In Sarawak the most popular green must be the Iban's Ensabi (related to the Chinese mustard green or yiu chai). The mustard-like taste is similar to the wasabi taste.
Stir fried as a normal green it is very tasty. I like mine in a nice oil less soup with chilli and dried fish as a soup base. But it is valued most as the preserved salted vegetables similar to the Chinese preserved mustard green (kiam chai).
In Sarawak the organic ensabi is usually available during the planting season ie.August through October. Lately Chinese farmers have started to grow commercial ensabi for the multi racial society of the urban centres.
Making of kasam ensabi (kiam chai) is often a common household activity in any Iban home.
First the greens must be washed and then dried. On a rainy or hazy day it is better to wilt the greens in the kitchen like what I have done - on wooden chair backs!! Some of my friends hang them up on their clothes lines on a sunday afternoon for half an hour or so. Just getting rid of the moisture is adequate. After a day or two the vegetables are ready for rubbing in the salt. A good measure of rough natural sea salt is best. Do not use the fine salt as the taste may turn out to be different and a tad unnatural.....
|Wilting the vegetables on the back of the chair (because it rained!!)|
|Once wilted the vegetables must be squeezed and rubbed on a chapan (Iban rattan tray) like this|
|At this point of time salt can be rubbed into the vegetables and you can see that more moisture is being pressed and squeezed out.|