August 26, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Chicken fried with Salted Vegetables

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Fresh kampong chicken is always available in the longhouse. However it is also fairly easy for the longhouse women to buy frozen chicken parts in the small villages today. With the arrival of electricity in the rural areas, freezers are quite common in the longhouses.

An enterprising family may set up a small shop in the longhouse to sell frozen meat, frankfurters and other sundry goods. So chicken wings, drumsticks and breast meat are easily available. In this way when guests arrive without notice, or when a group of friends arrive for fellowship, meat can be purchased without having the men go out to fish in the river or go hunting in the jungle, like in the past. Indeed even pork and wild boar meat can be sold especially when the hunters have their own freezer.

One very memorable longhouse dish is chicken stir fried with home made salted ensabi. Chillies make the dish very aromatic. Ginger also makes the dish tasty.

Ensabi is the indigenous green mustard, a vegetable which is grown prolifically when the land is tilled for padi to grow. The tilling of the land, the sowing of seeds and the growing of the padi would take time and meanwhile the farmers would have extra vegetables like ensabi and even corn growing on the side of the land. Other vegetabls like long beans, cucumbers and bitter gourds are also grown.

When the chicken and ensabi are boiled together to make a soup, it is a very welcome dish too.

The best part is any left over of the soup can be added to porridge for a good breakfast the next day. That is a very frugal way of not letting any food go to waste.

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