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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Kelantan salads (ulam)

Kelantan is very special when it comes to eating raw vegetables which are called ulam. Most people in Kelantan eat ulam daily and at every meal, whereas Malaysians in other states do not take vegetables daily or regularly. It pays to take a close look at why Kelantan people like to eat vegetables.

Today, 30 October 2011, my husband and I went to visit some fresh markets in Pulau Melaka and Binjai after work. It was drizzling which made the weather cool and I enjoyed my time out visiting the vegetable stalls and asking the stall owners. It feels good to talk to them as they are knowledgeable about the vegetables they sell.

Here are some interesting raw vegetables and salad greens or ulam in Kelantan.


Clockwise starting at 6 o'clock: Ulam for making nasi air/nasi bubur, tied bunches of praddee (looks like dandelion) and ulam pegaga 

The fruits are pauh ringan (small green unripe manggo) for making preserved manggo or shredded to make kerabu mangga, an appetizer. At the top are tied bunches of bendih (lady's fingers). At right are daun selom (top right) and praddee (Thai, bottom right) 

Back row from left: Kacang botol (four-angled bean), peria (bittergourd), jering, dried fish and limes in blue tray, and terung (small brinjals for ulam). Middle row: Medium terung, timun susu (young small cucumber for making jerkin) and praddee. Front row: Packaged blocks of ubi kayu - ready to boil, bunches of bendih (lady's finger) and daun selom. 

At left: Packs of small red cili padi (fiery hot chilies) for eating raw with budu or pounded/blended to make sambal. Foreground: Bunches of kacang botol. At the top are peria (the normal bittergourd) 

Bunga kunyit is actually flowers or florets from the temu lawak plant. Temu lawak resembles kunyit (tumeric) and smells of kunyit but it is used as a salad, ie eaten raw. This is the flower/florets from the temu lawak plant, and bunga kunyit is a misnomer but the flowers/florets are fragrant and smell like tumeric. These flowers/florets are edible and best eaten raw. Better still when the florets haven't fully bloomed. You eat the whole thing, including the white stems. They are really fresh and wonderful to eat raw. Just ask for "bunga kunyit" the next time you go to the market. They sell for RM2/bunch of 3 flowers/florets. 

Daun selom. From my first-year botany class, I think this is an ancient plant. It grows well in water and has a hollow stem. It is eaten raw and is crunchy. 

Daun serai kayu. These are fragrant leaves from quite a big tree. The leaves are shiny, waxy and have a thick look. They are actually paper-thin and feather-light leaves. They are shredded raw and used for making nasi kerabu etc. 

Ulam Raja. This is the most expensive salad or ulam. History has it that this salad was once served only for kings and normal people cannot take this salad. Nowadays, everybody is allowed to eat this salad. The plant resembles the poppy plant and has small golden flowers. It grows wild in sandy soil and only needs occasional watering. It propagates by seeds which are dispersed from the dried poppy flowers.

Praddee. This is a Siamese salad. The entire plant can be eaten (minus the roots), including the thick stems. It is crisp and eaten raw but can be cooked. It has short white roots and leaves of different shapes. It had small clusters of green flowers. This is a unique plant and I have never seen this plant before. It costs RM1/bunch. It is available from a stall at the Binjai junction. 

Fresh Kelantan salad/ulam 

Boiled Kelantan salad/ulam 

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