Sunday, November 01, 2015

Serving up unique Bidayuh cuisine


BORN and raised at Kampung Sudoh, Singai in Bau, Patis Misid developed a passion for Bidayuh cuisine at a young age when she would help her mother cook for the family.

When she grew up and got married, she not only pursued her passion for cooking and preserved some of the original Bidayah cuisine but also produced Bidayuh recipes of her very own. And Patis has since been using these recipes to cook for her family everyday.

She prides herself on the quality of her cooking and strives to serve up the tastiest Bidayuh Singai dishes.

Her signature dishes include free range chicken soup (ayam kampung masak sup), fried fermented durian (tempoyak goreng) with pork and lemon grass condiment (sambal serai).

The free range chicken soup is cooked in a clay pot, stuffed with, among other ingredients, ginger, red onions, garlic, turmeric, lemon grass and turmeric leaves — plus seasoning. The clay pot is said to maintain a distinctive and delicate taste to the food. It seals the flavour and produces tender chicken meat, made different essentially by the fragrance of the lemon grass and ginger.

Most Sarawakians know and love fried fermented durian which is quite easy to prepare. It may be fried with a combination of chili, onions, garlic and anchovies with the optional addition of any meat. However, Patis’ signature tempoyak goreng is non-halal.

In any case, the best thing about fried fermented durian — including the one that is halal — is that it is not easily spoilt and can last for several days. But it must be kept in a container in a fridge.

Patis’ signature dishes were exhibited and sold at the recent Ethnic Food and Music Festival held at the Association of Research and Development Movement of Singai Sarawak (REDEEMS) Centre.

Her offerings are said to be so popular with the local community that she is sometimes requested to cook for events and gatherings.

“I do catering occasionally on request for birthday parties or meetings — mainly involving fewer than 100 guests. I use my own recipes,” she told thesundaypost.

Her two daughters — Edelweiss and Estrella Lemy — said their mother is not only good in ethnic cuisine but also some modern Chinese and Malay cooking.

“She likes to cook and we all love her cooking, especially her ethnic dishes,” Edelweiss enthused.

Her sister Estrella, standing next to her, concurred, saying they were lucky to have a mum who could prepare tasty Bidayuh foods.

“I’m proud of my mum who keeps our ethnic recipes not just for us but also the community at large,” she beamed.

The siblings helped their mother operate her stall during the Festival.

Sharing culinary prowess

One Bidayuh grandmother, too, has been interested in cooking — even as a little girl.

Lositina Jukien would spend time in the kitchen with her mother and she soon developed a strong passion for cooking — from Bidayuh to Chinese dishes.

The 66-year-old, who manned a stall at the Festival, confessed cooking for her loved ones and friends brought instant gratification.

Some of her recipes have been handed down from one generation to another — and she is now ready to share her culinary prowess.

“I am privileged to have this opportunity to share my cooking with you and the public,” she said as she invited me to taste some of her dishes.

At her stall, Lositina exhibited her signature dishes — sup ayam masak terung, fried fermented durian and lemon condiment and other side dishes. Her sup ayam masak terung had stuffings of ginger, lemon grass, turmeric and terung Dayak — plus seasoning.

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