July 4, 2011

Daun Bungkang

The Bungkang tree is found in the wild jungles of Sarawak. However over the last fifty or so years the Ibans have started to grow them in their backyard. This is the real "green" aji-no-moto tree. The leaves can be dried in the sun and kept in your kitchen for a long time. You can buy packets of them at 1 ringgit only in the tamu.

The leaves are good for flavouring steamed or boiled fish and meat and are especially needed to enhance Iban styled preserved meat or kasam.

A few years ago I was given a small plant by an uncle from Niah and now it is a tall tree reaching almost 8 metres. I have enjoyed using the leaves for cooking ...They are flavourful like bay leaves or kaffir leaves (but with soup they give an excellent Sarawak flavour).

However it is the morning birds which I enjoy when the tree starts to fruit. The fruits are red in colour. It has been flowering the last two weeks and soon I shall be watching the reddening of the fruits.....

In the meantime enjoy the flowers!!





Most of the Iban cooks I know believe that without the Daun Bungkang chicken or fish cooked in the bamboo would not be the "real pansuh". I agree with them too. There is something magical in the flavour provided by just two or three leaves of this wonderful tree.

Indeed daun bungkang is a good substitute for Vitsin or a-n-m ..perhaps this is also the age old beauty secret of old Iban mothers who have wonderful luscious hair which reaches to the waist!!

Watch out for photos of the red seeds soon in this blog.

14 comments:

Ann said...

This is exciting news to me. You should have an eco tourist farm.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes...your water engineer might just acquire a taste for Daun Bungkang!! But my garden is really not that flourishing because of my dogs and my hubby who believes in lawns and not gardens....LOL

Daniel Yiek said...

Hmmm...interesting

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Daniel...I do think some of the tamu traders have these leaves in plastic bags...they are also sold in some Sarawak Trade Fairs outside Sarawak.

Ah Ngao said...

dear Sarawakiana , the other usual leaves that they put into the bamboo besides the bungkang - what're they ? nice strong smell one (i forgot the name )

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I think they put in the crushed (crunched) tapioca leaves....and the one that has a good smell would be the soft stems of the bunga kentang or kechala.

Ann said...

Can you go to MR. Wong SK and propose a big plot of land, and you sr=art an eco farm, have volunteers from overseas to come and help. "Save Sarawak Native plants from extinction" like the way they are doing it for the orang utans. I will get my sis Margaret to back you up.

All I ask is to be fed with all these jungle frutis and vegs, and I have a good retreat writing.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
This is a really good idea...and I am all for it!!

And you can even start conducting writing classes for different groups too....

Must find the funding...I will see what I can do. I already have a friend who is in his 60's and he is from the agriculture faculty of MU...Who knows even a Professor Emeritus can join us!!

Nimi said...

Hi. I came through here by chance. I was reading on your Food section as I am a food blogger for Sarawak ethnic cuisine.. this is the first time i heard abt daun bungkang, and of it as secret ingredient of pansuh. I'll ask my Iban MIL to look for this for me. thank you for putting this up. it's a very good knowledge.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Nimi...Daun bungkang might not be liked by every one. In fact the people of Niah are quite divided. I believe Daun Bungkang is mainly used by the Ibans of Skrang. So you have to check if the Betong and the Saribas Ibans or the Saratok Ibans like it or not...Differences in preferences...Cheers.

Nimi said...

oh! ok thanks! that's a very good info! :D

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Nimi...you're always welcome....

Anonymous said...

bungkang + tepus in bamboo + ayam tua bakar bulunya (bukan celur pakai air panas) = original recipe. bon apetite

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous..thanks for the recipe. Some how when the ayam tua's bulu is bakared...the taste is magnificient!!