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Herb Rice Salad: recipe

Chef Wan presents his recipe for Herb Rice Salad (Nasi Ulam).

Chef Wan holding bunga kantan plant

Chef Wan holding bunga kantan plant
Photo by Zaharah Othman


4 cups of rice (see below for preparation)
2 cm / 1 inch fresh ginger, minced finely
1 cup turmeric juice – mix tumeric pulp with hot water, and strain
1 litre coconut cream (santan pekat)
6 shallots, sliced thinly
4 tbsp / 2 fl oz roasted, pounded dessicated coconut paste (kerisik)
2 cups / 10 oz desiccated coconut 
4 limes
4 pieces of mackerel or similar fish, de-boned and flaked
Fish sauce to taste
50 g / 2 oz dried, salted threadfin (ikan kurau kering) or any salted fish, flaked
5 raw long beans, finely sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, pounded
2 screw pine (pandan) leaves
2 tbsp / 1 fl oz black peppercorns, pounded
Handful of dried shrimps (udang kering) or dried anchovies, fried and pounded
Handful of the following herbs (or your favourites), all thinly sliced:

Wild cosmos (daun ulam raja)
Laksa leaves or Vietnamese mint (daun kesum)
Tumeric leaves (daun kunyit)
Lemongrass (serai)
Torch ginger bud (bunga kantan)
Wild pepper leaves (daun kaduk)
Lemon basil leaves (daun kemangi)
Kaffir Lime leaves (makrut limau purut)
Euodia Redievi (daun tenggek burung)


Soak rice for 2 minutes, wash and drain. Cook the rice with the coconut cream and water; the ratio between the rice and liquids should be around 1:1 or 1:1.2. Add in the pounded lemongrass, screw pine leaves and turmeric juice. Leave aside to simmer. 

After the rice is cooked, add all the other ingredients, together with sugar, salt, and lime juice to taste. Mix well and serve immediately, together with sambal belacan (see below). 

This dish is ideal served with roast or grilled chicken.

Nasi ulam or herb rice

Nasi ulam or herb rice
Photo by Nur Hannah Wan

Homemade Sambal Belacan

4 fresh red chillies
1 tsp roasted shrimp paste (belacan)
½ lime

Pound together the chillies with the roasted shrimp paste. Squeeze in the lime juice.

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