During a recent media familiarisation trip to Penang at the invitation of Gaya Travel Magazine and Tourism Malaysia Penang, we made a lunch stop at Jawi House Café Gallery, a quaint restaurant along Armenian Street in Georgetown.
Jawi House Café Gallery serves authentic Jawi Peranakan (Straits Muslim) cuisine, with a gallery on the upper floor that showcases Penang-style Jawi Peranakan sub-culture and art.
It was my second visit to the restaurant and I had the priviledge to witness for myself the prepartion of nasi lemuni (rice), the staple food of the Straits Muslim community.
This traditional beauty food is healthy and best taken by women who are in confinement. Yes, it prevents bloating, nourishes the body and restores vitality.
Lemuni (scientific name: Vitex trifolia) leaves are first blended and then added to the rice at one cup to a spoonful of leaves.
According to Chef Nurilkarim, who manages Jawi House Café Gallery, the type of rice used to cook nasi lemuni is “basmati rice”. The rice, after a quick rinse, is to be soaked for 20 minutes before it is placed into the rice cooker.
Other ingredients are garlic, onions, ginger, lemongrass, oil, water, salt, cinnamon and other spices (secret). Coconut milk or ghee is also added into the mix. Obviously, they both produce a different outcome to the rice.
The above mixture is poured into the rice cooker and then boiled as we normally would boil our rice. Once it is cooked, the blue juice from the clitoria flower (bunga telang) is added to the pot to give it the blue colouring that we have come to expect from nasi lemuni.
Nasi lemuni is best served with chicken rendang! Just what we had for lunch that day.
Jawi House Café Gallery
Add: 85, Armenian Street, 10200 George Town, Penang.
Tel: +604-261 3680 (call for dining reservations)
Opening hours: 10am – 7pm daily, except Sundays
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