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What Is Nasi Paprik?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

Nasi paprik is a Malaysian rice dish that combines traditions of that region with certain culinary conventions in Thailand; it is composed of rice seasoned with a hot chili paste. Often, the chillies are sauteed to break them down and contribute to the rice sauce. Many other elements can be added to this dish as well.

The name of this dish is based on two separate linguistic elements. The word nasi is the Malaysian word for Rice. The phrase pad prik is a Thai phrase for hot chilies. Locals put these two together to combine into the phrase nasi paprik.

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In addition to the rice and hot peppers that go into most versions of this dish, cooks can also add a wide variety of vegetables. For example, cauliflower may be used for its unique texture and light color, where the chili paste can provide more coloration. Carrots and cucumbers may also be used. Squash, eggplant or other vegetables are also common elements of this culinary presentation, both for added nutritional value and aesthetic appeal. Broccoli or other green vegetables are also used frequently, as is the lime leaf, a more exotic plant food addition.

Aside from vegetables, various other foods can be included in nasi paprik. Beans or legumes are not an uncommon addition. Various forms of meat may also be added to the dish. Chicken or beef are especially popular. These meats are often laid on top of the rice rather than being entirely mixed in.

In some cases, nasi paprik can be combined with another Malaysian Rice dish called nasi goreng. the result would be called nasi goreng paprik. Nasi goreng is the Malaysian term for fried rice, and so nasi goreng paprik would be rice with hot chili peppers that also has a fried rice presentation. The actual recipe for “fried rice” differs quite a bit, though nasi goreng, like other worldwide forms of fried rice, typically utilizes the strategy of adding meats, vegetables or other elements cut fine to provide for a consistent, close texture.

In most versions of the dish, the very hot flavor of the dish is something that recipients anticipate. Although hot chilis are a prime ingredient in this dish, they are not the only flavoring element that is used. Some cooks may also use lemon grass or other locally available herbs to flavor the dish. In addition, some versions of nasi paprik may not be quite as hot as some eaters expect, since other flavors can substitute for some of the heat of the dish.

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