September 6, 2009

Breakfast before going up the river?

This is the pulor fruit which you can get easily in the rural parts of Sarawak or buy in a native market.

Often eaten when it is still young and very easy to slice it is a good food when there is nothing much else to be had. In fact it can be considered by many as a delicacy as it is only once a year kind of fruit for the Ibans in Limbang division in particular.

There are of course many ways of cooking it. The best is still by boiling without any oil. Throw in freshly cut pieces of the fruit (one fruit is enough for the whole family of six)into hot boiling water. Blanch for a while and then throw away the hot water. Now cook ikan bilis with some chillies and some salt and pepper untilthe water is boiling hot. Throw in the pieces of blanched pulor and cook until water is only a third of its original amount left. The gentle tasting fresh fruit is nice with hot fresh newly harvested rice. You can cook it Malay style with santan. You can curry it too. And you can add it to chicken and make a thick curry.

When visiting a longhouse one can be really well fed. The gracious Iban host is like a Kurd host "who believes that a guest will bring ten blessings. He will eat one and leave nine behind." Usually he will make sure that his family will cook good food for his visitors. If it is a large group of people coming to visit the longhouse the whole community will bring and share their food with the visitors. This is kind of hospitality is really incredible to some foreigners.

Here is an example of a simple longhouse breakfast. An early morning meal consisting of this dish and rice will give you the energy to go far up the ulu by river. In the longhouse before one goes to the farm or hunting or just having a leisurely trip to see the old place one can just start the morning by plucking a pulor from the tree growing nearby for breakfast. That would be the exact idea for some of us ..and the pulor is free and the cooking is easy. Free and cannot have a better deal.

A fairly good trip one can make is to the once pristine Lanau Pantu of Ulu Limbang. Much of its beauty is all gone but you can still see some bits and pieces of the old Limbang river valley and some of the recognisable abandoned longhouse temuda. If you are accompanied by a few of your friends and relatives they would tell you their beloved stories of how one durian tree gave more than 10 years of good fruits and another dabai tree gave fruits to several generations of his family.

When men and nature are part of the circle of life God's presence is felt.

Pluck a young pulor from the tree for breakfast.

slice the top off and see the "latex" flowing out.

Trim the green skin off the fruit. You see a beautiful lacy and open cut design.

Cut the fruit longitudinally.

Make smaller slices.

First blanch and then boil again.

Serve small bowls of the pulor soup with freshly cooked rice.

This breakfast is good enough to help you through several hours. And for lunch who knows you can catch a fish (in the old days it would definitely be semah or some prawns when the water was good and no timber man had set foot on the river bend).

Many years ago my children were lucky to be part of a pleasure trip that ended up with a big catch of a wild boar....the dog and gun had a share too of the game by longhouse terms and conditions. (More about this later) this is how lucky one can be with nature that is still in its original state.

But for now free fruits like pulor will just be adequate.



Ah Ngao said...

it looks like buah sukung.must be very filling and can last you till noon?

Daniel Yiek said...

Have seen it many times but ahve never tried this Buah Puloh (Malay) or Buah Tupang (Melanau) before.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao
This really looks like buah sukun. You are right. It is the same family. Pulor is the Iban word. And I think the Malays in Miri use this word too. It may be differently called in Kuching and Sri Aman. This is a nice breakfast actually with rice...The soup is very tasty because of the ikan salai or bilis. And without oil it is a frugal dish but healthy.
Any one trying it for the first time might be deterred by the latex. But don't think "rubber".

The seeds are similar to buah chempedak seeds which we Chinese eat all the time.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Daniel
Nice to see you! How are you? Like wise I have seen it many many times over the years in Sibu and Miri. But had a chance to have it as a special breakfast only very recently. According to a nuitritionist friend it is full of fibre and as all seeds are healthy food we can eat a lot of it. (think pine seeds and melon seeds) .Vegetarians also say that it is a very proper and non contaminated food. So now we have quite a modern approach to jungle fruit like this. No wonder some of the ulu folks live up to 100!!
Thanks for the Melanau word. I love the different lexicals here in Sarawak.
Wishing you happy days in S'pore.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sarawakiana for posting about this little fruit which is quite a favourite of the ulu boys. We had nothing much to eat when we had to fend for ourselves when travelling home from boarding school ten or fifteen years during the right season this fruit was there for us to cook lunch and then also dinner and we could also chew wild fruits...until we reached our long house the next day....We knew of no fear from man or animal.

What a life it it is fear from timber trucks and road dangers...and then losing our land.

You still have a very romantic notion of our ulu which is almost will be good for the future generation to remember. Thanks for that.

Anak Ulu

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anak Ulu
I can understand your situation very well.
Thanks for visiting.
We need to write to preserve what memories we have to the best of our abilities..
God bless.

Bengbeng said...

i have seen this so many times but never knew what it is for or how to cook it until today. thanks. i might b more adventurous one day though

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Beng beng
Thanks for visiting. This fruit called pulor is fairly normal to most people who have their roots in the rural parts of Sarawak. Marudians for example are very fond of this fruit and the Melanaus eat this fruit very often. It is probably the town people who are not used to the fruit ...There is no harm in trying to cook it one day. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cikgu
Just read this post on Pulor. Thanks. My grandmother had several trees in her garden and we had a good supply during the months when in season usually at the end of the year. Sometimes earlier. Nowadays the trees are too old already so we are growing new ones to replace the old ones.
But my mother said that the old generation trees were better. More fruits and bigger in size. She said seemed like sweeter.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks for writing. Hope we will be able to get the normal fruits - I notice a lot of the pulor sold in town are getting smaller and smaller!!
Nice fruit- vegetable...Cheers.

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