Remembering…

I bought some wild boar meat from the Selangau market a few times but it had a terrible, somewhat offensive smell – some say it was because they added some chemical to keep it looking fresh though I would not know if there was any truth in that. Anyhow, I did not want to buy any from there again but one day, I did see a lady selling some of the meat and it looked really good. That was why I decided to take the chance again and bought some from her.

Wild boar is protected in the state of Sarawak but there is a special clause in the terms and conditions. Despite its status, the ethnic population especially those in the interior are allowed to hunt the animal for their own consumption and they may sell any excess at the market in a nearby town. That is why we can still stumble upon the meat being sold but those locals are actually not very happy with the ruling. They say that the animal is very productive so it would reproduce in large numbers plus they are very destructive, feeding on all their fruits and edible plants.

Anyway, back to the meat that I bought. I just cut a bit to cook and I was so very delighted to find that it was indeed very very good. I shared the photograph on Facebook and of course, that got everyone drooling away including my cousins in Kuching who said they had not had that for a while now. It so happened that they would be coming to Sibu in the not-too-distant future so I said I would cook for them when they came.

That was why I had them over for dinner the other evening and of course, we had the wild boar soup…

Wild boar soup

They loved it so much and praised it to the skies – just like how our maternal grandma and mums and aunties used to cook it and they commented that it sure would not be easy to get to enjoy this anymore as there are not many of us who can cook it “the correct way”.

Well, since I had them come over for dinner, I decided to cook some more of our Melanau family favourites including these giant freshwater prawns in what we call the masak kunyit (cooked with turmeric) style…

Masak kunyit

This is actually a soup dish but since I already had the wild boar soup, I reduced the amount of water added and that was why it was quite dry.

This sayur rebus (boiled vegetables)…

Sayur rebus

…is also a soup dish so I also cut down on the water used in my paku (wild jungle fern) and baby corn combo. This is so very easy to cook and if you do not have those prawns or fish for the stock, a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) will do. I just saved half a dozen of the prawns from the previous dish for this even though I did buy some ikan buris that day as I was saving those for this dish…

Buris

…the fish with serai (lemon grass), daun kesum (Vietnamese mint) aka daun laksa and dill. I’ve cooked it this way before and it was really very nice so I wanted to include that in our menu for the evening for my guests to enjoy. We did have something like this too in our Melanau side of the family before – we called it pa’is, fish or prawns wrapped in banana leaf and cooked over a wood fire or hot burning charcoal or masak kuden – rubbed with salt and slow-cooked dry in some old usually-out-of-shape cooking pot lined with banana leaves over a very very small fire but of course, I had all those herbs and leaves added to mine to bring that taste to a whole new level.

We also had the “tempoyak” from Payung

Payung tempoyak

…and the sio bee from Jakar

Jakar shumai

…that I got from my friend, Annie, that day and I went to the Bandong Ramadan Bazaar to get this bubur pedas

Bubur pedas

…for everyone to enjoy too.

For dessert, we had the Yusof Taiyoob dates

Yusof Taiyoob

…and these delightful bingka durian

Bingka durian

…that my missus would buy come the fasting month every year, also from the same Penyet Bandong stall at the Ramadan bazaar.

They enjoyed the dinner to the max and of course that pleased the “chef” very very much…and by the way, thank you so much, ladies, for coming and for  all the goodies you brought from Kuching for us. We all enjoyed your company very much too – it sure was a delightful get-together and a pleasant walk down memory lane, remembering all those happy times and our culinary favourites in days gone by.

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