September 9, 2009

Tumpi - fried pancake : Sarawakian or Bruneian?

Have you ever tried a Bruneian tumpi? If you haven't whenever you have a chance to see the word on the menu extended to you by a waitress ask for it. It could also be the cheapest item on the menu and it is worth every cent! Ask for a good curry to go with it and down it with a nice Kopi-o. If you order teh tarik it might be too sweet.

I am not too sure about the claim about it being truly Bruneian but being huge and appetising the only tumpi I have ever eaten is in Brunei. Furthermore it is available at good stores only.

A friend did confirm that she is sure tumpi is not available in most parts of Malaysia. However she said that it is found in some good longhouses in Sarawak where the creative housewives can make a beautiful rice flour based pancake. And they call it tumpi too. In the longhouses however it is served with condensed milk or just plain sugar. The longhouse tumpi is slightly smaller.

In the Brunei coffee shops it is a larger version - flat crispy and crunchy deep fried too and is usually served with a good chicken or beef curry in the morning.

I took the recipe from her and this is what you need:
500 gm plain flour + one tablespoon rice flour
5-6 tablespoon softened butter, or olive oil in a tub.

some salt, dissolved in some water

Rub the butter or olive oil into the sifted flour with your fingers.
Add in a little bit of the water, and start kneading with your hands.
Add water slowly, add enough water so that the dough is smooth and elastic. If it seems to be a bit dry, add in some butter.

Divide the dough into round balls.
Flatten each ball into the size of a saucer and roll over and over again using a rolling pin.

Heat up some oil for deepfrying in a frying pan, and fry the tumpi until golden brown.

The longhouse version:

1. Pound (or blend) the newly harvested but soaked rice.
2. Add some egg whites and some cooking oil or planta margarine and beat well. Add some water and some wheat flour and a small teaspoon of kapur until you can make a sizeable dough. Make small balls out of your dough.
3. Let stand for about one hour. Flatten the balls into flat pancakes.
4. Deep fry in a large kuali.

What ever version you make it is a nice crispy pancake. You can also make it as large as you can and according to my friend....that depends on your natural skill!!



Daniel Yiek said...

Pls cut and paste this link to see more on tumpi in Bintangor

Ah Ngao said...

i think theres no tumpi here in Kuching.roti canai a plenty but this one is flaky - should tasted good.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Daniel
Still have to learn how to embed a link onto my blog!
thanks for the tips and I have already read the sago tumpi...Wonder what is the actual meaning of the word...but it really sounds lovely.

Must go and taste the sago tumpi in Bintangor. Thanks again.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao...
Yes the tumpi is Brunei is flaky and very crunchy and fresh....I ordered a lamb curry to go with it and it is really nice.

I will get my friend to cook her fresh rice tumpi for me during the holidays...

Anonymous said...


tumpi is a local Sarawak word - local Malay and Iban...but it is not found in West Malaysia i.e. it is NOT Bahasa Malaysia word.

If you like you can check this out...

from Not an Expert.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks. I am quite sure now that tumpi is not available in West Malaysia....

Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

What you call Tumpi is an Indian pancake called Puri (Poori) and it is available in all Indian and some Mamak restaurants in West Malaysia.

Zaki Zaili said...

The two tumpi is totally different even though its ahare the same name. I believe brunei tumpi is more influenced by the arabic way of cooking. The tumpi in sarawak ( I've tasted one in Bitangor ) was more like a native pancake made from sago which is a common food in Sarawak. Even brunei have their fair share in recipies using sago, but their tumpi made from plain flour which were more likely brought by sailor and trader in the ancient time.

I m collecting brunei traditional recipe, do visit

Anonymous said...

tumpi is actually puri.. maybe only the name is brunei original.. but the food itself definitely not a brunei original..

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