This dish is attributed to the cooks of Kelantan in  Malaysia. The blue nuance is attributed to the Nyonya and their experimentation with most things culinary.

  • 6 - 8 cups cooked rice . Cooked in the blue extract of the **Clitoria ternatea dried flowers. This produces the classic blue rice of this dish.
Kerabu :
  • 3 medium fish (traditionally mackerel), grilled and flaked
  • 8 shallots
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) ginger
  • 250g (say 8 ¾ oz) grated coconut to make *kerisik. (toasted coconut)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 litre (4 cups) coconut milk
  • 10 dried chillies, soak in hot water discard seeds
  • 8 shallots
  • 2 slices asam keping (the dried fruit of Garcinia atroviridis). Subst sour tamarind
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, crushed slightly
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Garnish :
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 6 sprigs polygonum leaves (laksa leaf/Vietnam coriander), sliced finely
  • 6 long beans, sliced finely
  • 2 lemongrass bulbs, sliced finely
  • 6 sprigs Thai basil leaves, sliced finely
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Fish Sauce.
  • 5 bird's eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced in segments
  1. To make the kerisik, toast the grated coconut in a dry pan, over low heat while stirring constantly until it turns golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. Blend the ginger and shallots together until fine either with a processor or a mortar and pestle. Add the flaked fish, blended ingredients, and kerisik in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and sugar and place in a serving dish.
  1. Homogenise the chillies and shallots together  with a processor or a mortar and pestle. Put the blended spices with coconut milk, asam keping/tamarind and lemongrass into a pot and bring to simmer. Add salt and sugar to taste and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer to a serving bowl.   
  1. Arrange all the sliced ingredients onto a serving platter. In a separate bowl put the Fish Sauce and sliced bird's eye chillies with lime wedges on the side.   

On the rice place a generous amount of kerabu plus some torn polygonum leaves and other solid garnishes. Sprinkle the fish sauce and mix these additions with the rice together. Serve as a side dish to a mains.

*Kerisik is available pre-prepared in cellophane bags. Please check the use by date as this has a slight natural oil component and can go off if out of date. You can quickly revitalise the kerisik if you like by gently heating the contents in an open pan with continuous stirring until heated through. Don't allow much further development of colour.

**Clitoria ternatea is a perennial herbaceous plant. Its leaves are elliptic and obtuse. It grows as a vine or creeper,
 with the striking feature of its vivid deep blue flowers which are about 4 cm long by 3 cm wide.
The flowers are used to colour food. In Malay cooking, an aqueous extract is used to colour glutinous rice. Wikipedia

Clitoria ternatea