Nasi Uduk Betawi – Jakarta Fragrant Coconut Rice


I have a soft spot for Nasi Uduk because it originated right here in Jakarta. The name literally means “mixed rice” in the Betawi dialect and is related to the Bahasa Indonesia term aduk (“mix”). The name also describes the dish preparation itself, which involves infusing fresh herbs and spices into coconut milk giving the rice an incredible aroma and flavour.

If you live in Jakarta it is hard not to notice the vast number of Nasi Uduk street vendors selling this iconic rice dish; often in front of schools and offices to attract people of all ages.

I can’t actually remember the first time I tasted it, but more recently eating Nasi Uduk has become a weekly food ritual for my Bahasa Indonesia Teacher, Ibu Restiany and me.

We hope you get a chance to make Nasi Uduk for yourself. For me it’s a recipe I will take with me wherever I go. Making it will always remind me of ‘Jakarta’ the city that got under my skin (in a good way) from day 1 and that I continue to have a ‘soft spot’ for.

Selamat memasak! Happy cooking!

Serves: 4
Cook time: 1 hour (including preparation)

300g uncooked rinsed rice
400 ml coconut milk (santan)
1 bay leaf (daun salam)
1 kaffir lime leaf (duan jeruk)
1 lemongrass, bruised and knotted (sereh)
15g ginger, peeled and sliced (jahe)
¼ whole nutmeg, toasted or ¼ tsp of ground nutmeg (pala)
1 cinnamon stick, toasted (kayu manis)
2 cloves, toasted (cengkih)
¼ tsp salt (garam)

Our recipe for Nasi Uduk is made on the stove top but it can also be made in a rice cooker. The aromatic ingredients are infused in the coconut milk, strained and afterwards the liquid is used to steam the rice using the absorption method.
Prepare the ingredients
For the rice :

Wash and strain the uncooked rice
Prepare a medium size saucepan to cook the rice by coating the base with oil

For the aromatics :

Clockwise L-R kaffir lime leaf, bay leaf, lemongrass, salt, cloves, cinnamon ginger and nutmeg
Toast the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to release the aromas. Turn the burner on medium-low and cook for 4-5 minutes, shaking or stirring often.

Infusing the aromatics into the coconut milk :

Add santan to a small saucepan and slowly bring it to the boil
Begin adding the herbs and spices one by one into the coconut milk
Finish with a good pinch of salt
Bring the coconut milk to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 -10 minutes to release all the flavours into the liquid

Strain the herbs and spices from the coconut milk

The final strained mixture. Top up the coconut milk mixture with water if required

Cooking the rice:

Add the washed and rinsed rice to a medium size saucepan as well as the infused coconut milk
Set over medium-high to high heat and simmer. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Once the coconut milk has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low or medium-low so the water simmers. Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer for 20 -30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.

Finally, turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot for another 30 to 60
minutes or until you’re ready to eat. 

Nasi Uduk can be served as individual portions using a cup as a mould and turning out onto plates or served the traditional way in a ‘bakul nasi’ (rice basket) lined with a fresh banana leaf (daun pisang) and guests can help themselves.
Nasi Uduk is traditionally served topped with egg omelette (telor dadar) and fried shallots (bawang merah goreng) and accompanies other dishes such as fried chicken, fried tempe (ayam goreng, tempe goreng) and tofu.

Nasi Uduk served in a bakul nasi – Indonesian rice basket lined with a banana leaf from my garden. Bakul nasi can be found in all the traditional markets usually on the ground floor. I purchased this one from Pasar Mayestik

Selamat Makan!

Did you try this recipe? We would love to hear about your experience! Share it on Instagram! We would love to see! Don’t forget to mention @ajourneybespoke so we can share it with you!

We think you will also enjoy: 

AJB’s Guide to Essential Herbs and Spices for your Indonesian Kitchen
How to Make this Rich and Spicy Beef Rendang
How to Make Nita’s Black Sticky Rice
Top Spots to Stop on and around Jl. Bumi
Exploring Pasar Minggu : South Jakarta’s Major Centre for Fresh Produce

Words: Liz McClean Photography: a journey bespoke
Thanks also goes to: Our AJB Instagram community including Lara Leets who provided suggestions to make this perfect Nasi Uduk. Lara Leets is a cookbook author and co-founder of catering business Kiwi and Roo.

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