Nicely Dressed Fish: Malaysian Fish and Herb Salad

Man, today was hot.

So hot. So hot that I had sweat dripping down my legs while riding in an un-airconditioned EL car on my way home. It definitely looked like I was peeing. Sexy.

I was crabby. What’s taking so long, fall???

ANYWAY, moving on to more important matters…besides the idea for this blog, the other thing that I gained from my trip to the Emerald Isle last September (one year ago! Crazy!) is an appreciation for smoked fish.  Since coming back, I can safely say that I eat smoked salmon at least three times a month, usually on those days when I’m having breakfast for dinner, mixed in with some eggs, peas and a spicy garlic aioli. Yum.

Anyway, I digress.

Given today’s weather and my latest penchant for smoked fish, today’s dish was absolutely perfect: Fish and Herb salad No cooking required.


Fish caught from local waters, notably Indian mackerel, herring and tuna, is a staple in Malaysian cuisine, not surprising given its island status.  Though usually grilled or fried, this recipe uses smoked.

I’ve never really ventured into other types of smoked fish besides salmon. I know they exist, but I guess I never really gave much thought on its uses…smoked mackerel, cod or herring wouldn’t complement my eggs the way salmon does.  I didn’t really know what to do with it. Until now.

Besides the smoked fish that I’ve belabored up above, this salad also contains fragrant jasmine rice, giving the salad some legs and heft.

Despite the other pretty strong players in this dish, I think that this salad is all about the dressing and that is what makes everything else shine. Therefore, you can eat it this salad with or without a protein, with leftover chicken, shrimp or even canned tuna.


Ingredient note:  I will say that I did not smoke my own fish.  While talented and patient in many ways, I do not have a smoker, was not going to buy one, nor did I have the time to smoke this fish from scratch.  Though I was immensely flattered that Yam thought that I did. Thank you, Yam.


Therefore, I used packaged smoked whitefish since the original recipe called for smoked cod.  Check your local grocer for varieties and I’m sure you’ll find something that suits your fancy.

Recipe adapted from The Essential Asian Cookbook

Fish and Herb Salad
Serves 4
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  1. 2 packages (7 ounces or so) smoked whitefish, skinned and finely chopped
  2. ½ cup flaked coconut, toasted
  3. 1 cup jasmine rice, cooked and cooled
  4. ½ cup (about a handful) chopped mint
  5. ½ cup (about a handful) chopped cilantro
  6. Sliced almonds, for crunch
  7. For the dressing
  8. 1 TB chopped cilantro
  9. 2 cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  10. 1 red chili, finely chopped
  11. 1 TB lemon grass, white part only, chopped
  12. 2 TB fresh basil, preferably Thai
  13. 1 avocado, chopped
  14. 1/3 cup lime juice
  15. 2 TB fish sauce
  16. 1 tsp brown sugar
  17. ¼- ½ cup vegetable, coconut or peanut oil (depending on how oily you prefer your dressing)
  1. Place the fish, coconut, rice, mint and cilantro in a large bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
  2. Make the dressing: Throw all the ingredients into the food processor and process until creamy.
  3. Toss the dressing with the rest of the ingredients. Serve and be happy.
Adapted from Chrissy
Adapted from Chrissy
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World
salad ingredients

salad whole

Served with rice crackers.

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