Nasi Lengko (Lengko Rice)

Nasi Lengko (Lengko Rice)

Nasi Lengko (Lengko Rice)

Nasi Lengko

Lengko rice is Javanese rice (Cirebon) serve with fried tofu and tempeh, cucumber, beansprout, and a big dollop of peanut sauce. Indonesian food uses peanut sauce often as salad dressing (Gado-gado, lotek, Pecel, etc). In my case, I am a peanut sauce fanatics, I even eat my dumplings with peanut sauce. There are three things that I eat with any rice meal whenever possible: peanut sauce, Ketjap Manis, and shrimp crackers. Those stuff are my holy trinity.

When I move to Canada, I met too many people that are allergic to peanuts, which I find sad. On the other hand, I don't think I know any Indonesian that is allergic to peanuts, perhaps because our parents introduce us to peanut at very early age, so we develop some kind of body immune to it? I have no scientific explanation about it but I am glad that I am peanut tolerant :)

Okay, back to the awesome Nasi Lengko. This dish is very simple and can be prepared in an instant. The signature flavor of this dish I must say comes from the Kaempferia Galangal (kencur). Some recipes mix the peanut sauce with coconut milk, but I prefer not to. I find it too much in flavor. Plus, if I make a big batch of peanut sauce, it can not be kept too long since the coconut milk will get spoilt easily. 

300 gr of white firm tofu (1 block), cut into bite size dice
250 gr of tempeh (1 block), cut into thin, bite size square
2 cups of bean sprouts (blenched)
slices of fresh cucumber
2 cups of cooked rice
shrimp crackers
2 scallions, cut thinly
Fried shallots
Kecap Manis (optional)

To marinate tofu and tempeh:
2 garlic
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp of salt
100 ml of water

  1. Crush garlic on mortal pestle until it forms a smooth paste, 
  2. Pout the garlic paste in a bowl with lid, add white pepper powder, coriander powder, salt and water, stir,
  3. Add tofu and tempeh. Marinate for 15 minutes, or it will be better if you can marinate them the night before,
  4. Fry the tofu and tempeh until it turns golden and the tempeh becomes crunchy on the outside. 
  5. Set aside. 

Now lets start the peanut sauce!

2 shallots
2 garlic
3 thai chilies (add more if you like it spicy)
1 long green chili 
5 Kaffir lime leaves, cut thinly
1 tsp salt (adjust to your taste)
25 gr kencur (kaempferia galangal)
10 gr seedles tamarind pulp
1/2 tsp shrimp paste (adjust according how pungent your shrimp paste is)
60 gr gula jawa (Indonesian palm sugar)
200 gr peanuts, deep fried (I used roasted one), put it in a food processor and chop it coarse
50 ml to 100 ml water
  1. Heat oil in a pan, deep fry shallots, garlic, thai chilies and green chili until it wilts (garlics turn to light brown), about two or three minutes,
  2. Put the shallots, garlic, thai chili, green chili, kaffir lime leaves, salt, kencur, tamarind pulp, shrimp paste, and gula jawa on mortar and pestle. Grind to soft paste. Add a tbps of water, just to make it easier to grind,
  3. Add peanuts and continue to grind until the spice mixed with the peanuts and form a smooth mixture,
  4. Add water to dilute the mixture and keep it in an airtight container until serving time. 
Now we are ready to plate!

Nasi Lengko

  1. Put tofu, tempeh, bean sprout, and cucumber in a mixing bowl, mix gently,
  2. Scoop a portion of the mix and arrange it on a plate, pour a ladle of peanut sauce on top. Sprinkle scallion and fried shallots,
  3. Serve steamed rice and shrimp crackers aside,
  4. Drizzle Kecap manis on the peanut sauce (if you like).
  5. If you want it to be perfect, have a glass of black tea aside too!
Nasi Lengko

Happy cooking!!

PS: Some people serve their Nasi Lengko by mixing all the ingredients all together, even the rice. It looks a bit messy, but it does make all the flavor mixed together. 


  1. Oh my..! drooling over here! Dulluuuu banget suka makan nasi lengko bikin Istri mantan boss khas Tegal.. pake kerupuk mi yang keriting itu lho... bener2 ngacay saiah! :p

    1. Hihihi.. kalo yang khas tegal wangi kencur juga kah? bikin atuh, gampaang. Liat dong itu kerupuk mie kuning saya juga pake, tp sjujurnya mah itu dekorasi, disayang2 soalnya, cuma tinggal sebiji itu... hahahahah.. ga ada yg jual disini :P


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