit (Turmeric Glutinous Rice)
- Wash and drain glutinous rice. Place in a bowl or pan together with ground turmeric and asam gelugor or lime juice. Add enough water to cover the glutinous rice and allow it to soak at least 4 hours.
- Prepare a steamer with 2 inches of water at the bottom. Bring water to a boil.
- Drain glutinous rice and place it in steaming container. Add salt, peppercorns, and pandan leaves.
- Pour in ½ cup (120ml) coconut milk, reserving the remaining ¼ cup (60ml) for later.
- Transfer to prepared steamer. Cover and steam over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Remove lid and fluff glutinous rice with fork. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup (60ml) coconut milk onto rice. Cover and steam for another 10 minutes.
- Remove and serve warm with curry.
500th Blog Post
By the way, I just realized that this is the 500th post on the blog. I guess that is a celebration of sorts, don’t you think? 😉 Anyway, I served this Nasi Kunyit with Chicken Curry and Beef and Chicken Satay during the long Labor Day weekend. It was all so festive and tasty!