Popular among the Melanau tribe in Sarawak. This dish is deceptively simple and it involves minimal fuss in its preparation. It is usually done by fishermen that is out at sea, and is done because there is no cooking utensils or to avoid any fire from happening with cooking on board the boat. So what they have created here is a dish that is easy to ensemble yet delicious to eat.
One must be warn though, this dish is eaten raw.
Usually the fish must be seriously fresh in order to make this dish.The fish are usually filleted, shredded chillies are added in and so is the shallots and also lime juice.A good plate of umai is then left in the fridge so that the mixtures of ingredients will coexist with each other. It is eaten cold, there is no other way. The recipes varies from one another because it is usually handed out from generation to generation. So there is no right or wrong when preparing this dish and this is the reason why umai is uniquely a Sarawakian dish.
Nowadays, the umai dish has become a staples in posh hotel restaurants and eateries. I feel that something has to be done to introduce this dish to the world so that it is well known. If the Japanese can do it with their sushis and sashimis, why not us?