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Nasi Ulam (Malaysian Mixed Herb Rice)

Nasi Ulam


Nasi Ulam Recipe (Malaysian Mixed Herb Rice)

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Total Active Time: 50 Minutes


1/3 cup dried shrimp
1/2 cup fresh or frozen shredded coconut
2 cups cooked rice, chilled
5-6 medium daun kadok (wild betel leaves), finely sliced
1/4 cup Thai basil leaves, finely sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely sliced
1/4 cup daun kesom (polygonum leaves/Vietnamese mint leaves), finely sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
5 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 heavy dashes white pepper powder
3 heavy dashes black pepper powder


Soak the dried shrimp in warm water until softened. Coarsely pound them using a mortar and pestle. Heat up a wok and dry toast the pounded shrimp until they are dry or smell aromatic. Do not burn the dried shrimp.

Make the shredded coconut into kerisik by stir-frying them continuously in a wok, until they turn golden brown in color. Transfer to the mortar and pestle and pound until fine. Set aside.

In a big bowl, combined the cooked rice and all the herbs, shallots, toasted coconut, and dried shrimp together. Add the salt, sugar, and peppers. Toss to combine well. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note:

For nasi ulam, I prefer to use basmati rice as the rice is drier and less sticky, fluffy, and nutty in flavor compared to Thai jasmine rice. I find the texture of basmati rice the best for nasi ulam. If you use regular rice for this recipe, you might want to chill it in the fridge overnight to lose the moisture content in the rice.

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32 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Marius K.

    Last time I had this wonderful rice and herb concoction was years ago, back in college at a Malay’s friends home. Thanks for including this simple, delicious, yet authentic Malaysian recipe that I almost forgotten.

  2. Mei

    Thanks for posting the recipe for this dish. It brings back memory of my childhood. Back then, I didn’t know how to appreciate the flavor in this dish but now I can’t wait to try making this for myself. Missing Malaysian food a lot.

  3. Siew

    Missing this dish. Reminded me of home. Thank you Rasa Malaysia for bring back a childhood dish. Will be making it home away from home.

  4. NYMY

    I have always wondered why you are not working with Malaysia Kitchen. Great partnership! This nasi ulam recipe looks like a great Malaysian comfort food. From your recipe and pictures, it reminded me the only time I had this was at a nyonya restaurtant. But I think the owner called it nasi kerabu? Got to get to grocery store this weekend and pick up some ingredients. Nasi ulam party coming up!

  5. Great job, Bee. I know more people from around the world now recognize some quintessential Malaysian and Nyonya dishes because of you. I love the herby mixture in this rice. To be honest, I’ve never tried this either, being in Malaysia all my life. Now I must either make it or seek it out to satisfy my curiosity.

  6. Julie

    Thanks for sharing the link to Malaysia Kitchen. Found out they are having a street market event in Bryant Park! Let’s hope it’s not going to be freezing cold to enjoy the open market experience.

  7. Kelantan Gal

    I didn’t know you can find fpdaun kadok in the US. What is it called in the shop?

    Also, what is the Daun kesom called in Vietnamese? Is it Rao Ram?

  8. Nik

    Hi! Thank you for your recipes, especially other than Malay’s, I do find them easy to understand and almost all of what I’ve tried (cooked) do taste what I’ve imagined. I do like to ask a question actually, do you have any substitute for Shaoxing wine or rice wine for the cooking? If there is/are substitute for it (non-alcohol type), I would really like to know. Thank you.

  9. Hi Ms. Bee,
    Thank you for sharing a wealth of information on Malaysian cuisine and culture. I am a culinary enthusiast and I am from Malaysia. Late last year was my first time back to Malaysia and I finally got to reunite with my family after 20 years of absence. Meanwhile, I have been living vicariously through your blog, reconnecting with Malaysian recipes and absorbing the most I can, your delicious recipes, to help recreate my lost Malaysian feel, here in New York.
    I am deeply grateful for your contributions and look forward to reading more from you.

  10. Amy

    HI Bee,

    I like to have my rice warm so when you mix it with the herbs, you can really smell the herbs. Love this dish. Always get it when we go back for a holiday in Penang.

  11. Nice Recipe! Amazing photos! I like short grain rice over long grain rice. Will to let the rice stay in fridge overnight to dry (seems like many fried rice technique can apply here as well)

  12. Debbie

    Congrats on your appointment. I stumbled on your website a few years ago and when I want to verify recipes, I would come to your website. I am a Penangite living in Singapore and I don’t cook very much but love to look at your recipes. It reminds me of my past and of some ingredients I may have missed out or some dish I may hope to try, when I have the time.

  13. Congratulations on the expansion of Rasa Malaysia into Malaysia Kitchen for the World. Your success is proof that more and more people are learning how wonderful Malay cuisine really is, and how well-presented your site is.

  14. Evelyn Ng

    My mum does a superversion of this with addition of sambal belachan. She also substitutes the dried shrimps with salted fish(ikan kurau).
    I really love the taste.

  15. kpks

    Interesting. We have a very similar dish here in south India with peanuts instead of the shrimp, coriander and curry leaves instead of ur picks – just plain coconut rice. The satvik version has ginger and asafoetida but no shallots/garlic

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