Nasi Uduk, or fragrant Indonesian coconut rice, is so simple you can make it in just 20 minutes, and with 6 ingredients! It’s well-loved for its creamy texture and fragrant flavours. Perfect with Balinese Vegetable Curry.
So, what is Nasi Uduk?
To make Nasi Uduk, rice is cooked in coconut milk, which gives it a rich and creamy texture. Aromatic lemongrass and salam leaves are added during cooking to give it a fresh taste.
It’s served throughout Indonesia, often at celebrations, where the distinctive fragrant aroma makes it hard to resist. You might also hear Nasi Uduk referred to as uduk rice, which roughly translates to mixed rice.
Why this recipe works
- We’ve created this dish based on a traditional recipe that we learned in Bali, so you know it’s authentic!
- This fragrant Indonesian coconut rice dish is really straightforward to make. You’ll only need five ingredients, and we’ve practised it over and over to make sure it’s spot on!
- To make Nasi Uduk, all you need to do is throw the ingredients into a rice cooker or pan. It’s hard for it to go wrong, which is great news novice cooks and seasoned home-cooks alike.
🍽 Equipment needed
This is a simple recipe, so you won’t need too much in the way of kitchen equipment.
It can be made in a pan, but it’s even easier if you use a rice cooker.
Using the rice cooker means that you can just throw everything in the pot and leave it to steam. If you use a pan with a lid you’ll need to pay more attention to the rice (although, not too much!).
📋 Ingredient notes
- Rice – Authentic uduk rice is made using Jasmine rice, so we’d recommend using that if you can. Otherwise, white rice works well. Rinsing the rice first is highly recommended. It helps to make sure it doesn’t clump up once it’s done.
- Lemongrass – You can use either fresh or dried lemongrass, both will add a delicious fragrant flavour to your Nasi Uduk. We recommend tying the lemongrass in a knot if it’s too big to fit in the rice cooker or pan. Tying it in a knot also makes it easier to find again, as it needs to be removed before serving.
- Salam leaf – The salam leaf is an Indonesian bay leaf. Although it doesn’t taste like the bay leaves found in the UK or US! If you don’t have a salam leaf, then you can use a curry leaf instead. The flavours are similar so the rice will still taste delicious!
🔪 Step by step instructions
These steps are an overview the process to make this recipe, to go with the process images. Please see the recipe card below for full measurements, instructions and notes.
1. Begin by rinsing the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. This removes the excess starch, which can cause rice to go a bit gummy as it cooks.
2. Once your rice is cooked, chuck all of your ingredients into the pan or rice cooker.
3. If you’re using a rice cooker, cook it for 15-20 minutes or use the white rice setting. If you’re using a pan, be sure to keep the lid on, and check it after the first 5 minutes. Stir it every so often with a fork or rice paddle to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If using a rice cooker, check it after 15 minutes, or wait for the cooker to tell you it's done (depending on what model you have).
4. After 15-20 minutes the rice will be cooked. Fluff it with a fork or rice paddle and then remove the lemongrass and salam (or curry) leaf before serving.
👩🍳 Expert tips
- Rice cooker vs pan with a lid – If possible, use a rice cooker to make your Nasi Uduk. It just makes life so much easier! You’ll get good results either way, though.
- Additional flavours – You can try additional aromatics to alter the flavour of your Nasi Uduk. Galangal, cumin seeds or pandan leaves are all used traditionally and will create a varied yet delicious flavour and aroma.
- Measurements – We’ve used a standard cup measurement in this recipe. If you want to scale the recipe up or down you can use a bigger or smaller cup measure. Just ensure that you use the same size cup to measure out the rice, coconut milk and water. This will keep the ratios correct and mean that you still get perfectly cooked Nasi Uduk.
Yes, it keeps well in the fridge, for 3 days. It’s really important to make sure rice is reheated until piping hot. We find it best to add a splash of water to the rice in a container, and then microwave on high for 2-3 minutes (depending on the microwave wattage).
It can! Just make sure that you defrost it thoroughly before reheating. If you don’t, it may go mushy. In addition, make sure the rice is piping hot all the way through before serving. It can be reheated in the microwave, just add a splash of water to the rice to help it remain moist.
🍛 What to serve it with
Nasi Uduk is absolutely perfect on the side of a traditional Indonesian curry. Give it a try with these recipes.
🇮🇩 More Indonesian recipes you might like
We’ve made the most of our time in Bali to create lots of delicious, Indonesian recipes. These are some of our favourites.
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Nasi Uduk In 20 Minutes
- 390 grams jasmine rice – or white rice
- 250 ml coconut milk
- 500 ml water
- 1 stick lemongrass
- 1 salam leaf – or 3 curry leaves
- 1 pinch salt
- Rinse the rice in water until it runs clear, mix the rice with your hands or a spoon to make sure it all gets rinsed.
- Put the rice and all the rest of the ingredients into a rice cooker or a pan with a lid.
- Leave to cook for 15-20 minutes on the white rice setting in the rice cooker. If using a pan, keep the lid on and make sure it is simmering.
- If using a pan, check on the rice after 5 minutes and stir to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
- After 15 minutes, check to see if it is done, then fluff the rice with a rice paddle or fork, and serve. All of the liquid should have been absorbed so there’s no need for draining.
- If using another type of rice (apart from white or jasmine), check the package for how long it needs to be cooked for. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
- Try changing up the aromatics. You could add cumin seeds, galangal or pandan leaves.
- Rinsing the rice is an important part of the cooking process. It stops the rice being clumpy once cooked.
- Tie the lemongrass in a knot if it’s too big for the pan or rice cooker.