September 9, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Oil Palm Hearts and Pork Bone Soup

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Palm heart or upa sawit (from oil palm) is a common vegetable sold in the tamu in Miri and the surrrounding areas. Sometimes a whole palm tree is felled for a festival or a special event in the longhouse.

The palm heart is yellow to white in colour and is soft in texture. Once cooked properly it is sweet. But sometimes it can be bitter due to some reasons. The inner most parts are the tastiest naturally.

When a palm tree is cut down, the outer hard bark is removed by a parang, and most of the outer parts are then removed again by further slicing. Once the top part of the palm is reached, a white centre is seen. This is the delicate part which is very edible. Some people even eat this part raw.

However the heart of palm or upa sawit is best cooked in soup with chicken,wild boar or pork bones . It can be cooked in a curry, replacing the potato.

Wild torch ginger flower (to give it a very nice colour), lemongrass, some ginger and pepper will definitely enhance the flavours and tastes of the upa sawit.

If cooked as a soup on its own, it is just a delectable.

Upa sawit when shredded and then blanched can be part of the ingredients for popiah or lumpia (The PHilippines). We have found that upa sawit tastes like bangkuang or jicama if used as part of bao or steamed bun fillings.

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