This is how it goes…

My blogger-friend from Brunei went to Kuching and the tempoyak (fermented durian) pork that he had swept him off his feet and he kept asking me about it. Pork? All I knew was that in the peninsula, they would cook fish with it, patin or keli usually, and on my part, I would prefer prawns, done in our very simple kampung-style.

He was also asking how tempoyak was made…which is, in fact, very simple and I said simple, not easy as it would be quite a chore opening the durians and removing the flesh from each seed and you may need to use a whole lot of durians just to get one little pot of the coveted stuff. Add salt, according to taste, and when the fermentation is taking place, it will “sweat” or in other words, there will be moisture/water coming out and that would have to be drained and poured away regularly. When you see “holes” in it, like those underground passageways made by ants or whatever, the tempoyak is done and you can put it away in the fridge for use as and when the occasion arises.

I tried cooking pork with it the other day and not knowing how it would be done, I just went about it my own way. These were the ingredients I used…


– sliced shallot and chili, a bit of belacan (dried prawn paste) and some ikan bilis (dried anchovies). serai (lemon grass) crushed at the end, a sprig of curry leaves, a teaspoon of sugar and of course, some tempoyak.

I fried the shallot and ikan bilis in a little bit of oil till golden brown before throwing in the serai and chili…


…and the tempoyak – two tablespoons of the stuff…


I mixed it thoroughly with the aforementioned ingredients and added a bit of water to dilute the stuff and to get a little bit of thick gravy.

Next, I put in the pork, sliced thinly…


…and added water as and when necessary as the gravy would thicken and dry up very quickly.

Finally, the curry leaves went in…


…to give the dish that extra fragrance and also the one teaspoon of sugar to counter the slightly sourish fermented taste of the tempoyak.

When the pork was done, I dished it all out onto a plate…


…and served.

So was it any good? I would most certainly say it was. We had that for dinner that day and my missus and I finished all of it…


…in just one sitting. It was very fragrant and tasty and the gravy went absolutely well with rice.Β Now that I know for sure that it would work out pretty well – the way I did it, I certainly would want to cook it this way again…and perhaps the next time around, I’ll try chicken for a change.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

21 thoughts on “This is how it goes…”

  1. Oh only small amount needed? Seems like the dish is perfect spooned over rice πŸ˜€

    Yes, it was so so so good with rice. I only cooked a little bit of meat, so no need for a lot of tempoyak.

  2. Your friend would be happy seeing this tempoyak!!

    Hopefully, he’ll give it a try. Really very nice. Next time, I’ll try to cook my tempoyak prawns this way – creamer, not as soupy. See nicer or not.

  3. ooo, u’re right, i don’t recall ever having had tempoyak with pork as a savory dish before … only with fish and with prawns, but i guess that’s not surprising, since we usually only find tempoyak in muslim restaurants. your recipe looks tasty. hmmm, i wonder if tempoyak with half-boiled eggs would also be nice πŸ˜€

    Maybe good with hardboiled…like those curry or assam eggs at the Malay stalls or fried in omelette. May give it a try one of these days.

  4. Though I am a great fan of durian, still there is a NO!!!…NO!!!..tempoyak for me. But at second look of this dish it kinda looks delish.

    You’ll be surprised. The whole house was filled with the stink…but when eating, no smell at all – no strong tempoyak or durian smell…just a combination of all the flavours, so very very nice.

    You’ll never know unless you try…but never mind, no need. If you happen to get hold of any tempoyak from anybody, just send to me. I’ll enjoy on your behalf and say thank you very much!

  5. Homecooked food is always the best!! Quality ingredients added that add aroma to the dish… yummss!

    That goes without saying! Those places outside can all take a back seat…except maybe Payung. Hehehehehe!!!!!

  6. I bet it must be very fragrant with those spices and ingredients used.

    VERY!!! We loved it so much! Didn’t dare to cook a lot as I was not too sure how it would turn out. Next time around, I certainly would cook more!

  7. Different style to cook tempoyak. Hehe.

    I’ve two now – this one’s creamy with thick gravy and the other one’s soupy. Do you cook with tempoyak? Come, share the recipe. Would love to try.

  8. urgh, tempoyak again?? no thank you again~~ :p

    If you love Thai, you’ll be fine with this – slightly milder…but I guess you’re into stuff a lot milder, like Japanese…or western.You can jolly well guess why my missus is not into these cuisines – same reason as to why you do not like what we like.

  9. Wow…you are such a good cook ! The pork dish look delicious.
    Usually, my mum will cook green bean soup with durian fleshes and gula melaka. Oooo…love it.

    Now that’s something I’ve never tried. Should be something like cendol with durian. Nice!!!

  10. i can’t recall if i have ever eaten tempoyak before. i did remember taking a sniff and disliked it! πŸ˜› but this, i’d risk my taste bud and have a taste XD looks like zhuchar pork which goes well with rice πŸ˜€

    Dunno what is zhuchar pork. Like I told SK, if you like Thai food, you will surely love this – along those same lines, not as strong as Thai cuisine but just as good.

  11. Aiyooo…no durian and no tempoyak for me please. But your tempoyak pork look delish!!

    Wait! Wait till you come come and I’ll cook for you. I’m sure you will ask me for more. Hehehehehe!!!!

  12. How interesting! It doesn’t seem too hard and with the glut of durians nowadays (RM 10 for 8) I’m interested in giving this a gander.

    How do you make sure it’s fermenting and not actually spoiling? Haha! I know fermentation is technically “slow spoilage” too but you know what I mean.

    It is spoiling, aka fermenting…like salted fish – the “long” type is actually rotten fish and ooooo….I love that so much! Absolutely yummy!!! With tempoyak, you must drain away the water that seeps out every day…as many times as necessary or it may turn out overly sour and will not be nice.

  13. Wow! Gulai Tempoyak Ikan Patin with cucumber! Awesome. Rindu Pahang.

    I would prefer prawns, not a fan of fish in soup gravy – the bones…and will hancur very easily if reheated.

  14. sedap tu…..So far only had ikan patin tempoyak. never had it with other type of seafood or meat

    Come to Sibu, I’ll cook prawns. There’ll be no looking back, I assure you! πŸ˜‰

  15. Oh, I must try that tempoyak pork! The last time I made tempoyak (based on your earlier advice), I put too much salt. But nevertheless it was good. Will make some more when I get my hands on some durians πŸ™‚

    Yes, once I got some from my friend, Jimmy, I think…also too salty. Must not add so much salt.

  16. Interesting recipe! I will certainly try it out very soon. Saw tempoyak lurking at the pasar malam recently πŸ˜€

    We have tempoyak sold at the wet market too…but not too sure how clean and very often, sour so I would rather not buy.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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