Welcome to the jungle…

My uncle and his family and everybody who came that day drove all the way from Kuching and like what I used to do before here and also here, they stopped by the little bazaars and towns along the way and by the time they reached Sibu, they had already bought quite a lot of stuff including things that came from our jungle where they grow wild and are sold by some ethnic women at those places, and are not that easily available in the big towns and cities in the state.

He gave me this durian mantak (unripened durian)…

Durian mantak

…to cook for my mum. I’ve cooked a more complicated version here once but my mum prefers it simple so this time around, I did it the way she likes it.

It is actually very easy. All you have to do is to remove the seeds and cut the flesh into bite-size chunks…

Seeds removed

My mum does not like it cut too small so that explains the rather big size of the pieces ready to be cooked.

To start off, you need to cook the stock. Just boil some water in which you put these ingredients…


– a bit of belacan (dried prawn paste), a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and chili. Simmer awhile to let the flavours come out of the ingredients before putting in the durian chunks.

Bring it back to boil and let it simmer for sometime and soon, it…

Durian mantak rebus

…is ready to be served, no added salt and no msg required.

My uncle also brought me these seeds…

Buah pelajo

…that are actually the kernel of what we call buah pelajo here. Probably that is in Melanau or Sarawak Malay for it appears that some people know them as melinjoΒ or maybe that is in the national language. There are quite a lot of differences between the two, like for instance, we call an aeroplane bilun here but that is a balloon to them and their plane is kapal terbang, literally translated as flying ship.

I also cooked these in a similar way, what we call our sayur rebus (boiled vegetables) in our ethnic Melanau kampung-style cooking. As in the above with the durian mantak, I had the belacan and the chili but this time around, I had left out the ikan bilis as I had some prawns…

Udang galah

…and wanted to use those instead.

What I did was, I boiled the belacan and the chili for the stock before adding the seeds, leaving it to boil for a while before I added the prawns. I brought it back to boil and let it simmer some more to bring out the taste and sweetness of the crustaceans. Then I added some baby corn…

Paku & baby corn

…and added a pinch of salt since I did not use a lot of belacan nor did I add any ikan bilis so it would not be salty enough. When everything was almost done, I dropped in the paku (wild jungle fern) and turned off the heat the instant the soup started boiling again. Do not leave the paku to boil in the soup too long as it will become discoloured and will not look nor taste as nice.

This soup is best served piping hot…

Sayur rebus buah pelajo with paku, jagung & prawns

…and goes absolutely well with rice and yes, it is msg-free.

Since it is not easy to get those seeds, we would have to do without those usually but we can cook a lot of other things this same way and it will taste just as great.

Author: suituapui

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

17 thoughts on “Welcome to the jungle…”

  1. So nice it is msg free! πŸ™‚

    I hardly use msg anymore in my cooking…but it makes me extra-sensitive to it when I eat out. Current articles, however, seem to claim that it is harmless though but it’s sodium and like salt, it is best to cut down on it – everything in moderation. For one thing, it is expensive so with our frail economy, this is one thing I can save a bit on.

  2. durian with belacan, ikan bilis and cili … now that’s an unusual combo! πŸ™‚

    Only with unripe durians…or the fermented ones (tempoyak) with lemon grass added, minus the ikan bilis – I cook my tempoyak prawns this way. I guess people use the ripe ones for cake and desserts and for dodol…and the other day, I saw people eating bubur durian at a Malay shop here – did not try as I only saw it after I had had my lunch, too full already. There is also samui, the Melanau way of eating ripe durian tossed with pork lard and sagu’ (sago pellets). Many in my family love this, not me.

    Lots of the ethnic stuff here that you have never come across…and the Sibu Chinese delights too. No plans to hop over sometime?

  3. Very informative post, i’ve never tried unripened durian before but the durian flavor should not be strong and the flesh should not be sweet right?

    Not as strong nor as sweet as the ripe fruit and the flesh has a nice soft bite to it, not so mushy – the texture is something like breadfruit or tapioca. I wouldn’t have liked it very much if it had been like the ripe ones.

  4. I never buy msg before and never used it if i cook and i also hardly cook…

    Good for you but watch out for it outside. Some places use a lot of it, especially at Chinese restaurants. That is why the after-effects of msg that some people seem to suffer from is known as the Chinese restaurant syndrome. Will have to tell them to cut down or leave it out altogether.

  5. Oh dear, durian – I can almost smell it through the screen! πŸ˜‰

    No worries. These unripe ones do not have such a strong smell – plus being unripe, there is that slight “green’ smell. You’ve been around here long enough, I’m sure. Still would not touch durian with a 10-foot pole? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  6. Sayur rebus looks good. I still prefer to eat durian on its own.

    I’m the opposite. Not a fan of durian – will eat if somebody gives me but will not go out to buy. But I love durian cakes and desserts…and tempoyak and tempoyak dishes such as my tempoyak prawns and this durian mantak rebus is so nice! Different story with the buah pakan/pakon – the yellow/orange wild durian. My missus’ favourite – she will surely buy if she sees any as she enjoys those so much.

  7. Very interesting. All this is completely new to me.

    …and to many other people, I’m sure even those around here. More commonly known among the ethnic groups, the kampung people. I think many town Chinese here would not know of all these as well with a few exceptions, like us.

  8. The durian looks lovely!

    I’ve never had unripe durian like this before. I was in Kapit yesterday and the day before for some work and bought some durians from there. It’s the jungle durian with the orange flesh, very nice, tastes like nangka and there’s not a lot of meat but it’s really good. Surprisingly more expensive than regular durians too.

    It doesn’t have the strong smell and taste of regular durians so some say it’s better for people who don’t like durians.

    That’s buak pakon or pakan, the wild durian. We love those – and we would buy to eat, something we would not do when it comes to the regular durians. Yes, the taste and smell is milder and we love the texture of the flesh, not so mushy like the regulars. I guess they are coming out now – seen a few around but they were too expensive. The sellers told me once that they would only come out full swing once the durian season ends.

  9. Flying ship, that’s epic, guess is like last time they build the kapal first, but then later on is plane, so just carry forward to kapal terbang.

    We call it bilun, pronounced bay-lone, and don’t ask me what the word for backside/butt in Sarawak Malay here is. Same as in Indonesian but in the national language, the word is rather vulgar. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  10. Wow….I Love to try your homecooked dishes above!! I like your jungle dishes… hahahaha… without msg or heavy flavoured sauce.. that is what I need at my age now… I wonder how the unripe durian taste like with belacan and all…very unique.. !

    If you ever come here again, and if I can get hold of any, I’d cook some for you. If you could eat sago worms, this would not be a problem at all. πŸ˜‰

  11. These two dishes are new to me. Very interesting that unripe durian can be cooked like that and enjoyed. I never knew that!

    Should you come across any, don’t throw it all away. Give it a try, cook it! I am sure you would love it!

  12. That is a very interesting dish. The unripened durian dish. Wonder if I can do the same with the durians here? William’s dad sometimes brings home unripened durians from his orchard. We usually just disposed it off. Such a waste.

    Oh dear!!! What a waste!!! You can try though I am not sure about the belacan over there – it is not as fragrant and it is very salty, not like our Bintulu ones so it would be best to just add a bit first and put in more if you taste and feel that it needs more. Or you can courier them over to me – so hard to get the unripe ones here in town. 😦

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 sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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