Tell me how…

In my previous post, I mentioned that I bought 1 kilo of buah emplam

Buah emplam

…a very sour fruit from the mango family, at the Sibu Jaya market, the ethnic section. I was grumbling all this while that the price kept going up, from RM10 a kg to RM12.00 and then, it went up to RM14.00. I could not believe my ears when the ladies told me that theirs were going for only RM6.00 a kg. and I wasted no time at all in buying the coveted fruit.

Some may prefer to eat it as an ulam,  raw with sambal belacan or with rojak sauce but in my family, we always use it to make this special sambal buah emplam

Sambal buah emplam
*Mary’s photo on Facebook*

…that goes so well with rice. My friend, Mary, had it as a sambal the first time at our dinner here and she loved it so much. That was why when I made some that day, I gave her some and she was so delighted and she asked me to tell her how to make it.

Well, it is actually so very easy to make the sambal. First and foremost, you would have to peel the fruit…

Buah emplam, peeled

I used to cut it into thin strips and pound a bit to make it just a little mushy so as to get the juices out but I saw my missus doing it using a grater…

Buah emplam, grated

…and that looked a whole lot easier. My missus complains that it can be such a strain on the muscles of the hand especially when the fruit is very small and I would say that I do agree but it was all right when I did it, slowly…one by one.

I added a tablespoon of sugar to counter the extremely sour taste of the fruit (you can add more if you like it sweeter and less sour) and once that was done, I had to get the pounded ingredients…

Pounded ingredients

…ready – chili and belacan (dried prawn paste) and I heard from my cousin that day that the ethnic folks would add a shallot so I decided to give it a try. I would want to add a bit more belacan but that was all there was in the fridge – my missus did get some new stock recently but don’t ask me to go and look for it! I probably would have to take everything out and there is the possibility that even so, I will not be able to find it. Sometimes, she can’t find things she has put away herself and she will ask me if I had thrown it away. Hehehehehehe!!!!

Anyway, other than the aforementioned ingredients, I also pounded a handful of udang kering (dried prawns), pre-soaked to soften, and finally, I added everything to the shredded buah emplam

Add pounded ingredients

…and mixed it altogether thoroughly…

Sambal buah emplam, ready to serve

There you are! It is so very easy, isn’t it? Once you’ve got it done, all that is left for you to do is to sit back and enjoy eating it. Bon apetit!!!

Author: suituapui

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

18 thoughts on “Tell me how…”

  1. Wow, nice to see this done by hand!

    The true blue die-hard connoiseurs would tell you it is much nicer this way. The appliances make life easier but some of the taste is lost.

  2. My mum loves this. Make her own sambal. Shredded. Long time I didnt taste hers; anyway it has been long I did not go back for dinner. Hehe.

    Shredded would be like the Muslim Melanau ladies’, the one I had the other day at the Sg Merah coffee shop. They did not add hay bee either, I think. Not surprised, so very expensive. This is so easy to make, just that lately, the fruit is so expensive. I wonder how much they are selling them in Kuching.

  3. This buah emplam looks like apple mango. Though I have never try this sambal buah emplam before but the look after all the ingredients have been mixed, I can feel it is a very appetising dish.

    Thought the apple mango is apple-shaped? We had a tree once long long ago, smaller than the coconut mango but just as nice. This buah emplam is very very sour but I do like it more than buah kedundong prepared this was, more fragrant and tastier. My missus made some with unripe buah mawang that day – not nice, ok if the fruit had been ripe, nice too.

  4. I love this so much. I can just have this with a bowl of rice. So good la!

    Yes, goes so well with rice but one would have to resist the temptation of going for a second helping of rice. Control! Control! 😀

  5. Wahhh… do from scratch and manually some more… Indeed very appetizing… sour, spicy, sweet, savoury… all in one! Yummsss!

    Want some? Come, come! I make for you. Hehehehehe!!!

  6. A masterclass in Sambal-making! You could actually offer to give cooking classes – a lot of us might have a lot to learn from you!

    Nothing to learn, so simple…and me, old school, just agak-agak, follow my instincts.

  7. Looks really healthy! I do remember seeing the buah emplam back home during the pasar malam, but never gotten round to tasting it. Not a huge fan of mangos, and my body seems to hate it as well. Every time I eat mangoes or fruits from the mango family, I’ll be down with an intense tummy ache.

    Ever considered having a part-time career in cooking (like those folks in MasterChef)? =)

    At 64, no, thanks. Wish I had known when I was younger that I could cook. Probably very rich and successful by now. 😦
    Mango is heaty…like many tropical fruits – durian, rambutans and so on, may fall sick like coming down with a fever or a sore throat…dunno about tummy aches. This is fine, so sour that you can’t eat it on its own, just a little bit at a time…mixed with rice.

  8. This looks so simple and appetisingly delicious. I think my mom makes the same except she uses cucumbers instead of buah emplam as we dont get that here.

    No buah emplam there? You gotta be kidding!!! None at 1 Utama, eh? You can use unripe mango. Cucumber would not come anywhere near this.

  9. I had taken my dinner, but seeing it makes me drooling…

    Come, come! I’ll make for you. 😀

  10. Love those types of mangoes specially when they are nearly ripe, sweet and sour heaven

    Not sure if this variety is sweet when ripe – we eat it this way while still unripe or dipped in rojak sauce/prawn paste. Generally, it is very popular pickled in big glass jars – I guess they do add a bit of sugar so it is a bit sweeter, not like when eating it fresh.

  11. Ooo I’m not sure I’ve ever had buah emplam. When I tried googling it, a post you wrote in 2008 was one of the first things that popped up 😉

    LOL!!! It’s from the mango family, just very very sour and has a strong pungent smell/fragrance.

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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