July 29, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Bunga Kechala and Paku Ikan

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This is one of the easiest dishes to make as both vegetables are readily available in the longhouse compound.

There was this gathering in one longhouse I visited and this dish was prepared for the guests of about 15 including two foreigners. Once the number of guests were estimated upon arrival, the two vegetables were gathered and prepared by the family of the Headman.

The cooks and assistant cooks got all the aromatics ready and soon two or three big kualis were taken out. Rice was cooked immediately. And three chickens were also slaughtered by one of the sons of the Headman. Most longhouse kitchens would have at least two stoves, with gas!! In fact an outside kitchen would even be found, usually for wood fire cooking. Electricity if available makes cooking of rice even more speedy.

The chickens were cooked in two ways, one with terong asam, and another one with soy sauce.

Once the chickens were done, the third kuali was used to prepare the bunga kechala and puku ikan.

It was always amazing to see how fast the kitchen team could complete all the cooking. By noon, a princely feast was ready. Even with some side dishes like sambal belacan, salads and fried pickled bamboo shoots.

Amazing Iban culinary experience.

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