Savoury Rice with Herbs

Nasi Ulam

Preparation info

  • For


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      15 min

Appears in

The Rice Book

By Sri Owen

Published 1993

  • About

This is a sort of Malaysian version of what the British adapted from India and called kedgeree. Instead of butter, we use thick coconut milk, boiled (with spices) until the milk becomes oil, and the rice turns green from the green and fragrant herbs it has been heated with. In Malaysia, I first ate nasi ulam in a restaurant called Sri Nonya, in Petaling Jaya, just outside Kuala Lumpur. Nonya food is a mingling of traditional Malaysian cuisine with Chinese, and is said to have originated in sixteenth-century Malacca, where Chinese immigrants married local people. The ladies were politely addressed as Nyonya or Nonya, which means something like ‘Madam’. They must have been good cooks, and this particular restaurant does their memory credit. My only criticism of the nasi ulam was that the chef had been a bit too generous with the herbs, so that I could hardly taste the rice. In my version, I have included a list of herbs that you can use, but I would recommend that you select just four or five, whichever are most easily available; the result will be better than if you try to stuff them all in.