NASI LERABI (Herbal Rice with Sambal Chilli)

“Nasi” means cooked rice, and “kerabu” means vegetable mixture, so this dish means herbed rice salad. It’s very good, and would make a nice dish for a pot-luck meal or a picnic. The original version can be a little dry, so 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil have been added to keep the salad nice and moist. This dish should be served at room temperature, so enough time should be left for the rice, coconut, and fish to cool down completely before mixing everything together.

Ingredients (main dish):

• 1 Cup fresh grated coconut
• ½ Cup dried fish (ikan bilis)
• 3 Cups cooked rice
• 1 Stalk of lemongrass, very thinly sliced
• 1 Torch ginger bud, very thinly sliced (optional)
• 1 Shallots, very thinly sliced
• Ginger, very thinly sliced (1 inch)
• Galangal, very thinly sliced (½ Inch)
• Fresh turmeric, very thinly sliced, (½ inch) or 1 teaspoon ground
• 1 Bunch of celery leaves
• 1 Bunch of cilantro
• 1 Bunch of mint
• 1 Bunch of watercress
• 10 Kaffir lime leaves
• 4 Tablespoon vegetable oil, plus 2 extra tablespoons for frying
• Salt and black pepper to taste

Method (main dish):

1. Heat a large pan over very low heat. Add the coconut and toast it, stirring constantly, for 20 minutes. It will turn golden brown and dry out.

2. Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in the wok, and add the dried fish. Fry, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool, and then cut into small pieces.

3. Pick the leaves from the stems of the herbs. Roll up the leaves into little bunches, with the lime leaves on the outside. Chop very finely, creating very thin julienned herb strips.

4. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Toss with the vegetable oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with Sambal Belacan.

Ingredients (Sambal Belacan):

• 8–10 Fresh red chillies
• 3 to 4 Cili padi
• 2cm Square piece belacan, flattened to form a flat cake and roasted over burning coals or pan-fried over a gas fire
• Pinch of salt
• 3 Limau kasturi, halved

Method (Sambal Belacan):

1. Pound the chillies, cili padi and roasted belacan together to a fine or coarse consistency depending on the texture of the sambal you prefer (a pestle and mortar is recommended).

2. Add a pinch of salt to the pounded sambal.

3. Dish out into small saucers and add a squeeze of lime juice.