How To Cook Nasi Kebuli (Crispy Chicken & Rice)

Nasi Kebuli is a fragrant rice and crispy chicken royal dish that’s famous the Malaysian state of Pahang. The word “Kebuli” is an abbreviation of the royal honorific “ke bawah duli (yang maha mulia)” (kind of like “his Majesty” etc.). I didn’t grow up in Pahang so this backgrounder on Nasi Kebuli is courtesy of our Masters of Malaysian Cuisine (MOMC) chef Zaleha Olpin who IS from Pahang, and from my own reading at the Aku Anak Pahang Malay-language blog. Nasi Kebuli is said to be a middle eastern-Arabic dish which became popular in India, and then Indonesia and Malaysia. In Malaysia itself, it was a favourite in kampungs (rural villages) in Pahang, and especially in the Kuala Lipis region.

Sultan Mahmud Shah of Pahang (1914-1917) visited Kuala Lipis with some 60 of his followers, and when he requested for a meal with chicken, a local gentleman by the name of Hussin served him Nasi Kebuli, and the rest is history.

In this episode of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia featuring the state of Pahang, I had a go at making Nasi Kebuli, with the recipe tweaked to be accessible to Australian cooks.

Watch the replay of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia Series 1 Episode 3 on Pahang here (my cooking segment kicks in at about the 15:30 mark) >>

Nasi Kebuli


1 brown onion
1-inch piece ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemongrass
1 tsp crushed pepper
1 TBSP coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp galangal powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 TBSP oil
2 cups water
2 chicken Maryland pieces (thigh plus
2 tsp salt
1 TBSP chicken powder (optional)
2 TBSP spice mix
2 TBSP oil
2 cups Basmati rice, rinsed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chicken powder
Oil for deep-frying
1 cucumber, sliced


  1. Blend spice ingredients in a food processor;transfer into a saucepan and fry until oil separates.
  2. Remove two TBSP spice mix and set aside. Add water to the saucepan along with salt and/or
    chicken powder and chicken, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is just done. Remove chicken pieces and allow to drain on a rack.
  4. In a separate saucepan, mix the rinsed rice with the remaining 2 TBSP spice mix and toss well on low heat.
  5. Transfer into a rice cooker or saucepan, add water and some of the sauce from the spice marinade that was used to simmer the chicken;
    cook until done.
  6. Heat oil to 180C; fry the chicken pieces until skin is crispy (about 5 minutes).
  7. Mould rice in a bowl, transfer onto serving plate, add chicken and serve garnished with cucumber slices and optional tomato sambal.

Other guests in this episode include Zaleha Olpin, who made a Pahang version of Pulut Panggang (grilled sticky rice rolls wrapped in banana leaf), our resident award-winning tour guide Shaukani Abbas, Masters of Malaysian Cuisine co-founder Paul Gray, and TV host and TikTok star Mark O’Dea.

Our MOMC group publishes a free recipe eMagazine which we send to our email subscribers. Here’s the issue which accompanied Street Food Journeys: Malaysia Series 1 >> Click to View or Download

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