Nasi Kerabu: A Delicious and Colorful Dish from Malaysia

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Nasi Kerabu is a traditional dish from Malaysia that is popular in the east coast states of Kelantan and Terengganu. It is a rice dish that is flavoured with various herbs and served with an array of side dishes, creating a colourful and delicious meal. In this article, we will explore the history, ingredients, and preparation of this beloved Malaysian dish.

History of Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu is believed to have originated from Kelantan, a state in northeastern Malaysia. The dish is said to have been created by the Malay communities living along the Kelantan River, who used local ingredients to create a unique and flavorful dish. Over time, the dish spread to neighbouring states and became a popular meal across the country.

A popular hotspot for Nasi Kerabu in Kuala Terengganu for many locals.

Ingredients and Preparation

The main component of Nasi Kerabu is the rice, which is flavoured with the petals of the blue butterfly pea flower, giving it a distinctive blue colour. Other herbs and spices, such as lemongrass, turmeric, and ginger, are also used to flavour the rice. The rice is then mixed with shredded coconut and toasted coconut flakes, giving it a nutty and slightly sweet flavour.

The side dishes that accompany Nasi Kerabu are varied and can include a range of different ingredients. Some common side dishes include fried chicken, fish or shrimp crackers, pickled vegetables, and a spicy salad made with herbs, shredded vegetables, and a chilli paste. The dish is often served with a dollop of sambal, a spicy chilli sauce that adds heat and depth of flavour to the meal.

One unique aspect of Nasi Kerabu is that the dish is often served on a banana leaf, adding to the visual appeal of the meal. The bright blue rice, colourful side dishes, and green banana leaf create a vibrant and eye-catching dish that is a feast for the senses.

A comforting shareable plate of the traditional Nasi Kerabu with salted eggs, fried chickens, and fried fish.
Source: My Blue Tea

Health Benefits of Nasi Kerabu

While Nasi Kerabu is a delicious and flavorful dish, it also has some health benefits. The blue butterfly pea flower is high in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. The herbs and spices used in the dish also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Additionally, the dish often includes a variety of vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, and cabbage, which provide important nutrients like fibre, vitamins, and minerals. By incorporating a range of different foods, Nasi Kerabu can be a nutritious and balanced meal.

Nasi Kerabu Chicken Percik served with blue butterfly pea flower infused rice, salted egg, a variety of veggies and crackers.
Source: Two Sons Bistro


Nasi Kerabu is a beloved dish in Malaysia that is known for its distinctive blue rice and colourful side dishes. The dish has a rich history and is a symbol of the cultural and culinary diversity of Malaysia. With its unique flavour profile and health benefits, Nasi Kerabu is a dish that is well worth trying for anyone who enjoys exploring new cuisines and flavours.

Article curated by Lavanyah Magenthiran