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What an interesting dish! I love greens, too!


Arrrgh! I dunno why but I keep torturing myself by looking at your blog before lunch! Now have the urge to go out and eat copious quantities of rice. BTW, I think the organic shop in Bangsar Village sells Sarawak rice.



wow great attempt! delicious cafe at bangsar village serves a good one too.


You can also use fish that has been grilled, flake the meat instead of dried prawns.


Splendid dish and not too difficult to prepare, although the shopping would take a while. One thing, Is Sarawak rice a unique strain of rice or is it known by any other name? I've never seen it before.


I think Sarawak rice is also marketed as "bario" rice.



Hi there, I love your blog, having discovered it a few days ago! I'm from Sarawak and I miss the rice tremendously! Thanks for posting it up =) Now I can show my bf that I was not lying when I said our rice is red! Thanks!


Mau, you do seem to keep coming back before lunchtime. Do I detect a masochistic streak in you?

Thanks for visiting, Paz!

Ah, will file that away babe_kl, for next time I'm in that vicinity and hungry.

Next time we have leftover grilled fish, lmdt, I know what to do with it. Thanks!

Pieman -- whad'ya mean the shopping would take a while -- pretty much everything you need is in that first aisle (the fish aisle) at Ben Thanh. Don't know if you've noticed but if you go up further from the fish lady featured in today's noodlepie post, and keep an eye to the right, you'll find (across from prawns and skinned frogs and stuff) a wife/husband (I'm guessing) act selling more Thai-type ingredients -- kaffir lime leaves, kaffir limes (the zest would be nice in the salad), greens that aren't out and about at the other stalls. Have a peek. They've got these bundles of different herbs all tied together, very colorful. Never did figure out what those were meant to be used for, but they would make a nice centerpiece....

Sarawak rice is definately a unique strain, I'd never seen it before either. It's probably also marketed as "bario" rice for the settlement of Bario, in Sarawak's Kelabit Highlands, quite near to the border with Indonesian Kalimantan. This is Sarawak's prime rice-growing region. Must plan a go-see.

Aggie, glad you're enjoying the blog (seem to get quite a few homesick (or food-from-home-sick) Malaysian expats checking in. What other foods from Sarawak do you miss?


OOhhh, where can I start? I miss dian bian hu, kampua and kompia (all found here: http://www.thelex.com/sibu/food.html), Tebaloi (traditional biscuit made from sago - see: http://www.peladang.sarawak.gov.my/products_other_03.htm), bubur cha cha (http://www.sixthseal.com/images/bubur_cha_cha_macro.jpg), Sarawak laksa, assam fish (http://photos1.blogger.com/img/258/5484/320/Assam%20Fish-head.jpg), petola segi (http://agrolink.moa.my/doa/bdc/vege/petoltek_bm.html), cendol (not the KL type, some call it ABC - http://www.sixthseal.com/001040.html) ...I can go on and on! Hehe. I'm not sure which is purely Sarawakian and which is Malaysian though. You should try all of them! =)


In the US, or at least here in Chicago, these leaves are better known by the Telugu name of gongura. Somewhere in the archives of egullet.com I think that there exists an excellent recipe for the gongura pickle of Andhra, possibly posted during the ancient days of that website when the great Suvir Saran was the moderator of the India Board. (But maybe I am imagining this-I'll have to ask my friend Zim.) Fresh gongura leaves are available for most part of the year at various Indian groceries on Devon Ave., notably Patel Brothers (I took Nick Zukin of extramsg.com to Patel Bros. a year ago and he might have a picture on his website of the vegetables bins.) A stunning pacchadi gongura (gongura chutney) is served at Sizzle India, which is devoted to the cuisine of Andhra, and is there anything more evocative of Andhra cooking than this gongura leaf...?

A diff species of Hibiscus is the source of the dried calyx/flower which is used to make the astringent/quite tannic but rather refreshing drink called agua de flor de Jamaica in Mexico, karkade in Egypt and by various other names in diff parts of Africa. If I remember correctly, the chile vendor "bajo el puente" (under the viaduct) at Maxwell Street Market gave you a handful of flor de Jamaica as a gift when you visited Chicago. The same dried flower is used medicinally in Thailand, in China and elsewhere. I have never heard of alas doce being used in Philippine cookery but it is quite possible that the leaves are used in some down-home dish in fairly obscure provincial regions (as vegetable or perhaps even as a souring agent). Alas doce of course comes from "a las doce" or "midnight", in reference to the rich anthocyans that give the flower a deep black-violet or "midnight" hue. The showey flowers of horticultural species of Hibiscus are called gumamela in the Philippines.

The name nasi ulam is curious. Ulam of course is the Malay word that refers to "a dish that accompanies rice on the side". What we would call an "entree" in the west is called ulam, or side-dish in Malay cultures (rice of course being the main dish). I am at Northwestern U library right now (Helene Cixous is giving a lecture on Jacques Derrida in 1/2 hr, at 4:30) and I just looked up an old Malay dictionary where ulam (spelled oelam in the Dutch manner) is specified as an "uncooked" side-dish. This is certainly new to me as ulam is the generic term for any dish that is eaten with rice in the Philippines. How it became attached to nasi to form the name of this dish (possible translation: "rice mixed/tossed with stuff usually eaten as a side-dish with rice"?) is even more of a mystery to me...

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Yum! I am also like mau, I am checking the blog before lunch and the salad looks good. Thanks for the guide on the herbs, whenever I go to markets, I am lost as I have no idea what to buy.


i do know the stal you mean and I have bought from them. I watched one episode of Jamie Oliver a few years' back and was inspired to try a green Thai curry with the Ben thanh herbs. Think I overdid it... Tasted good, but way too perfumey. Need to scale the herbs down a tad. As for shopping time. I wasn't very clear. I meant the time taken figuring out which leaf is which etc. never easy for me. Thx for the fish recipe tip btw - was very good.


Yes! Masochistic and a creature of habit too. It's 12.15 p.m., and I've come to eyeball the food pics again.

Unfortunately, KLCC isn't a food mecca - so I have to make do with the usual blah grub here, when now what I really want is nasi ulam! My tortured soul ...


Suvir Saran

what is the favorite brand people enjoy here?
How sad i was too learn that Jyothi, a friend who divides her time between New York and Bangalore, does not have the wonderful chef working with her anymore, that made the picke in Hyderabad and came traveling with a batch for her to bring to NYC when she arrived in Spring.
I am craving it now, sitting at my desk in a hotel in London, where is it late i nto the night, early in the morning.
Yummy tastes come to my tongue, even without tasting it...

Ho Pheng

Hi, I stumbled upon your posting. Fresh grated coconut can be browned without oil. I used the baking oven on low heat for some minutes to dry out the grated fresh coconut, then used a non-stick pan to "wok" further until nicely brown. So no oil necessary. I couldn't brown it completely in the oven because it got unevenly brown, some tasted like charcoal. It is possible to improvise this dish using western herbs like Parsley, Dill, Fennel, Mint, Lemon-Thyme, and Basil. Tasted different but was nevertheless delicious. Thanks for sharing another very interesting way of making Nasi Ulam from Sarawak. I will try it with brown rice to see what it tastes like.


where did you buy your leaves in the usa? i can't find them.


Ulam is not 'side dish eaten with rice' per say. Ulam means the greens eaten raw like. Most (if not all) ulams have very strong distinct flavour. Nasi ulam just means rice mixed with these uncooked greens/leaves (ulam).

usually ulam is eaten with sambal belacan or with rice.

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