September 29, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Cucumber and Sweet Corn Stir Fry

In Sarawak, sweet corn is cultivated on a small scale by farmers, either for their own consumption or for sale. The farmers usually grow sweet corn during the padi off season. The cobs are usually eaten after they are boiled or roasted. Sweet corn also can be used as ingredients for ice cream and jellies while the corn starch is used to make traditional cakes and infant food. Site selection Sweet corn can be grown on most soils provided the drainage is good but usually it performs best on deep loams and silty loams containing an abundance of organic matter and well supplied with available nutrients. Sweet corn can also be grown on moderately acid soils (pH 5.0), but pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 is most favourable. An ideal site for planting sweet corn is an open flat or gently sloping land. Continuous planting with sweet corn is not recommended. Crop rotation whereby sweet corn is grown alternately with groundnut, sweet potato or other crops is very beneficial in terms of crop production and soil management. Land preparation Land preparation includes felling, burning and tilling, and on low-lying land, the construction of drains to remove excess water. Land tilling can be done either manually using a hoe or mechanised using a pedestrian power tiller. A reasonably smooth and firm ploughed area provides favourable soil condition for germination and seedling development. Too much tillage, however, may destroy theImage may contain: food


Sweet corn has always been grown by the indigenous people of Sarawak, especially the Ibans. Before the paddy field is properly sown, corn seeds and other vegetable seeds are sown so that the farmers could have food while waiting for the rice to be harvested. The soils are prepared by cangkolling or digging to make the soil a little loose. Once ready, a dibble stick is used for the sowing of the corn seeds. Within a week, the young plants would shoot up.

One of the fastest vegetables to be grown is the cucumber which is often eaten raw, and suits the farming community. The other popular fast growing vegetable is the ensabi or indigenous mustard green.

Sweet corn is eaten as a vegetable and snack by the longhouse community and at the same time, the surplus is fed to the pigs, chickens and other animals.

There are many ways of eating sweet corn in the longhouse. One of the favourite ways is to make a stir fry with cucumber. This dish is enhanced by some chopped chillies, ginger and ground pepper. The dish is easily cooked in a pot brought by the farmers to the farm, or even in a bamboo.

Jagung and timum pansuh is exceptionally good and easy to make for the hungry farmers in the remote farms.


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