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.