Saturday, 24 October 2009

Best nasi kerabu in Kajang ?

Nasi kerabu or nasi ulam is a Kelantanese dish. I have fond memories of having nasi kerabu in Kota Bahru for breakfast when I used to frequent KB on work matters more than a decade ago. I used to look forward to my trips and the guy who fetched me from the airport, a local by the name of Zul, knew that I loved nasi kerabu. He'd go out of his way to take me to many of the favourite local nasi kerabu places. Our favourite was a small decrepit shack on the outskirts of KB along the Pasir Mas road, located near a bridge (I do not recall any signboard or name for this place). I wonder if it still there ?

To make nasi kerabu, various fresh herbs (ulam) are chopped finely and mixed with cooked rice (sometimes coloured blue using colour from the bunga telang). There is no fixed formula for the herbs used and it usually depends on whats available. The common ingredients are kerisik (fried grated coconut), serai (lemongrass), bunga kantan (torch ginger), cili padi (birds-eye vhillies) or normal chillies, ginger, onions, and various types of local ulam such as daun cekur, kunyit, selasih, kesum etc. Chopped vegetables may also be added including long beans, cucumber, bean sprouts (taugeh) and kangkong. A good nasi kerabu should have at least 10 different herbs and vegetables in it. This is usually mixed on order as pre-mixing would make the rice soggy. The mixed rice is topped with some budu (fermented fish sauce) and chilli mix according to individual taste. It can be eaten plain, and the best nasi kerabu is delicious without any accompaniment. However most people have it with daging bakar (grilled beef), fried chicken, rendang, fried fish or salted egg. Solok lada (chilli stuffed with fish paste) is a popular accompaniment in the East Coast. Fried keropok (fish crackers) is served on the side and for extra crunch, it should be crushed and mixed with the rice.

Having honed my taste on the real thing in KB, I have pretty high expectations from local nasi kerabu operators. It should be noted that nasi kearbu has only become available in the West Coast in recent years, and usually sold by the migrant Kelantanese. Ingredients have been localised with less herbs and more taugeh (maybe because it's the cheapest vegetable ?).

There are several local nasi kerabu of note in Kajang, and my recommendation (in order of preference) would be:-
1. A decrepit stall along Lorong Sentosa 1, Taman Jelok Indah, Sg Jelok, Kajang. Their ayam goreng berempah is pretty good and is a recommended accompaniment for the nasi kerabu.
2. Restoran D'Bukit, Jalan Bukit Mewah 9, Taman Bukit Mewah, Off Jalan Semnyih, Kajang. They have a wide variety of accompaniments including the solok lada.
3. A house opposite Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Kajang Utama, Kajang Utama, Kajang.

All sell nasi kerabu in the mornings only and all also have nasi dagang (which may be the subject of a future post). Do let me know if you have come across any other good places for nasi kerabu in Kajang. I'm still looking ....

2 comments:

  1. Try the restaurant next to the Shell Petrol Station (formerly Project) in Bandar Baru Bangi. They only sell on weekends and it's normally finished by around 10 am.

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  2. Hi Tomtom - I'll give it a try. Thanks for the feedback.

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