30 July 2009

Food

The Dusuns of the olden days were generally not discriminating when it comes to food. They ate anything- and this is not an exaggeration. My late grandfather used to smoke squirells and some kind of farm rats and told us they were delicacies :-) Most Dusuns nowadays are not as adventurous, but basically most of them don't mind eating meats, seafood and vegetables with rice. Well that depends on one's homeplace too. The land Dusuns are more likely to have vegetables and meats than seafood in their daily diets.

Being a simple society, the main cooking methods are boiling, steaming, smoking and grilling over open fire. Of course, having come into contact with other cultures, frying has also become very much part of the Dusun cooking. Oh, and in addition to those methods, the Dusuns are very good in fermenting and preserving. There's this one dish called 'bosou'/'karaatan' (literally "thing disliked"), which is preserved fish or meat (usually pork) with cooked rice. Those are the main ingredients. The side ingredients are ginger, chillies, salt and a type of fruit called 'pangi', that perhaps plays the main role in ensuring that the bosou is well preserved.
I've decided not to learn to make the dish because it doesn't appeal much to me. For one thing, the smell is 'too special' that one can smell it from kilometers away. I can't begin to describe the smell- perhaps something like the smell of an old sock? Only stronger. (and no insult intended to my fellow Dusuns who are fond of the dish!)

That aside, there are a lot of Dusun foods that remain my fav to this day. I like 'linopot'/'binulugu' that is balls of rice wrapped in special leaves. Sometimes the rice is cooked in chicken stock, which makes it yummier. Lihing chicken soup is also one of my all time fav. It's chicken soup cooked with the Dusun rice-wine (lihing), with lots of ginger, garlic and shallot. And for variation, pieces of wintermelons (gorouk) can also be added in the soup. Confinement food, mostly, but there's no reason why it can't be eaten outside of confinement.

Then there's the mix vegies that consist of white (pale yellow) chillies, spring onions, snake beans, baby eggplants, 'tuhau' (local vegie too) and anchovies or salted fish. It's a stir-fried dish that smells and tastes heavenly. To be taken with steamed rice of course...makes me hungry I have to stop writing.

5 comments:

Rem said...

Nice blog you have here. Keep the entries coming! :-)

Pangi is 'kepayang' -- as in "sayang-sayang buah kepayang, ditelan pahit dibuang sayang". BTW, is there any English name for it?

Good bosou actually doesn't smell. The so-called 'special smell' shouldn't even exist. Just like good cencaluk or budu -- good bosou should only have this 'special taste', but not smell. My late mum could make such one. And I used to really love it. :)

Unfortunately I haven't tasted bosou for... probably more than 10 years now! Just like you, I can't stand the smell. It seems that nowadays we no longer have any bosou-makers with decent skill (who can make smell-less bosou). :-)

vpa73 said...

Hey, thanks for supplying the Malay word. Got to check the Malay-Eng dictionary if it's in the entry :-) (And double-thanks, I found your blog again, after losing the site for years!)

Mommy's Recipe said...

I wonder what Andrew Zimmern (Discovery Travel & Living - Bizarre Foods) will have to say to the taste of bosou if he ever had the chance to sample that...

kombura said...

Hmm... I guess he'll love it. :).

Dusun people and Sabahan people generally love to have their meals with soup. The soup is treated as 'Ponolon' (Somebody please help me with the translation). With chili as side dish, the meal would be perfect. I'm feeling hungry. :)

vpa73 said...

Kombura- 'ponolon' = 'thing to wash food down" maybe :-) U're right, we are soup ppl too hehe...