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Ulam Garden and Nasi Ulam

The Story Behind
16
Jan

Story behind Ulam Garden and Nasi Ulam

Hello all! It’s Tuesday!

Here’s a brief recap of our first post:

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to head into a garden to harvest a variety of herbs and used them all in a common dish?

With that in mind, we embarked on our adventure to build GUI’s first-ever thematic garden, where the herbs and plants grown within this special space have been specially selected so that they could end up being harvested and cooked together to create a flavourful dish, called “nasi _____”! 

Have you managed to guess the name of the dish above? If you have not, no worries because we will be revealing to you the answer now. This dish is none other than… Nasi Ulam!

PC: Mei (our Wonderwoman!)

For a long time, Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) has the intention of setting up a thematic garden with the purpose of creating an environment for learning, discovery and re-establishing the relationship between us, our food and the land which provides it.

Having also the opportunity to savour the nasi ulam dish specially whipped up by our Kampung Architect, Bingyu, and learning from him the rich heritage values this dish has to offer, this planted the seed for us to embark on building the Ulam Garden right in the Kampung Kampus.

Nasi Ulam is a classic Malay and Peranakan dish1, where the Peranakans often prepare this cuisine on special events such as the Lunar New Year or birthday occasions2. This dish requires cooked white rice to be mixed with a variety of finely-chopped herbs. These herbs can be commonly found in South East Asia and are suitable to be grown in the Singapore climate. (Note: It is important to let the rice cool down first before tossing it with the herbs because the heat from the rice can cause the herbs to turn slightly bitter2.)

As this dish can come in many variations, where the herbs used often vary from culture to culture, household to household, we have decided to shortlist the following essential herbs to be planted in our Ulam Garden:

(PC: Si Jing)

If you would like to prepare this dish at home, you may make reference to this recipe found on The Straits Time.

Remember, you do not have to follow closely to the recipe! Feel free to experiment with the herbs and spices that you have access to and customise a plate of nasi ulam to suit your palate. Enjoy!

Thank you for taking the time to read and here’s wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

We will be uploading a new post once every two weeks on Tuesday. Do stay tuned to our very next post (30 January) where we will share with you how we build this garden! 

Please take note:

Ulam Garden is currently not open to the public.

However, if your organisation or company is interested to organise a team-bonding programme where the staff get to visit the Ulam Garden, personally harvest the herbs required, and cook up a delicious plate of nasi ulam together, you are most welcome to contact us here.

If you are interested to volunteer with GUI, we will be very grateful to have you! You can reach out to us here.

For more information on GUI, feel free to explore GUI’s website!

Hope to see you around in the Kampung Kampus!

 

References
1 Vasu, S. (2016). Nasi Ulam. National Library Board Singapore. Retrieved from Singapore Infopedia.
2 Tan, R.L. (2017, May 28). A recipe for nasi ulam, a Malay herb rice salad. The Straits Time. Retrieved from The Straits Time.

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