Conceptualised and commissioned by Dato’ Mak Kok, Executive Chairman of MAKOK Group of Companies, the book written by Dr W.E. Wan Hassan and photographed by Mustaffa Mahmood, contains 253 pages cataloguing the salad herbs, its properties and preparation techniques.
Speaking at the launch of the book today, Mak Choong Moon, CEO of MASBE Group said that, “Ulam is quintessentially a part of not just Malay, but Malaysian culture, and apart from making the book an enjoyable read, my father, Dato’ Mak Kok, also envisioned the book to inspire the rediscovery of a healthy food source in the midst of today fast food lifestyle”.
The idea behind the book started with the simple love of ulam by Dato’ Mak Kok, who felt that today’s youth have all but forgotten that this is an integral part of Malaysian culinary culture. He believed that the book ‘Ulam - Salad Herbs of Malaysia’ would be his way of sharing his passion for the simplicity yet delicious and nutritional benefits of ulam.
The book further demonstrates the values of ulam and its essential nutrients that are required for our body as they function on a daily basis. Species such as the Rose Cactus also known as ‘Jarum Bintang Tujuh’ in Bahasa Malaysia, is mostly grown in gardens as an ornamental plant for its flowers but not many are aware that it is edible and is well known among traditional healers for treating cancer related diseases.
The content of the book include specific nutritive values of the salad herbs eaten as ulam, analysed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, together with precise description as well as pictures with their botanical names including its Bahasa Malaysia, English and Chinese equivalents.
“There is no price tag to this book, as it is my family’s desire to share it with our younger generation, culinary enthusiasts and anyone with an interest to get a little closer to appreciating the oneness of Malaysians through food,” said Mak.
10,000 copies of the hard covered books have been printed and will be distributed to culinary schools, secondary schools, libraries and even tourists touch points across the country.
Meanwhile, Mak also announced the establishments of a special fund under the MAKOK Group that will roll out a nationwide tuition initiative next year that seeks to assist needy students pass English Language subjects in both PMR and UPSR exams.
“In the long run we feel that with a stronger command of the language, we will build character and confidence thus building a better tomorrow for young Malaysians,”
Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in throwing support for this initiative, explained that the MCA was equally keen to see better results in English Language papers, especially amongst students outside of main cities.
The MCA will support this special effort by the MAKOK Group by assimilating these pre-exam programmes through our MCA machinery at the state level nationwide.
“This is corporate consciousness that we at MCA are proud to be associated with, more so that this special needs assistance is being provided to all needy students regardless of race or religion,” he said.