Nasi ulam



Nasi ulam is a traditional Malay dish of rice (nasi) served with steamed or raw vegetables (ulam) that is accompanied by sambal (chilli paste).

Description
Also known as kampong (village) salad, nasi ulam is a traditional dish in Malay and Peranakan (Straits Chinese) cuisine.2 Nasi ulam has been a popular dish with the natives of the Malay Peninsula. But like many dishes in Southeast Asia, other cultures also have their own versions of the dish, especially the Peranakans who adapted the dish, which has become an integral part of Straits cooking.3 Nasi ulam has been described as the queen of all Peranakan rice dishes.4 The Peranakan version of nasi ulam involves mixing rice with finely-chopped fresh herbs and flaked fish.5 The herbs used include kaffir lime leaves, laksa leaves, basil leaves, lemongrass and turmeric leaves.

Unlike the western green salad that is usually accompanied by European style dressings such as vinaigrette, nasi ulam is eaten together with sambal.7 Just as there is a large variety of ulam (raw vegetables), so too are there a large variety of sambal.8 The white rice can be enhanced with a variety of combinations of ulam and sambal depending on individual preferences.9  

Variants
There are about 50 varieties of ulam and numerous varieties of sambal.10 Nasi ulam is usually made with the eight most popular varieties of raw vegetable.11 Some of these are ulam raja (king of greens, stem and leaf) with sambal udang (chilli paste with dried prawns), kachang botol (winged bean, young fruit) with sambal belacan (chilli with prawn paste), petai (young beans) with sambal goreng (fried chilli paste) or daun pegaga (leaf and root) with sambal kelapa (chilli paste with coconut), terung pipit (fruit) or pucuk gajus (leaf and shoot) with any other combination of sambal.12 

In the Malaysian states of Kelantan and Trengganu, nasi ulam and nasi kerabu are synonymous.13 The recipes vary between places and communities.14 The Chinese prefer to blanch the vegetables to remove any bitterness.15 The Malays and Indians eat the ulam raw but the latter add pucuk karupelai (curry leaf).16  



Author
Suchitthra Vasu



References 
1.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD); Tan, A. (2007, August 16). One-dish wonder. Today, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
2.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD); Tan, T. (1996). Nonya Cooking: The easy way. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 641.5929505957 TAN)
3.
Tan, T. (1996). Nonya Cooking: The easy way. Singapore: Times Books International, pp. 85, 123. (Call no.: RSING 641.5929505957 TAN) 
4.
Tan, T. (1996). Nonya Cooking: The easy way. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 641.5929505957 TAN) 
5.
Tan, T. (1996). Nonya Cooking: The easy way. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 641.5929505957 TAN); Leong, C. (2001, April 1). Eat this on its own. The New Paper, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6.
Leong, C. (2001, April 1). Eat this on its own. The New Paper, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)
8.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)
9.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD); Leong, C. (2001, April 1). Eat this on its own. The New Paper, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)
11.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)
12.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 56. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)
13.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 57. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)
14.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 58. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD); Tan, A. (2007, August 16). One-dish wonder. Today, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
15.
Tatham, P. (1995). ‘Wild green salads’ In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 58. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)
16. Tatham, P. (1965). 'Wild green salads' In Wine and Dine, 10 (54), 58. (Call no.: RSING 641.05 WD)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Ethnic foods
Cookery>>International and regional cooking>>Malay
Ethnic Communities>>Food
Malays--Food

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