Nasi Ulam - Herbs & Rice Salad
Every now and then, I crave for spicy dishes that make me sweat. I am always being questioned why eating spicy food is enjoyable. It is hard to explain – it is a kind of sensation that sends tingle to the taste buds, which enhances the taste of food even more. I think it’s kind of a shame if I ever leave out the spicy taste in my cooking.
Not too long ago, I was craving for a dish that I haven’t tasted since I left Malaysia. Thanks to the internet for making the world smaller and makes information easily and instantly available. If you guys could recall Bihun Soup (Rice Vermicelli with in Beef Broth) – a childhood dish that remains in my heart until today that was brought to us by Lisa from My Lemony Kitchen. As I was browsing Lisa’s blog, I came across nasi ulam that I was really excited about. The first look of the dish had me a sudden craving and I couldn’t wait but wanted to eat it at the moment I saw!
Ulam refers to herbs, plants, edible wild plants, shoots, leaves and stems, that are eaten raw or simply blanch for a few seconds before being eaten with rice. Condiment that is eaten with is sambal belacan. Nasi Ulam, literally translated as rice with variety of greens. In Kelantan and Terengganu state, this dish is more commonly known as Nasi Kerabu. You can equate this as a Malaysian-style salad, that is very popular among the Peranakans and Malays. The only difference of this salad is that, unlike the western green salad that is usually dressed with vinaigrette; Malaysian-style salad needs only sambal belacan to make the whole dish tastes yummy!
To make my nasi ulam even better, I decided to pan-fry mackerel fillets that were slightly seasoned with turmeric. I have to say that the combination of the fresh herbs and mackerel is just excellent!
For the Nasi Ulam – Herbs & Rice Salad:
1 tsp turmeric
a pinch of salt
200g mackerel fillet
1 tbsp sunflower oil
300g cooked basmati rice or brown rice or wild rice
50g green beans (optional), finely chopped
50g thai basil leaves, finely chopped
30g coriander leaves, finely chopped
20g mint leaves, finely chopped
20g vietnamese coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp toasted desiccated coconut
For the risotto:
•2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
•1 onion, finely chopped
•1 garlic clove, crushed
•250g risotto rice, such as carnaroli
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
•150g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
•400ml tomato essence
•10 cherry tomatoes, halved
•80g asparagus, cut into 5cm lengths
•4 tsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1. Marinate the mackerel with turmeric and salt for 15 minutes. Then, heat up a pan over medium heat and put the sunflower oil. Put the mackerel skin side down and cook for 3-4 minutes until crisp and brown. Flip over and cook the other side for the same amount of time and set aside to let cool.
2. In a salad bowl, add the cooked rice and the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good toss to get all the ingredients well mixed. Meanwhile, when the mackerel fillets are cold enough to handle, roughly flake the flesh and add to the bowl and mix well.
3. Divide equal portion onto individual plate, serve with sambal belacan.
A wonderful dish! That combination is mouthwatering.
Thanks Rosa! It is a dish that makes me really happy after eating it. 🙂
Wow this dish really is packed full of greeens- sounds rather delicious!
Yeah, it is one of my favourites! 🙂
Yum..my! My favorite dish, I always love this dish coz it’s so..so appetizing. Each time you mentioned Sambal Belachan…you made me craving for it ! He..
Yeah, it is really appetising! hhehe, I really love sambal belachan… and this is just one of those dishes that I have to have lots of it!
ahhhh sedapnya… buat I terlioq :P.
Beautiful photos too
Thanx for the shoutout my dear 😀
Memang sedap.. nak buat lagi lain kali 😉
I’ve never seen rice as beautiful as this!!!
I am not well versed in all the different Malay dishes but I will gladly eat anything that sounds and looks this delicious! Love the way you’ve crisped the mackerel.
Thank you! This dish is really to die for. I added mackerel which makes it even better (well, at least for me) to eat with sambal.. 😉
That looks wonderful! Isn’t it nice recreating something from your childhood or another time! 😀
Thanks! I love cooking those dishes that I used to eat when I was little, brings back lots of memories. 😉
Nice to have this as a one dish meal too!
Yeah, quick and yummy! 🙂
I love spicy food, If I eat your nasi ulam I must have at least thai chilly pepper. what a yummy food! The fish even make it more delicious!
I can’t live without spicy food and I do get cravings from time to time… luckily it is easy to get access to chillies! 🙂
yummm! i can’t wait to dig in! i always crave my nanny’s ayam goreng from when i was little…
I love the sound of ayam goreng!!
I used to love this . . . thank you for reminding me 🙂 I think it might be a good “packed lunch” meal for me too.
Definitely a great packed lunch… 🙂
It’s shiok! I like the feeling too!
How interesting this rice salad with mackerel…perfect for the warm weather.
Have a great week ahead 🙂
Thank, Juliana! Hope you have a great week ahead too!
This dish truly reminds me of home. My mum loves nasi ulam, and whilst I find the ones from home slightly too ‘strong’ and herby, I love the blend of herbs you’ve used – will definitely try this.
p.s. am now craving some deep fried kembong.. hehe.
It is not easy to get the herbs like we use back home, so, I just make do with whatever I could get.. heheh.. and yes, I really miss deep fried kembong now too.. hehe
Me too, love spicy dishes very much coz they are appertizing and healthy. 🙂
Yup!! Can’t live without chilli.. hehe
I recently make some kind of rice salad too. I don’t think I can call that nasi ulam though nasi ulam came right to my mind after I cooked that dish!
Your nasi ulam looks beautiful.
Just adores the colours from this dish.
I’m always in awe of those who can eat spicy food with gusto. I guess my tase buds are a little shy, lol.
ehehhe.. I think it’s because I have been trained since young.
So lovely when you’re able to recreate the childhood flavors you recall so fondly. This looks delicious!
I’m salivating as i read your write-up! HAHA!
They sometimes call this, the Malay salad, sans fish. Love Lisa and love youuuuuuuu~ xx
ehheeh.. wish I could email one plate to you.. 🙂 x
Looks so flavourful and appetizing!!! I’m craving for it too!!
Thank you! I think I am going to make it again soon with lots of samba.. hehe
this is an awesome rice salad recipe. it looks so fresh and vibrant. I absolutely adore mackarel so this is looking more extra appetizing to me.
I think herring will be a good substitute too. 🙂
i will definitely add more sambal belachan to feel the heaven 🙂
i like the recipe leemei 🙂
Thanks Ira. I am a great fan of samba too.. I need to make some to put in my fridge!
That looks really light and fresh and simple to prepare too (: all that herbs, definitely a fragrant yummy dish at the same time. funnily i’ve never had this before even though I grew up in singapore! thanks for sharing!
Thanks for dropping by and your comment! It is indeed really easy to prepare and you can make it at home. I would have thought you should be able to get this at the food court or Malay hawkers’, no?