Peranakan Nasi Ulam


The Recipe

Nasi Ulam uses a variety of different herbs. My great grandaunt apparently picked and gathered as many as 16 different types of herbs to make her Nasi Ulam. I use only about 10 different types of herbs available in the market. I believe knowledge of many herbs have been lost with our rapid urbanisation and less frequently used ones have fallen into obscurity. The idea is to use as many herbs as possible and harness all the nutritional and medicinal values of the different herbs. They must be finely sliced and well mixed so that you are arrested with a myriad of different flavours with each mouthful of Nasi Ulam you take.

Health Benefits:

The herbs are believed to expel wind and contain many medicinal benefits. It is also confinement food for women as the different herbs are believed to strengthen and cleanse the woman’s body after childbirth.



500 grams Grated Coconut
1 large Onion
1 sliced Red Chilli
1 sliced Green Chilli
800 grams Rice
500 grams Ikan Cencaru (Hardtail Scad)

500 grams Prawns
500 grams Crab Meat
100 grams Gerago or Dried Shrimps to garnish

50 grams Bawang Goreng or Fried Shallots to garnish

2 stalks Serai (Cymbopogon or Lemon Grass)
1 stalk Bunga Kantan (Etlingera Elatior or Torch Ginger Flower) Daun Kunyit (Zingiberaceae or Tumeric Leaves)

3 Daun Kadok (Piper Sarmentosum)
10 Daun Limau Purut (Citrus Hystrix or Kaffir Lime Leaves) Daun Kesom (Polygonum or Laksa Leaves)
20 Daun Pudina (Mentha or Mint Leaves)
5 stalks Daun Pudina (Mentha or Mint Leaves)
5 stalks Daun Kemangi (Ocimum Basilicum or Basil Leaves) Kacang (Vigna Unguiculata Ssp. Sesquipedalis or Long Beans)
5 stalks Cucumber, remove core and dice



Time needed: 2 days

  1. Dry-fry grated coconut, onion and chillies at very low heat till coconut is golden brown, to make the Serundeng Kelapa. This will take a few hours. Do it the day before and let it cool.
  2. Bake fish with skin in the oven at 200 degrees, till it is cooked (approximately 20-30 mins). Turn the fish after 10 mins or so. There is no need to use any oil as the fish will produce its own oil. The skin of the fish will be hard and leathery, debone and flake fish meat.
  3. Cook prawns, shell and chop.
  4. Cook crab and extract meat.
  5. Cook rice and let it cool for a few hours. When cooled, break up rice.
  6. Slice all the herbs finely, except for long beans and cucumber.
  7. Mix fish, prawns and crab into rice.
  8. Mix finely sliced herbs into rice.
  9. Mix Serundeng Kelapa into rice.
  10. Garnish with Gerago and Bawang Goreng.
  11. Pound all the Sambal Belachan ingredients together in a mortar and pestle.
  12. Mix all the Sambal Chincalok ingredients together in a bowl.
  13. Serve with condiments.

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