Ulam Recipe: How to Make Authentic Nasi Ulam at Home

Ulam Recipe

Having an eye-catching appearance embellished by various herbs, Ulam, is a Malaysian–styled salad that is enjoyed throughout Malaysia. Characterised by having a selection of raw or slightly blanched ingredients such as wild leaves, herbs, nuts, and flowers, the sight of it is a unique one. Being a versatile dish, it has been incorporated in Malaysia’s food culture as both a salad when eaten on its own, and as a main when cooked with rice as Nasi Ulam.


Origin of Nasi Ulam

The origin of this Malaysian staple is said to have come from the Peranakan community. It has now become a readily available dish. You can commonly find it in Malay restaurants. As the concept of the dish is a simple one, it leaves much space for exploration. The versatile nature of this dish has led to variations to come about; some contemporary culinary experts even turning it into drinks!

Though each variation of the dish has its uniqueness; Malaysians would probably agree that the most common way to enjoy it would be through Nasi Ulam. Contrary to its bland sounding name which translates to rice salad; Nasi Ulam is simply an irresistible dish that is flavourful and aromatic at the same time.

Ulam Recipe

Recipe by LokaTasteDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Being one of the more popular ways to enjoy Ulam, Nasi Ulam is a dish that is relatively easy to recreate in the comforts of your home. With a quick trip to the nearby supermarket and thorough preparation, you will be able to make your own Nasi Ulam in no time!


  • 2 cups of Basmati rice (cooked and chilled)

  • 1/3 cup of dried shrimp

  • ½ cup of fresh or frozen shredded coconut

  • 5 to 6 daun kadok (finely sliced)

  • ¼ cup of Thai basil leaves (finely sliced)

  • ¼ cup of mint leaves (finely sliced)

  • ¼ cup of daun kesom (finely sliced)

  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (finely sliced)

  • 5 shallots (peeled and finely sliced)

  • 1 lemongrass (only thinly slice the white part)

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • 3 dashes of white pepper (powder)

  • 3 pinches of black pepper (powder)


  • In a bowl, pour in some hot water and add the dried shrimp. Soak the shrimp until it softens. Then, use a mortar and pestle and coarsely pound the shrimp.
  • Next, heat a wok and add the pounded shrimp. Dry toast the shrimp until fragrant (be careful not to burn the shrimp). When that is done, remove the shrimp from the wok.
  • Using the same wok, add shredded coconut this time and stir-fry it continuously until it takes on a brown colour. Then transfer the coconut into a mortar and pestle, and pound the coconut until it becomes fine.
  • In a big bowl, combine the cooked rice with the finely cut herbs and leaves, along with the toasted coconut and pounded shrimp. Add salt and pepper according to your preference then toss the mix, ensuring that it combines well.
  • Then finally, divide the rice into four bowls, and with that, your Nasi Ulam is ready to be served!

Ways to Enjoy Nasi Ulam

Although the preparation for this dish can get tedious, the result is surely a rewarding one; surely bringing a smile on your face. As mentioned previously, the potential for Ulam is limitless! So, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always customise the components of this dish to suit your taste. 

Explore other popular Malaysian delights with Lokataste Recipe and more!


Related Posts