Urap is a kind of salad – Malay salad, sort of. It is made from grated coconut, spiced up with onions, dried prawns, cekur roots, chillies, lemon juice and to which bean sprouts, long beans, cekur leaves and cabbage are added.
Urap is taken as an appetiser or as a side dish accompanying a rice meal. That it is tangy helps it to do its job splendidly. It will entice you to continue eating at least until you have finished whatever food you have on your plate. And that, I think is a good thing.
Urap is a must in nasi ambeng. So what is nasi ambeng? It is a kind of celebratory dish. People used to prepare it for certain functions before. But currently, when variety tempts and influences, it has become as readily available as nasi rawon or nasi jenganan. Any way, what would nasi ambeng be without urap? Nasi campur, I guess.
The older generation is very much into urap. No surprise here. If you belong to my generation, then you would know what I mean.
But if you belong to the younger generation, then I suppose you would go like … ‘Huh! What is it?”
Salad would be that assortment of veg that goes with Thousand Island Dressing. I suppose some of us fail to acquaint our young with our traditional salad. Heh … heh … Confession time … confession time … I am one of them.
I suppose this post is an attempt to make up for the oversight.
Food categorised as kampung dishes usually are vegetable-based. Fresh, off the garden pot or vegetable stalls, the dishes tend to be simple. But do not be deceived. The dishes, as simple as they may be are rich with the goodness that comes from all things fresh. And sayur asem would be a good example of that bowl of kampung goodness.
I love sayur asem. You can put almost any veg into it. But the usual veg would be corn, long beans, belinjau leaves or brinjal, if you must. Together with sambal terasi, sayur asem can be depended on to please any taste bud. It takes two to tango they say. I think sayur asem and sambal terasi do tango well together. There two are simply made for each other. Am I going overboard here? Heh … heh … You know they do!
Would kampung dishes be all veg only? Of course not. There is always fried chicken, marinated in herbs to help make the food more agreeable. Trust me on this. In taste, ayam kampung has a leg up over other chicken!
Urap and sayur asem would definitely get the thumbs-up from healthy food enthusiasts. After all these dishes are not only fresh but infused with a lot of natural goodness. And aren’t those what we look for in our food?