Nasi Ambeng Recipe: How to Make Authentic Nasi Ambeng

Nasi Ambeng Recipe

Nasi Ambeng is a dish which is popular among the Javanese community. This dish is similar to Nasi Campur (mixed rice) as it contains rice and a variety of other side dishes together in one plate. Though there may be variations to this dish, some of the main components of this flavourful delight are rice, fried Tempeh, Bergedel, Rempeyek, Rendang and Sambal Goreng.

Traditionally, this dish is served in a container called Takdira container made from banana leaves. However, the use of plastic containers has become more commonplace in recent times. On the bright side, nowadays, Nasi Ambeng comes with many more different side dishes. As the saying goes, the more, the merrier! Therefore, the more side dishes there is, the better! With that said, Nasi Ambeng is a fantastic dish that many Malaysians love feasting on.


Origin of Nasi Ambeng

Originating from our neighbouring country, Indonesia, spotting this dish in local stalls and restaurants is a rare find. This dish is often served during special occasions such as Ramadan, anniversaries and weddings. During these occasions, this dish is served communal-dining style, put on a platter to be shared among four to five people.

With so many choices of side dishes available, almost anything goes in this dish. Some even enjoy adding fried noodles in it as an additional condiment. No matter the way you have this dish, it will still make for a satisfying main meal packed with addictive flavours.

Nasi Ambeng Recipe: How to Make Authentic Nasi Ambeng

Recipe by LokaTasteDifficulty: Hard


Prep time


Cooking time





Nasi Ambeng contains more than 5 elements; thus, it isn’t an easy dish to prepare. However, if you have the perseverance to follow the steps, the result of the recipe is definitely worth it. The deliciousness of a plate of Nasi Ambeng will take get rid of your exhaustion from all the cooking.


  • Pandan leaves

  • Rice

  • Water

  • URAP
  • Bean sprouts, washed

  • Cabbages, chopped

  • Green beans, cut into pieces of 2cm

  • Desiccated coconut

  • For the spice paste:
  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 3 red chillies

  • 2cm galangal

  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar

  • Salt

  • Kaffir lime leaves, minced

  • Young jackfruit, chopped in cubes and boiled until it turns soft

  • Roasted coconut paste (Kerisik)

  • Coconut milk

  • 1 cup tamarind juice

  • Water

  • Kaffir lime leaves

  • Sugar and salt, to taste

  • For the spice paste:
  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 5 onions

  • 1 inch of galangal

  • 1 inch of ginger

  • ½ inch of fresh turmeric

  • 2 stalks of lemongrass

  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon of dried chilli paste

  • Chicken

  • Large onions or shallots

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

  • Bird’s eyes chillies

  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised

  • Seasoning

  • Potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Plum, tamarind or lemon juice (optional)

  • 1 cup of tamarind juice

  • Desiccated coconut

  • 2 tablespoons of ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon of ground fennel

  • 1 tablespoon of salt

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves

  • For the spice paste:
  • 2cm galangal

  • 4 dried chillies, seeds removed and soaked in warm water

  • 2cm of fresh turmeric

  • 4 shallots

  • 1cm of ginger

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 2 lemongrass bulbs, braised

  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil

  • Potatoes, cleaned and washed. (chop into wedges)

  • Spring onion, thinly sliced

  • Coriander, thinly sliced

  • White and black pepper

  • Salt

  • 1 egg, whisked

  • 1 big onion

  • 5 red chillies, seeds removed and sliced slanted

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 4 pieces of tempe, chopped in cubes

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced slanted

  • • 4 pieces of tofu, cut in cubes

  • • Bunch of long beans, sliced slanted

  • • Prawns or chicken livers

  • • 2 cups of coconut milk

  • • 1 cup of tamarind juice

  • • 2 tablespoon of roasted shrimp paste (belacan)

  • • Sugar and salt, to taste

  • For the spice paste:
  • 3cm of galangal

  • 3cm of ginger

  • 4 red chillies

  • 4 candlenuts

  • 5 shallots

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass


  • Up to your desired amount, measure the rice and pour them into the rice cooker. Add in one cup of water for each cup of rice.
  • Next, tie the pandan leaves into a knot and place them in the rice cooker.
  • Turn on the rice cooker, allow it to boil and steam until cooked.
  • URAP
  • Start by taking all the ingredients for the spice paste; blend or grind them. Once done, take a pan and heat some oil on it. Saute the paste until fragrant.
  • Next, add in the desiccated coconut and stir well. Put it aside once done.
  • After that, fry the vegetables lightly on a pan. Leave it aside and allow it to cool.
  • For serving, combine the spiced desiccated coconut mix with the vegetables.
  • Firstly, blend or grind all the spice ingredients together. Transfer the paste into a pot and sauté until fragrant.
  • Then, add the lime leaves, jackfruits and water until it is enough to cover the jackfruit.
  • Next, add in the roasted coconut paste and mix carefully.
  • Finally, add tamarind juice and coconut milk, also salt and sugar to taste.
  • Firstly, take out a blender. Put in the shallots, garlic, lemongrass and chillies and blend them. Put aside to puree.
  • Next, take out a pan and heat oil on it.
  • Pour in the puree into the pan, cook until fragrant.
  • Then, add the turmeric powder.
  • Put in the tamarind juice, water and chicken. Allow it to sit.
  • Pour in the coconut milk once the potatoes and chicken are cooked well.
  • Lastly, add in the seasoning and salt.
  • Firstly, blend or grind all the spice ingredients together. Then, sauté it on a pan until fragrant.
  • Next, add in the tamarind juice, desiccated coconut, ground spices, sugar, salt and kaffir lime leaves.
  • Stir the mixture continuously until the coconut turns a little crispy. Serve it hot.
  • Start by deep frying the potatoes in a pot of hot oil. Put aside and allow it to cool.
  • Take out the potatoes. Mash them together with all the other ingredients except the egg.
  • Season well and shape them into multiple medium-sized balls.
  • Dip the balls into an egg wash and deep-fry until it turns golden.
  • Firstly, separately deep dry the tofu and tempe in hot oil. Put aside.
  • Next, stir fry the chicken livers or prawns and long beans. Leave aside.
  • Blend all the spice paste ingredients. After that, saute the blended spice paste until the oil separates.
  • Put in the ginger, sliced chillies, shallots and lemongrass. Stir them well and add in tamarind juice, roasted shrimp paste and coconut milk.
  • Finally, put in the sugar, salt, fried tempe and tofu, and it’s ready to be served.

Ways to Enjoy Nasi Ambeng

Put all the side dishes which you cooked onto a plate, on top of the rice and dine in! There’s no wrong way in enjoying a plate of nasi ambeng. To get a full-on experience, we suggest eating it with your bare hands, instead of cutleries. Trust us; it gives you a more satisfying experience.

If you enjoy and love Malaysian cuisines, explore Lokataste Recipe for more!


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