Reference:  Pahang delights

Nasi himpit is really simple to make, and once done, it must be left to cool or put in the fridge. It is however advisable to prepare the dish one day ahead to let it cool and harden.

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of lime (or kapur sireh, in Malay)
  1. Boil the rice with all the ingredients until soft.
  2. Once cooked, mash the rice and then wrap in muslin cloth in a tray or receptacle about ¾ inch thick.
  3. A weight placed on top of the cooked rice will compact the cake nicely. It's not obligtory though, it just gives a finer product.
  4. Leave the rice to cool.
  5. Cut into small squares or cubes, the size of a spoonful feed, when the rice is completely cold.
This dish can be served with either the kuah kacang (also called satay gravy) or eat with the ever delicious chicken or beef rendang.
Sometimes this compacted rice is included in a dish known as "lontong", a soupy curry-like dish with veggies, popular in the Malaysian state of Johor.
How "Nasi Himpit" got its name.

It is just white rice boiled in water, and made a little bit softer by adding a little more water than usual when cooking.
Once cooked, the soft rice is spread about an inch thick into a tray ("dulang" or "talam") and covered with a clean white muslin or cotton cloth.
When the rice has cooled slightly, would then heavy weights like the big grinding stone ("batu giling") and the mortar and pestle ("batu tumbuk"), on top of the rice, and leave them for the night.
The author recalls that on one occasion her mother put three thick volumes of their Grolier Encyclopedia on top of each other in place of the grinding stone. The Grolier Encyclopedia books, wrapped in thick transparent plastic sheets as book–cover, fitted very nicely on the square tray used!
This old and traditional method of making the Nasi Himpit will ensure that the rice will be really compressed and compacted and once cool and hardened it is easy to cut into small squares or cubes.
And that is actually how this traditional dish of the Malays got its name. "Himpit" in Malay means to compress or to compact or flatten, and various means are used to achieve it.
Besides Nasi Himpit, this compacted rice is sometimes also called "nasi kapit".