Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sarawak Black Pepper Raw Fish Salad (Umai)


250 gram freshly caught fish (sliced finely)
l tsp salt
8 limes = take the juice
2 stalks of lemon grass (sliced finely)
2 Tbsp finely ground Sarawak Black Pepper

10 small red onions (very finely sliced)
2 stalks of spring onions (sliced)
2 pips of garlic (finely pounded)
1 inch fresh ginger, finely sliced
a bunch of lettuce


1. More lime juice from about 4 limes
2. Lemon juice from l lemon
3. a few drops of fish gravy
4. l Tbsp sesame oil/olive oil
5. more black pepper to taste


1. Clean and finely slice the fish in matchstick size and make sure there is no bone left.
2. Marinade in a little salt, pepper and juice of limes for about an hour in the fridge. Give the fish slice a few squeezes.
3. Before serving, drain away the marinade.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Add the dressing. Add a bit of sugar if desired.
5. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

This dish is an acquired taste as the fish is raw but well marinated with lime juice. It is a bit like shasimi.

Umai is a part of normal buffet lunch in any hotel in Malaysia and especially in Sarawak. The favourite fish used would be Malaysian mackeral (tenggiri), white pomfret (ikan duai) and occasionally marlin. Fresh water fish is not used for this dish. Cod can be used but many Asians would find cod oily.

This recipe is good enough for 4 people.

Try it to find out!

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