You think I don’t know…

There is a new coffee shop in town selling authentic ethnic (Iban) cuisine, two or three doors away from the one that I usually frequent.

It has been around for a while now but I never did stop by to check the place out as parking is a pain all along that road (Jalan Maju) plus I was not all that keen on going here and there during the pandemic. I finally got down to it the other day and bought two of their vegetable dishes to take home and try.

The ladies said they came from Kapit (the one at that other place is from Durin) but no, I did not see any babi hutan (wild boar), just some pansoh ayam (chicken cooked in bamboo) but I was not keen on that as they usually use those old mother hens that are somewhat tough and may have an offensive smell. Even if they had wild boar, I would not want to buy as word had it that the ones from Indonesia were the carriers of the recent ASF (Asian Swine Flu) outbreak here.

Yes, we enjoyed the daun ubi (tapioca leaves) or what they call daun empasak or what we call daun bandong (that’s probably Melanau)…

This is a very easy dish to cook. You take the leaves…

…(remove the stalks) and pound or blend them before frying them with pounded ginger, ikan bilis (dried anchovies), serai (lemon grass) and add salt and msg (or ikan bilis stock cube) according to taste. I did blog about cooking it here, with pumpkin added.

Some people will tell you to just gosok (like what you do when scrubbing clothes on a washboard but I do not like it that way as these leaves can be quite a chore to chew and doing it this way is not enough and may take away some of the enjoyment of eating them.

One thing to remember is that these leaves must be cooked really really well. When we had them here

…I did not like what we were served because it tasted somewhat green, like it was raw or not cooked enough. According to this website, for instance, cassava (tapioca) are high in hydrocyanic acid which is poisonous, but when cooked the acid disappears… and be sure to discard the water the leaves are boiled in. Cassava or yuca leaves must be cooked for at least 10 minutes.

Thankfully, the one I bought from this “new” place was nicely done and we did enjoy it even though I do think they do it better at that old place.

I also bought this…

…that day but it was a let-down! It was in a covered glass casserole so I could not see what it was. I asked the ladies and they said it was daun kasam, pickled or preserved vegetables so I asked if it was ensabi (a very bitter vegetable that I do enjoy very much. You can find it at the jungle produce market – I don’t think anybody sells it in the regular vegetable section at the wet market) and they said yes.

When I got home, I found that it was kangkong (water spinach). Well, it did not matter that much that it wasn’t ensabi but it was EXTREMELY salty and the stalks were quite impossible to chew. I sure did not enjoy it and ended up throwing most of it away. Next time, if it is kasam ensabi that I want, I shall just go to that old place a few doors away down the road. All this while, when I bought things from there, they never told me anything was something when it wasn’t – don’t think that I don’t know these things!