Nasi ulam Recipe – How to Make Nasi ulam

Nasi ulam: An Introduction to the Traditional Malay Rice Dish

Nasi ulam is a traditional Malay rice dish that is loved for its fragrant, herb-infused flavor. The dish is made by mixing freshly cooked rice with a variety of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and turmeric. It is typically served with a variety of side dishes, such as grilled fish or chicken, sambal (a spicy chili sauce), and fresh vegetables.

Nasi ulam is a popular dish in Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries, where it is often served at special occasions such as weddings and festivals. It is also a popular home-cooked meal, and many families have their own unique recipes that have been passed down through generations.


  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup of grated coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped herbs (a combination of mint, basil, coriander, and lemongrass)
  • 1/4 cup of finely sliced kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/4 cup of finely sliced turmeric leaves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/4 cup of toasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. Once the rice is cooked, set it aside to cool.

  2. Toast the grated coconut and peanuts. To toast the coconut, simply place it in a dry frying pan over medium heat and cook until it is golden brown and fragrant. Remove it from the heat and set it aside. To toast the peanuts, place them in a dry frying pan over medium heat and cook until they are golden brown and fragrant. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.

  3. Finely chop the herbs. Use a sharp knife to finely chop the mint, basil, coriander, and lemongrass. Make sure that the herbs are finely chopped so that they can easily mix with the rice.

  4. Finely slice the kaffir lime leaves and turmeric leaves (if using). Use a sharp knife to remove the stems from the leaves and slice them into thin strips.

  5. Thinly slice the shallots. Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the shallots and slice them into thin rings.

  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled rice, grated coconut, and chopped herbs. Mix well to ensure that the rice is evenly coated with the herbs.

  7. Add the sliced kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaves (if using), shallots, and peanuts to the mixing bowl. Mix well to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

  8. Drizzle the vegetable oil over the rice mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

  9. Serve the nasi ulam with your choice of side dishes, such as grilled fish or chicken, sambal, and fresh vegetables.


Here are some tips to help you make the best Nasi Ulam possible:

  1. Choose fresh and high-quality herbs: The quality and freshness of the herbs will greatly affect the flavor of the dish. Choose fresh herbs and make sure they are free of any wilting or discoloration. If possible, buy the herbs from a reputable source or grow them yourself.

  2. Toast the coconut and peanuts: Toasting the coconut and peanuts will bring out their flavor and aroma. Make sure to toast them until they are golden brown and fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.

  3. Use a sharp knife: When chopping the herbs and slicing the leaves, use a sharp knife to ensure clean cuts and avoid bruising the herbs.

  4. Mix the rice and herbs well: Mix the cooked rice and chopped herbs thoroughly to ensure that the herbs are evenly distributed throughout the rice. This will ensure that every bite has a burst of flavor.

  5. Season the rice well: Be sure to season the rice mixture with salt and pepper to taste. This will enhance the flavor of the herbs and balance out the sweetness of the coconut.

  6. Serve with complementary dishes: Nasi Ulam is often served with grilled fish or chicken, sambal, and fresh vegetables. Choose side dishes that complement the flavors of the Nasi Ulam.

  7. Customize the recipe to your liking: Feel free to customize the recipe to your taste preferences by adding more or less of certain herbs or spices. You can also add other ingredients such as pandan leaves, galangal, or chili flakes to enhance the flavor.

  8. Let the rice cool down: Nasi Ulam is best served at room temperature or slightly warm, so make sure to let the rice mixture cool down before serving.

  9. Store leftovers properly: If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, simply microwave the rice or heat it up in a pan with a little bit of oil.

By following these tips, you can create a delicious and fragrant Nasi Ulam that will impress your family and friends.



Nasi Ulam is a dish made from cooked rice and a variety of fresh herbs and spices, which are typically finely chopped and mixed with the rice. The nutritional content of Nasi Ulam can vary depending on the ingredients used and the portion size. Here are some general guidelines for the nutritional value of Nasi Ulam:

  1. Carbohydrates: The main source of carbohydrates in Nasi Ulam is from the rice. One cup of cooked white rice contains around 45 grams of carbohydrates, while brown rice contains around 52 grams of carbohydrates per cup. The herbs and spices used in Nasi Ulam are typically low in carbohydrates.

  2. Fiber: Brown rice is a good source of fiber, providing around 3.5 grams per cup. Some of the herbs used in Nasi Ulam, such as turmeric and lemongrass, also contain fiber.

  3. Protein: The protein content of Nasi Ulam can vary depending on whether it is served as a side dish or a main dish. If served as a side dish, the protein content is typically low. However, if the dish is made with added meat or seafood, the protein content can increase significantly.

  4. Fat: Nasi Ulam is generally low in fat, as it does not typically contain any added fats or oils. Some recipes may call for the addition of coconut milk or toasted coconut, which would increase the fat content.

  5. Vitamins and minerals: The fresh herbs and spices used in Nasi Ulam are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and iron. The pandan leaf, which is commonly used in Nasi Ulam, is known for its antioxidant properties.

Overall, Nasi Ulam can be a nutritious and flavorful addition to a balanced diet, especially if it is made with whole grain rice and a variety of fresh herbs and spices. However, portion control and the ingredients used should be taken into consideration to ensure that the dish is balanced and provides adequate nutrition.


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