November 25, 2009

Buah Entimun Betu (Indigenous Borneo Cucumber)

The Buah Entimun Betu or indigenous Borneo cucumber is more a melon than a cucumber. Perhaps not many urbanites know about the great value of this cucumber. In America it would be called a squash.

A very hardy plant the entimun grows almost every where in Sarawak. But it definitely does not like too swampy land. The fruit can grow as big as a elongated rock melon in the best of fertile soils and the fruit has similar texture but is not as sweet or juicy as a rock melon. The flesh is red and green and at times thoroughly orange.

When eating the entimun raw one has to be very careful with the seeds because they may "burn the lips" as that is exactly the meaning of the word "betu" in Iban. So scrape away the seeds before eating. Wash the cucumber with some salt too. This may also enhance the taste of the vegetable.

I usually like to cube this cucumber and add to other vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce. The dressing can just be plain cane vinegar and some olive oil with finely chopped olives and capers. Some basil and coriander leaves would really make the whole salad fantastic!!

these two are huge buah entimun betu bought in Bekenu at RM1 each. They are able to stay fresh for as long as two weeks without refrigeration. So they are indeed very useful when one is planning a long camping trip in the ulu. This cucumber is eaten raw most of the times when the farmers are planting their rice. Just a bit of salt and chili and rice a part of a good afternoon meal.

I have these two slices of entimum for dessert - tastes like rock melon actually. I had some asamboi powder. It is really delicious and very very economical too.

I am keeping the rest of the entimun to make a small bowl of soup tomorrow.

This Indian cucumber called dosakai is the nearest relative of the entimun betu.


Ann said...

I don't remember my parents buying or planting this. You should promote this as organic veg and fruit.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Sarawakiana, it looks like the Squash we have here, though have not eaten any.
You sure know your vegetables and fruits there. Good for you.
But I sure love honey melon though.
Right now we seem to have a flood of persimoms, from US. And very cheap, a $1.00 for 5 fruits.
How much it costs where you are?
Have a nice day, Lee.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
this buah entimun (Iban word for timum) is frequently sold in the Native market. I have eaten excellent ones which are really tops.
We can actually cook it in many different ways but the best is still soup with dried fish. It is really very organic and free of pesticides known to men.

No I would not think your parents would have bought these because they would have only frequented the Chinese veg. market.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hello Uncle Lee
Persimmons are upper end/upscale fruits here and are mainlyfrom China. They are like USD1.00 each for a small one...Australian ones are slightly more costly.
I normally buy the dried ones from China and use them for anti cough drinks. Good for the lungs .

Honey melons are superbs..but if I have a choice I would love to each peaches and apricots and plums...
Hawaiian papayas (small ones and seedless) are my pets.

Prices will deter me from eating the best of fruits. Like I won't eat bananas in the US!!

I am blessed here with five good coconut trees which bear fruits all year round.

Bengbeng said...

in the late eighties i planted beds of these and sold them in the market. there was a ready market but price was lower than Chinese cucumbers then. i sold a basin of cili padi for peanuts, papayas 1.30 per kg and cilis 5 for 30 sen. i also planted other stuff. i would still like to do the same but having a dog changes the equation.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Wow. You must be a very good good gardener.

I also have dog problem - four dogs and a garden don't mix. Market gardening is not easy - returns are small...and you get to eat all the surplus....

Papayas are now 3 ringgit per kg in Miri. Good price.


fufu said...

oh... i wanna eat the xinjiang hami melon that i had when i was in hami, xinjang...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

This one really looks like the hami melon...but not as sweet or delicious.\
Cheers from Sarawak.

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