Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let's try Umai Sarawak (Sarawak Raw Fish Salad)

Umai (Sarawak raw fish salad)

Servings for 4 pax

Umai is a raw fish salad popular among various ethnic groups of Sarawak, especially the Melanaus. In fact, umai is a traditional working lunch for the Melanau fishermen.

Umai is prepared raw from freshly caught fish, iced but not frozen. Main species used include Mackerel, Bawal Hitam and Umpirang.

It is made mainly of thin slivers of raw fish, thinly sliced onions, chilli, salt and the juice of sour fruits like lime or assam. It is usually accompanied by a bowl of toasted sago pearls instead of rice. Its simplicity makes it a cinch for fishermen to prepare it aboard their boats


500 g white fish fillet
10 baby limequats, juice
5 shallots
10 mild red cayenne chillies
7 cm piece fresh ginger
salt and milled pepper

1. Slice the Mackerel fillet thinly and keep dry with a piece of cloth.
2. Marinate with the lime juice for 4 - 5 hours.
3. Drain off the lime juice and toss with blended ingredients.
Then, add in local lime juice and mix well (if local lime is not available, substitute with ordinary lime juice).
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

My father is very good in cooking Malay dishes. Umai is his favourite and he is really good in doing this. According to him, we can use various type of fish. Even you can use prawn instead of fish if you wish. Good Luck!

Manok Pansuh receipe

Recently, Hazriq a.k.a John asked me how to make Manok Pansoh dish. So here is the receipe for it.

This is a Sarawakian recipe.


1kg meaty chicken pieces
1 local brinjal, skinned and cut into wedges
1-2 lemongrass, bruised
20g bungkang leaves (can substitute with daun salam or dried bay leaves)
20g ginger, sliced
10g red chilies, seeded and sliced
1 tsp salt
Bamboo log
Tapioca leaves or banana leaf

Combine all the ingredients, except the last two, in a mixing bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Stuff into the bamboo log and seal with the tapioca leaves of banana leaf.
Cook the chicken by standing the bamboo log sealed side up, over burning wood or charcoal, for 30 minutes.
To serve, remove the tapioca/banana leaf and drain the tasty juice into a bowl. Split the bamboo to extract the chicken and arrange on a serving dish with the juice.

Good Luck!