Nasi Ulam (Malay Rice Salad)

It’s the month of fasting, and the Geylang Serai bazaar is finally back, after a two years hiatus. The other pasar malams are also back in action and so it seems, life is finally going back to normal.

And I am saying this because we are no longer alarmed at people becoming Covid+ anymore. Just a couple of months back, when the two boys and I got infected, it was a situation where people still get slightly uptight when they hear about cases happening around them with a lot of follow-up procedures to react to immediately. Nowadays, people don’t really care anymore. All thanks to the recent announcement by our dearest Prime Minister. We could all go back to work three days a week, and I can finally get to meet my entire family again tomorrow because a gathering of ten is the new normal now. The best part of it is that I can finally walk outside without a mask where it isn’t air-conditioned or enclosed.

Like many of us, I am hoping that this is it, and that there’s no going back. But at the same time, it is scary that work is picking up like crazy. I’m definitely not prepared to go back to the office five days a week. Fingers crossed that the flexibility to choose to work from home stays.

Back to the topic of Nasi Ulam, the highlight of the day. It is an Indonesian dish that has rice mixed with a variety of vegetables, served alongside sambal chilli for an added kick. It is supposedly also a common dish found in Singapore as well as Malaysia, though I’m not so sure if I’ve seen it sold locally before. I must say I love how well the rice goes with the herbs and fish flakes though – very refreshing taste alongside the tanginess of the lime flavour as well.


  • Cabbage: 150g, finely shredded
  • Long beans: 150g, finely sliced
  • Lime juice: 1/2 lime (2 tbsp)
  • Shallot: 1, finely chopped
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Sambal belacan: 1.5 tbsp
  • Cooked rice: cooked from 4 cups of rice
  • White fish (or mackerel): 2 fillets (400g)
  • Basil leaf: 3 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Coriander: 1 stalk, finely chopped


  1. Blanch cabbage and long beans in boiling water for a few minutes till softened. Drain and set aside.
  2. Combine lime juice, shallots, salt & sambal belacan in a bowl.
  3. Mix in vegetables and hot rice.
  4. Pan-fry white fish on both sides till slightly browned. Flake it with a fork and stir into rice mixture.
  5. Finally, stir in basil leaves and coriander.
  6. Mix well to serve.


  • This recipe was kindly adapted from the Asian Rice Dishes recipe book, written by Lee Geok Boi.

  • The original recipe had the cabbage and long beans blanched by pouring boiling water over the vegetables in a sieve. I actually blanched mine for a slightly longer time in the water itself so that it’s softer and easier for my boy to chew on.


  • The original recipe also had long beans sliced diagonally while I had mine sliced really finely, like spring onions, to convince the boy to eat them. And he did!

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