Nasi Ulam (Herb Rice Salad)


I was craving for Nasi Ulam when I saw my sister CH posted her dish on facebook a few weeks ago. The recipe she got  from her friend is a simplified 5 ingredient version. I tried to make mine as original as possible.

Nasi Ulam, or loosely translated as Herb Rice Salad in Malay, is incredibly healthy and unbelievably addictive. Nasi ulam in Malaysia consist of cold cooked rice that is mixed with shredded herbs such as daun kaduk (wild betelnut leaf), pucuk gajus (cashew leaf shoots), onions etc. Kerisik (pounded toasted coconut) and other spices is also added. Sometimes shredded fried fish is mixed in. This version is common in North West Peninsular Malaysia. A type of nasi ulam in North East Peninsular Malaysia is called nasi kerabu.

I went around looking for daun kaduk (wild betelnut leaf), but nobody is selling them, I was told to find them along the roadside or get them from someone’s garden. I almost wanted to climb into someone’s garden when my friend Jane saved me from getting myself into trouble 😀 She so happily got rid of 2 kaduk plants that was growing out of control, and now they are growing so fast on my balcony. The rest of the herbs can be easily found at the wet market or supermarket. You can view what the other herbs look like at Frozen Wing’s Nasi Ulam post.

Like most Southeast Asian recipes, Nasi Ulam looks tedious to prepare but it just require a little patience to finely slice all the herbs. All the effort will be well worth it in the end when you are paid off with a huge bowl of Nasi Ulam that you can never seem to get enough of.

This is submitted to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday blog event hosted by Shaz of TestWithSkewer and Merdeka Open House : Uniquely Malaysia hosted by Babe in the City – KL

If you like this herb salad, you might want to check out my other similar recipes:

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Nasi Ulam
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Nasi ulam consist of cooked rice that is mixed with shredded herbs such as daun kaduk (wild betelnut leaf), pucuk gajus (cashew leaf shoots), onions etc.
Serves: 4
  • 600g Cooked Rice - cooled
  • 75g Dried Salted Fish
  • 75g Dried Prawns
  • ½ cup Grated Coconut
Finely sliced:
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass
  • 2 Turmeric Leaves (daun kunyit) - I omitted
  • 10 young Wild Betel Nut Leaves (daun kaduk)
  • 6 Kaffir Lime Leaves (daun limau purut)
  • 2 stalks Polygonum (daun kesom) - I omitted
  • 3 Galangal Leaves (cekur leave)
  • 2 stalks Thai Basil Leaves (daun selasih)
  • 5 Mint leaves (daun pudina)
  • 1 Wild Ginger Flower (bunga kantan)
  • 5 Shallots
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoon water
  1. In a wok, dry fry dried prawns and salted fish until fragrant. Add in grated coconut and fry until slightly toasted.
  2. Dish out and mix with rice in a large bowl. Combine the rest of the sliced herbs and seasoning. Toss well and serve.



  1. Artikel yang menarik, asli makanan khas indonesia

  2. This reminds me of laab (Laotian meat salad). Last eid, a Laotian-Pakistani family did an open house. It happened they had laab. Originally laab uses pork and the many other parts of pig. Since they are muslim family, they used chicken. Laab was soooo good. I ate lots of it 😀

    Thanks again for the recipe!
    Pepy | Indonesia Eats recently posted..Bali: 100 Sunset Boutique Hotel and Lawar KartikaMy Profile

    • it would be interesting to add meat to this Nasi Ulam. will try it out soon, my kaduk plant is growing too fast for my consumption. just remembered another use for kaduk is thai mieng kam, posted the recipe last month

  3. I am going to hunt down this leafe here. Thanks for the link Shannon!
    I am curious to know what your salad tastes like. So cool u call mint pudina as well. =D
    Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb recently posted..Comment on Guar Bean Bhaji – Cluster Bean by HeleneMy Profile

  4. Thanks for participating and submit the second dish for Merdeka Open House 2012. I love nasi ulam, in fact a lot of people do too!

  5. I love nasi kerabu. Have heard of nasi ulam, but never tried. Looks good. Hope to get down to cooking this sometime…
    suituapui recently posted..Differently…My Profile

  6. this looks so delicious! i wish i knew where to find these ingredients!
    anna recently posted..Feta, Lime, and Mint Chopped SaladMy Profile

    • Oh I wish I could help, but I’m not too sure. You can try in Asian stores. Betel nut leaves are also used in a Thai appetizer called Mieng Kham and sweet basil leaves are common in Thai & Vietnamese food. You can substitute with some sliced ginger and turmeric powder. Even with just 2-3 herbs, it would taste good as well!

  7. Sigh …. you’ve got me getting all nostalgic about Penang days where I used to get all these kerabu stuff. Now, nobody in my house eats this or into kerabu except me. And there’s no way to make small portions of it. Next time you’re making, call me, I’m coming to collect!
    ping recently posted..Lemon Scones & Clotted Cream SubstituteMy Profile

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