Yellow Turmeric Rice

Origin: Java Island


  • 500 g long grain rice, washed
  • 2 pc salam or bay leaves
  • 2 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, bruised
  • 5 pc kaffir lime leaves, discard rib of the leaf
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 pc pandan leaf, knotted
  • 1 cm galangale, bruised or sliced
  • half of a lime
  • 900 ml thin coconut milk (200 ml thick coconut milk mix with 600-700 ml warm water)
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Yellow Turmeric Rice

Nasi Kuning or Indonesian Turmeric Rice originated from the era of Javanese Hindu kingdom, means this dish has been around for hundred of years. Even though the Hindu kingdom had long gone in Indonesia, the tradition of making turmeric rice continued until now as it becomes an inherent part of Indonesian culinary tradition.
Nasi Kuning is usually served in celebration or communal feast as an expression of gratitude. According to Javanese philosophy, yellow colour has a meaning like gold symbolizes wealth and prosperity. With this dish in celebration, people hope to receive a lot of blessings and prosperous life.
I made this simple and practical recipe for those of you who think that making indonesian turmeric rice is very troublesome and complicated. It is actually not! And I guarantee that your hands will be free from turmeric's stain, which is hard to lose for days. Here you don't have to peel off fresh turmeric. I hate it too 🙂
Have a try and enjoy this simple but delicious Nasi Kuning recipe 🙂


  • ash the rice with cold water and change the water until the water is clear. Put it in a rice cooker bowl (if you wash it elsewhere).
  • Add galangale, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, lemongrass and pandan leaves onto the bowl. Put aside.
  • Put 2 tsp ground turmeric/turmeric powder in a small bowl or glass.
  • Add enough cold water (approx. 50 ml/3 tbsp) and stir to mix.
  • Add turmeric mixture onto coconut milk and stir well with a whisk to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
  • Add salt, stir until the salt dissolves.
  • Add the yellow coconut milk into the rice cooker's bowl that's already filled with rice and herbs.
  • Stir well to mix rice and yellow coconut milk.
  • Put the cover and switch on the rice cooker. Cook until the liquid is driven-off but the rice isn't yet fully cooked (It takes about 12 minutes)
  • Remove the herbs from the bowl. (You may discard or keep them for next step)
  • Squeeze a half of lime onto the rice. (Don't add the whole lime juice otherwise the rice will taste so sour)
  • With a help of large/rice spoon, stir well the rice and lime juice to mix evenly.
  • Put the cover and continue to cook until the rice cooker automatically switch to the "keep warm" mode and the rice is done/well cooked.
  • Important Tips: If the rice cooker button is switched off but the rice hasn't completely cooked, don't be panic. Just add 100 ml of hot water, stir well and press the rice cooker button to continue the cooking process until the rice is completely cooked.


  • The amount of coconut milk can be varied depends on the thickness of the coconut milk and the type of rice you use.
  • Don't use very thick coconut milk, otherwise the rice won't be fully cooked, though the rice cooker button has switched off.
  • Observe and know well the character of the rice you use, it is better to add lesser liquid/coconut milk and adjust it later by adding hot water if necessary, rather than adding too much liquid (water or coconut milk) which causes the rice becomes mushy.
  • Ideal Indonesiaan Nasi Kuning should be a bit dry and grainy not soft-mushy rice.
  • If you don't have a rice cooker, just cook it in conventional way. First heat the yellow coconut mixture with the herbs seasoning over medium heat and bring to boil. Strain and discard the herbs. Transfer the coconut milk and rice into a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat until the liquid is being absorbed/driven off and the rice is half cooked. Stir continuously to prevent burning. Then steam the rice with a steamer until fully cooked.
Keyword Indonesian, rice, side dish, tumeric, yellow

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