Express Nasi Ulam- Herb rice salad


I stumbled upon this refreshing herb rice salad decades ago when I was reading up Nonya recipes as a new bride. I was intrigued as I never had rice as a salad, let alone with all kinds of fresh herbs and cold rice!
(I know I sound like a mountain tortoise but up till then I was still the typical Cantonese girl whose meals are largely soup and the usual Cantonese dishes)

Nasi means rice in Malay and Ulam is the assortments of herbs. It is incredibly healthy, aromatic and delicious. You can have it as a side to a Nonya meal or as eat it on its own.
If you have any balance fried fish from previous day meal, you may toss in the fish flakes as well.

One lazy sunny afternoon, I was craving for Nasi Ulam; for its cold, refreshing and aromatic flavours. Yet I was not prepared to get up to "finely slices" anything.
(You can't get this dish in a restaurant partly due to the daunting work of slicing herbs very finely)

Back to the fridge and managed to find some lemongrass and a stalk of Bunga kantan/ ginger flower (from making ginger flower chicken curry); some balance rice from previous night dinner as well.
With the mint, basil and kaffir leaves from the garden, I am ready to roll (in this case, grind)

In less than half an hour, I have my express Nasi Ulam and loving it!

You are reading this specific version of Nasi Ulam all because they say lazy people are creative people! (Lol)

You will need:

4 cups of cool cooked rice
1 small piece of salted fish (cubed and fried)
1 tbsp belachan, toasted (dried shrimp paste)
1/2 cucumber cut into small cubes
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
pinch of salt

100g shallots (sliced)
1 ginger flower (finely chopped)
1 lemongrass(finely chopped)
1cm fresh turmeric into thin stripes

Herbs:(Finely sliced or just grind it)
2 stalks laksa leaves (not use here)
2 stalks basil leaves
3 stalks mint leaves
2-3 cekur leaves (sand ginger leaves) (not use here)
4-5 kaduk leaves (betel leaves) (not use here)
1 turmeric leaf (not use here)
1 kaffir lime leaf

1. Wash, dry and use only leaves of herbs (not stalks)

2. Grind or blend the herbs with vegetable oil, salt and belachan to a paste and set it aside.

3. Mixed the herb paste with the cooked rice and toss in the cucumber, strips of turmeric and salted fish. Ensure all is well mixed.

Cooks' Note:
  • Just use any herbs you can find, don't sweat over it.
  • You may use toasted, grated  coconut for topping
  • Fresh sliced red chilli may be useful for topping
  • Squeeze a lime over the rice if you like
Nasi Ulam(with shredded herbs) salted fish bits and fried Batang

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